Listening Games for the Workplace

Listening games can help employees improve communications skills.
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To successfully run your operations, you’ll need employees who can listen to, understand and follow instructions efficiently. Without effective listening skills, you’ll likely have mismanagement and confusion in the workplace which can result in potential losses for your company. Managers need to have good listening skills so they can convey instructions clearly, and employees need to be good listeners to carry out tasks correctly. Companies often conduct exercises to promote listening skills among their employees.


    The telephone game encourages employees to focus their entire attention on and comprehend exactly what has been said to them. The instructor whispers a sentence or a phrase to the first participant and asks her to relay it to the next person, who is then asked to whisper the phrase to the next co-worker, and so on. The last participant is then asked to say the phrase out aloud. Participants can then discuss how the phase morphed into a new phrase. This game helps employees understand the importance of listening carefully because, if communications are misunderstood, employees will make mistakes and chaos will follow.

Verbal Activity

    In the verbal activity game, employees are taught to follow oral instructions and act accordingly. For example, the game leader might ask one employee to draw on a whiteboard based on the instructions she receives form other employees. The other employees gives basic instructions such as to draw regular geometric shapes, sketch lines to connect points, and write down certain words in specified ways. Employees take turns in directing each other to develop comprehension skills and in this way understand how simple miscommunication can lead to incorrect actions.

Listening Game

    To understand how body language impacts what is heard, divide game participants into pairs. In each pair, one partner assign one the speaking job to one partner and ask the other to not pay attention by avoiding eye contact, crossing her arms over her chest, leaning back and maybe fiddling with an object. This exercise helps participants identify and understand body language that indicates their audience is not paying attention. Managers need to first get the attention of their employees before relaying instructions and when necessary, eliminate the distractions before continuing with a discussion. This ensures that recipient of the instruction understands what is being said.


    Game leaders can use the gossip game to demonstrate how distractions impacts the message. Divide game participants into groups of 3 to 5 people. Ask one person to speak and ask another to focus on what the speaker will say next, not what she’s actually saying. The second participant also should interupt the speaker, asking questions based on what the speaker is likely to say next. This game helps participants realize that by distracting the speaker, they turn the discussion away from the more important issues. It also teaches participants how holding their questions until after the speaker is done talking helps them keep an open mind to the ideas and issues the speaker presents.

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