Training of trainers – NFL and interactive methods in Youth work – ACHIEVE

Lesson 24 – Communication: Listening – text

text lesson


The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
Peter Drucker

Levels of listening

Actually most of us have heard of the different learning techniques such as active listening, repeating of the words of the others or other tricks we can use to make it obvious that we listen attentively. To listen does not necessarily mean to remain silent and shake politely your head in agreement. Let’s take a look at some of the levels of listening. We will also explore their effect on our ability to understand the people and the things that happen to us in our lives.

  • Lack of listening

The listener’s mind is busy with other thoughts or is overloaded with information. The busy mind does not allow listening.

  • Taking the word out of someone’s mouth

At this level the mind of the listener works mostly using memory then in the present moment. It is as if someone mentions something which brings out a memory of an event or experience. The reaction of the listener is to feel that they want to share the memory (no matter if it is connected to the topic of conversation).

  • To agree or not agree

At this level the listener is obsessed with agreeing or arguing with what they hear. Here they make evaluations on the grounds of their past beliefs (past experience) and do not listen in reality.

  • To apply what was heard

When the brain is calm and stops noticing the things with which it agrees or disagrees a higher level of listening is achieved. At this level the information which heard is perceived as something which can be used and applied. The listener can ask the question “What does this piece of information means to me?” or “How this what I hear can be useful to me?”, or “What coincides from what I hear?”

  • To understand

At this level we listen to understand. Our attention is completely in the present moment trying to hear not only everything that is said but also to catch the elusive elements of the communication, those beyond the words, the hidden meaning.

Main Instruments and Rules for Good Listening

  • Limit or stop your own talking – you cannot listen if you are talking. Do not take the silence necessarily for attention. If your interlocutor is silent this does not mean that they are necessarily listening. They can be absorbed in their own thoughts.
  • Pay full attention to your interlocutor – make the speaker feel at ease. Help them feel free to share.
  • Show to the speaker that you want to listen – show with your appearance and behavior that you are interested
  • Do not get distracted and do not do something else while someone is speaking to you – do not bang with fingers, turn pages over, etc.
  • Be patient, do not interrupt your interlocutor – give them enough time. If you have to interrupt a serious conversation provide help afterwards to recover the broken flow of the thoughts of the speaker.
  • Clarify information – ask clarifying questions and explain things to yourself (ex. “I am not sure that I understand well. Could you repeat?”. Paraphrase what was said. That encourages the speaker and shows them that you are listening.
  • Don’t ask too many questions – the big number of questions bothers the speaker, takes out the initiative from them and puts them in a defensive position
  • Give yourself an account about the feelings of the interlocutor –put yourself in their shoes, to see their point of view. Show compassion to the speaker. When you listen to over exited interlocutor reflex their emotional condition without falling under the influence of their feelings. Otherwise you can miss the meaning of the message.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Pay attention to the non-verbal communication
  • Open your consciousness and neglect your prejudices – do not hurry into conclusions and evaluations. They are a barrier for the meaningful communication.
  • Limit or stop your own talking – you cannot listen if you are talking. This is the first and the last rule because all of the others depend on it.

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The training program “Training of Trainers” is an educational product that is currently missing in the partner countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Due to the early stage of development of the youth sector and youth work in these countries the educational materials aimed at non-formal learning are still limited and insufficient. The lack of adequate educational framework for training of youth workers in the field of formal education leads to inefficient use of the capacity of professionals.

This course fills a gap in the youth sector, namely the need of methodologies for the preparation of trainers, who are able to train youth workers. This course will set the basis for the preparation of teams of trainers of youth workers. The course will serve the goal of development of youth work in the participating countries and other interested parties. A large number of youth workers can be trained according to the methodology at national and international level to use and promote non-formal learning as a tool to enhance the realization of young people in the labor market and increase their social cohesion.

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