Understanding Active Listening - Exercise

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Understanding Active Listening - Exercise

Understanding Active Listening

Duration: 15 to 20 minutes.

Answer the following questions and then discuss as a class.

  1. Using active listening, what does the listener do after the speaker is finished talking?
    1. Then it is the listener's turn to talk.
    2. The listener repeats what the speaker said word for word.
    3. The listener restates what the speaker said in his or her own words to confirm that he or she understood.
    4. The listener sits quietly and waits for the speaker to invite him or her to speak.
  2. Which of the following is not one of the elements of active listening?
    1. Collaboration
    2. Comprehension
    3. Retention
    4. Response
  3. Sherry goes into Tom's office and begins telling him about a concern she has regarding their project. Tom acknowledges her and tells her to sit down and explain the issues. He continues reading his email while she is talking. Once she is finished speaking, he thanks her for letting him know and tells her he'll look into it.

    Did Tom use active listening? If not, what did he do wrong?

  4. Scott comes to you to talk about a problem he is having with a co-worker. He says: "I can't work with Carl. He's overly critical and complains about everything I do. I've tried making changes and I feel like I'm working really hard, but nothing seems to make a difference with him. We have this deadline coming up and he hasn't done any work because he spends all of his time criticizing me." After actively listening to Scott, how would you respond to him to check for understanding and to show Scott that he was heard?


  1. C. The listener restates what the speaker said in his or her own words to confirm that he or she understood.
  2. A. Collaboration
  3. This is not active listening because Tom is not giving Sherry his full attention. He also did not restate her message to confirm his understanding. This is probably because he was too distracted to actually remember what she told him.
  4. This could be stated in different ways, but a good example would be: "Scott, I hear you telling me that you are frustrated with Carl because he is overly critical and not pulling his own weight on the project. Is that correct?"