A process guide for training workshops focused on working in groups, communication, conflict resolution, community organising and conversation frameworks. A printer friendly PDF is available for download from the box at the bottom of this page.
- To practice active listening and assertive communication.
- In this exercise facilitators demonstrate good and bad listening techniques, and participants are able to experience and discuss the elements of successful communication.
- 60-90 minutes
• Whiteboard, blackboard or butchers paper
• Marker pens
How it’s done
Introduce the exercise by telling participants that communication is vital to effective nonviolent activism in general. Ask the group why communication may be important in nonviolent actions (5 min)
Bad listening roleplay: Facilitators roleplay listening blocks and poor listening. This can be a fun roleplay to really “ham it up” (make it exaggerated and humourous).
The group then lists the “listening stoppers” they noticed.
Discuss other blocks to listening.
Facilitator asks group what they could have done to listen well. Write up suggestions on white board as ‘active listening skills’. Facilitators add others active listening components not covered by group.
Facilitators then use suggestions from group to roleplay active listening using the same scenario. This creates the learning tool of the group providing ‘advice’ to the facilitator.
Brief discussion on what was different and the aims of active listening. (20-30 min)
Introduce concentric circle exercise. Topics to speak on could include:
• “The way I feel about the terrorist attacks on September 11”.
• “A time when I dealt with a difficult conflict well”.
Give each person at least 4 minutes to speak and to listen. Encourage people to reflect back what they are hearing and to focus on listening skills. Facilitators move around and observe participants’ skills.
Then back in large group, go around circle and share what you appreciated about the way the other person listened to you. Name things that you noticed they did well. (20-30min)
Download a printer friendly PDF from the box at the bottom of this page.