Tip #1017: Equatorial Guinea: The Second Day of Training

Today’s topic was “Now Hear This! Active Listening Skills.”

The group came in for an 8:45 am start. I had them play “Grab the Koosh” to answer questions they created about Day One’s content. Talk about competitive! Not only did they stump their table mates, there was even a question about me- “How many other African countries have I worked in?” [3]

I had to work very hard today. They had no trouble analyzing the consequences, benefits, validity of the benefits, and action steps to take to no longer use an irritating listening habit.

Where we first ran into difficulty was having them identify a critical remark that makes them see red and then analyze it to identify the self-talk that causes them to react defensively. They found listing the reactions and actions they could take in response to the remark easy to do. But they kept skipping over what the negative self-talk would be and how to revise it to be more positive.

Between modeling how to do it the analysis, doing two examples with the group, having the table groups do two, having individuals do one, and doing four more examples to see if they finally could identify and revise the self-talk, I was pooped.

But they did get the idea, because many of them mentioned that one of their key take aways was becoming conscious of their self-talk!

The other difficulty was having them practice active listening by paraphrasing a critical comment and asking an open question instead of going directly to a solution. They’re problem solvers and they wanted to jump in and solve the problem. I modeled some examples, did a few with the group, had pairs work together and report back, and had to help four out of the five pairs create non-problem-solving paraphrases and follow up questions.

I finally wrote out a sequence: Hear the comment, Put it into your own words, Ask a follow up question- and only when you understand what the speaker wants you to understand, then Problem solve.

I think that did the trick, because most of them mentioned in their key take aways their recognition that they need to avoid jumping to solve the problem.

Another fun activity for the two table groups was to draw what active listening looks like and write the key characteristics. One participant drew free hand and did a great job. For the other group, the participant copied a picture from the internet, but he did it well and the group came up with a good list of characteristics.

There was one activity that could have gone south. After reviewing the seven levels of listening (from -1 to 5), one question I had them answer was what level of listening occurs in their team. Please remember that the manager/team leader is in the group.  I was relieved to hear that level 5 (which relates directly to active listening) was identified.

The evaluations were very positive. I have a feeling that they must come from a lecturing environment because almost all of them mentioned how they appreciated the interactivity.

That’s it for the training today.

May your learning be sweet,


#managementdevelopment #communicationtraining #traininginafrica #hrmanagers #trainingdirectors #laurelandassociates

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