Effective communication is an essential element to any successful business. One aspect of effective communication that is commonly overlooked is effective listening skills. Listening skills are just as important in the communication process as verbally communicating ideas, emotions and feedback. Improving the listening skills of your employees can greatly affect the success of your business and your bottom line. Using games that specifically address listening skills is a fun and interactive way to teach the fundamental ingredients for effective listening.
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Follow the Leader
Follow the leader is a game that requires people to trust, listen and interact with one another. Have your team split into pairs. Have one person in the pair volunteer to be the leader and the other person to be the follower. Provide the follower with a blindfold. Have a basic obstacle course set up using common objects such as steps, a dustbin and chairs. Inform the leader that he has to successful lead the blindfolded follower through the obstacle course with only words. The leader cannot touch and guide the follower. This game will challenge and strengthen verbal communication and listening skills.
Ask for three volunteers from the group to participate. Have the three volunteers line up in a straight line in front of the rest of the group. Begin a story with a basic introduction. Once you complete the first sentence, the first person in the line has to pick up the story and ad-lib. Every so often, call out "next" and the next person in the line has to pick up the story. Record the story with an audio recorder for future reference. After the game is complete, ask specific questions about the story that was just told. See how many people can remember the details of the story. Take time afterward to process with the entire team about the importance of listening and understanding.
The gossip game is used to demonstrate how easily communication can become confused. Have the team sit in a circle and instruct one person to make up a crazy gossip story and whisper it into the next person's ear. Each person whispers the gossip to the person next to them until it reaches the last person. The final person in the circle says the gossip out loud for the entire group to hear it. Compare the original gossip message with the final message. Talk with the group about the importance of listening and communicating and how easily communication can become confused.
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