Do it When you deliver communication training. It is important for participants to understand importance of asking questions. Take a simple picture below and explain it to participants as much better as you can. They have to draw it without asking questions. You will be surprised at the end how many different drawing you will see. After that use different picture, and allow them to ask questions. For sure results would be better. Make a discussion after that about importance of questions. You can use this quote also: “Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?” Mort thought for a moment. “No,” he said eventually, “what?” There was silence. Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ‘em right.” ― Terry Pratchett, Mort
Now, coaching questions for you: 1. What is the most important question that you could ask yourself? 2. What would be the answer to that question? 3. Knowing that answer what advantage you have in your life? 4. Having that advantage, what other skills would you have? 5. What would be the very best action plan to implement that answer in your life? 6. How you might upgrade your action plan even further? 7. What would be beneficial for committing you to that plan? 8. What is the benefit for you from this session? Thank you for your time.
Do it When you want to practice active listening or during team building.
I am sure you have seen the movie Midnight Cowboy. John Voight as Joe Buck and Dustin Huffman as Ratso have given outstanding performances. In that movie Harry Nilsson sings: “Everybody Is Talking At Me. I don’t hear a word they’re saying, Only the echoes of my mind…” Obviously when everybody is talking, no one can hear anything. Somehow we have to practice that active listening. Talking only when no one else is talking. Here is the most useful game for it. I have hear it from Master ZI.
Here are the rules for this game. You start by saying “One”, someone has to continue with “Two”. Other person will say “Three” and so on, until the last person will say the last number. Every person has to be included. It looks so easy, but we will make it very difficult. First, it has to be perfect silence, so only numbers can be heard. People are not allowed to communicate verbally or non verbally. It is not allowed to make predictable sequence of who is gonna be next. And finally if two people say the number at one time or interrupt each other, they have to start from the beginning. It will take several times until your people successfully finish the task. For sure then they will be relief with applause. Ask them: What they have learned from the game? How hard is to listen in perfect silence, waiting for someone else to talk? How do they decide when is the time to talk? When in communication they can use this skill? Now, for you: 1. What is your real goal with this group? 2. How would you know that you have succeeded? 3. How dedicated on a scale from 1 to 10 you are to that goal?
4. What other variations you are suggesting for this game?
Do it When you want to underline how important is active listening. Here is a story concerning how important is active listening. William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, both eminent British statesmen were considered as two the smartest persons in England, in the late nineteenth century. A young journalist said that she would dine with both so she could decide which one was smarter. She has compared the two men this way: “When I dined with Mr. Gladstone, I felt as though he was the smartest man in England. But when I dined with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I was the smartest woman in England.”
The point being made is that Gladstone spoke but Disraeli was a good listener to the woman. That evening Disraeli made the woman the center of his universe. If you practice attentiveness to others, you’ll find it does wonders. They will enjoy it, and so will you. You will accomplish much more. Elements of active listening skills are:
Maintaining eye contact
Be focused to hear
“Listen” to the speaker’s body language
Not finishing his/her sentences
Questions for you: 1. What also is important for active listening? 2. What can we do to improve our listening skills? 3. What is the best way to practice active listening?