Let’s face it, not everyone is a good listener. We can use this awareness to find creative and effective ways to be a better listener, especially when facilitating in the classroom or consulting with clients.
Here are four instructional techniques that will help you improve your listening skills:
1. Have a series of prepared, open-ended questions printed in large font for easy readability, related to the course content for group discussion. As the instructor you do not participate in the discussion unless something requires major correction or guidance.
2. Engage in an exploratory conversation during which you listen to a question or comment and probe for further detail by asking the participant to be as specific as possible. Asking the learner to provide a specific scenario helps us focus on the dialogue.
3. Truly listen to the question being asked and don’t immediately think you “know exactly” what they are talking about. Think of questions you can ask that will help you discover what information the learner is looking for.
4. Anchor yourself to something specific, like a barstool. When you are sitting on the barstool you turn the “Speaking Power” over to the class allowing you to be receptive and a better listener. When you wish to be more in control of the conversation, stand up and move away from the barstool. The group will soon learn this pattern and will speak more when you sit, and listen more when you stand.
What instructional techniques do you use to be a better listener? Please share with us on our blog. We look forward to hearing from you!