Listening exercises is a practice of mindfulness, improving vocabulary, improving cognitive skills, and paying attention to what is being said.
Before knowing the listening exercises you should know what the listening is.
Listening involves execution of complex effectives, cognitive processes, and behavioral processes. Complex affective processes include motivation to attend others; cognitive processes include receiving, understanding, interpreting information and relational messages; behavioral processes include responds towards verbal or non-verbal communication.
In order to be an effective listener or listening comprehension, you have to act on hearing messages attentively, observe body-language, decipher the message, analyze the message, understand the analysis of received message, and construct a meaning based on the understanding.
In this article, we will explain listening exercises in two different sections;
Listening Exercise for Everyone
1. Sleep Well
Adequate sleep is a key to a healthy life, and sleeping well can benefit your heart, mind, body and more.
In order to listen well, you need a relaxed mind; if the mind is not functioning well, nobody can think, decide, and hear well; and you have to chance to lose patience. A peaceful mind is always an effective thinker, listener, and decider.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of living in present, i.e. the psychological process to bring one’s attention to the present moment and rejecting all other thoughts of past or future. Nobody can listen well if the listener is thinking of something else while listening.
While listening to other, nowadays people often think of something else or start browsing the mobile phone for social media or other kinds of internet applications. The more you practice divided attention, the more you have the chances to lose concentration, focus, and patience.
The question is how to practice mindfulness? When your attention wanders away, bring it back to what you were doing; practice it, one day you will find that the “bringing back” will become your habit and everything will be executed automatically.
You can also meditate to practice mindfulness; Headspace is one of the meditation application worth to try.
3. Improve Vocabulary
Discriminative listening requires you to distinguish between different sound signals and different non-verbal signals, but on the other hand, to be an effective comprehensive listener, you need to have a good vocabulary, ability to understand, analyze and interpret i.e. the cognitive skills.
You can’t improve vocabulary just by remembering the word and its meaning, you have to practice sentence formation by the words, and here are the tips to exercise daily,
- Write down and say it loudly when you encounter a new word
- Try to make sentences out of the new words
- Listen to the speeches by intellectuals
- Read popular newspapers and preferably the opinion section
4. Improve Cognitive Skills
Cognitive skills are the core skills of your brain uses to think, understand, analyze, remember, reason and pay attention. This skill is one of the most demanding skills for knowledge workers, innovators, leaders, educators, engineers, and medical practitioners.
As mentioned already, listening is a set of three processes; complex effective, cognitive processes and behavioral processes. The cognitive skills are the most important skill you should improve and the other skills will follow your brain when you develop a higher level of cognitive skills.
You may want to know, how to improve cognitive skills for effective listening? Here are a few tips worth to know,
- Pay Attention while watching news, documentary or any kind of videos
- Practice Metacognition, metacognition is the thinking about thinking; while listening, ask yourself questions, for example – “What the speaker what to convey? Why he did this? How he can do this etc.”
- Apply Logic & Reasoning; you have to apply inductive and deductive logic or reasoning, focus on applying deductive reasoning while listening, practice it, and make it a habit
5. Improve Concentration
When you need to listen to other, you should have the patience to listen for long, you should not divert your attention to something else. The false listener may pretend to listen, you can implement false listening depending on the situation, but whenever you have something important to listen, you can’t be a false listener; you have to be either active listener or critical listener.
Here are few tips to improve concentration,
- Whenever your attention goes away, bring it back; practice it to make itself a habit
- Stay focused, practice mindfulness, practice meditation and be conscious whatever you do
Listening Exercise by Occupation or Profession
Here, listening skill exercises is discussed in following four sections;
1. Listening Exercise for Leaders, Managers, & Entrepreneurs
Effective listening is the foundation of effective communication. A leader has to listen more and speak less. And in order to listen effectively, you should be an active, critical or evaluative listener.
Here are the few tips to follow,
- Practice asking questions to yourself while listening actively
- Observe body language, practice full body listening and critical listening
- Practice mindfulness
- Focus on highlights when someone speaks and try to make analysis, understanding out of it.
- Practice false listening, you have to save your precious time by ignoring unnecessary speech or interaction.
2. Listening Exercise for Consultants & Educators
A consultant or educator is the one who has to provide advice in sales, operation management, customer relationship management, education, and many other related disciplines.
The primary job of the consultants or educators is to educate, convince and involve people; here are the few tips to exercise for effective listening, Here are a few tips to follow;
- While listening, practice identification of body-language, need, interest, and what the speaker exactly trying to say
- Utilize effective cognitive skills while listening
- Practice mindfulness and be conscious of what other saying
3. Listening Exercise for Sales executive & Shop Owners
The job of a salesman or shop owner is to convince the customer to buy a product, to convince anyone we should speak less and listen more, and we can convince anyone by understanding and connecting with the person’s need, interest, concern, and expectation. Here are a few tips you should exercise for effective listening,
- Practice relationship listening, where you listen for need, expectation, concern, and interest of the people before speaking to promote your product.
- Practice identifying similarities between the buyer’s interest and the product features while listening
- Ask questions to yourself based on the buyer’s preference to identify the viable solution you can provide
4. Listening Exercise for Students & Job Seekers
A student needs listening skill to understand, analyze, and remember the lessons given by teachers. Similarly, a job seeker needs listening skills so that you can listen well during an interview in order to perform well.
Here are the few exercises to practice,
Due to the advent of the internet, most of the people are practicing distraction. How? Scroll a page of social media and see how many pictures, videos or notes having different emotional behavior are being displayed.
The different simulations of emotional messages are attacking different sections of human brain subconsciously or consciously and letting you practice distraction; which in turn causing mental imbalance.
Our brain is like a machine, open many new tabs in your browser swiftly, and checks what happens to your smartphone or PC; does it lose performance? Similarly, you are destroying your intelligence by practicing negative effects of the internet.
Ashim, the blogger of MindWiper, loves to learn, share, and educate on various dimensions of life skills development. After graduating with an engineering degree, he had worked with major ICT industries in India and currently working as an ICT Program Manager for the Government & as an Individual IT Consultant.