Demonstrating How Difficult Good Listening Is | Distortion Exercise

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Dr. Alan Williams
Professor, Thailand

Demonstrating How Difficult Good Listening Is | Distortion Exercise

I have run a development program on communications many times. Often I include a simple fun listening game.
- The game starts with one attendee going out of the room with the presenter.
- The presenter verbally gives some background information, for example how an imaginary task should be completed.
- The first attendee stays outside and is then joined by one more attendee, who listens to the message as it is being explained by the first attendee.
- This obviously continues until the message has been passed one by one to every attendee.
- Of course, during the process, attendees are not allowed to take notes as they listen to the message.
- The last attendee then writes the message received on a white board.
- Then the presenter reveals the original message on the whiteboard.
You can guarantee the first and last version will be very different. Often the key point in the original message has disappeared.
A variant of the game is to ask each person, to privately write down what they shared verbally, immediately after they have spoken.
Then you can see step by step see how the message progressively changed.

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