Active listening – Activity 5

Word-for-word listening

Activity type:
Experiential exercise

Learning goals:
Participants are expected to learn to listen to every word of another’s speech. They have to listen in such a way that all information provided by the speaker is available to the listener exactly as it is, free of assumptions. This exercise helps the trainee to be precise when listening to the others.

Group activity (work in pairs)

45 minutes


Get in pairs. One will be the speaker and one the listener. You can start a conversation over a meaningful theme for you (a bad experience, an incident including emotional tension etc.). The listener should concentrate on what the speaker says, without criticizing or judging. The speaker speaks two short sentences that make a whole. The listener repeats the sentences verbatim, without adding or taking away anything from the speech. The speaker then forms a speech of 5 sentences and the listener repeats them verbatim.

After that, the roles are reversed and the process starts again. In the end of the role-play, you weave a synthesis of what you learned from receiving another person’s speech verbatim.

Questions for reflection:
  • What did you become aware of through this task?
  • What did you learn from this task?
  • How did this task go?
  • Have you succeeded in repeating all the questions verbatim?
  • As a speaker, what was your feeling experienced while hearing your own thoughts from the listener?