When listening to others, we often interpret what we hear through our own experiences and preconceptions. This session aims to develop active listening skills that help us go beyond those biases.


To help participants understand and apply active listening techniques.

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Length of the session


Number of participants


Age of participants

16 and older


A classroom or other safe space to conduct the activity

Required knowledge, skills and preparation of the trainer

Basic facilitation and communication skills

Session plan

Session plan

Warm-up (10')


If desired, you can conduct a short ice-breaker activity of your choice to start the session.



First half (10')


Start the session by asking participants what they think is meant by 'Active Listening'
Afterwards, explain that Active Listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. The listener attends to the speaker fully, and then repeats, in the listener’s own words, what he or she thinks the speaker has said. The listener does not have to agree with the speaker - he or she must simply state what they think the speaker said (e.g. I hear you saying that..., that must have been difficult..., etc.)
This enables the speaker to find out whether the listener really understood. If the listener did not, the speaker then has the chance to clarify and offer additional explanations.



Second half (30')


In this activity,  we explore the idea and value of listening at three levels: the facts, the feelings, and the purpose. This is also known as listening with the head (the facts), the heart (the feelings) and the feet (the purpose).
1. Split the group into groups of four. One person volunteers a story that they are comfortable to share: an incident or situation that is not yet settled or where they would have wanted a different outcome. If the group is still getting to know one another, ask them to avoid deeply emotional experiences.
2. Ask the three remaining participants to choose one of the following roles and explain that they will be asked to share what they heard afterwards:
• one person in the group should listen only for the facts (head)
• one person should listen only for the feelings (heart)
• one person should listen only for the purpose – why the storyteller is telling this story (feet).
3. Invite the storyteller to share their story. Afterwards, ask the participants to share what they heard. Here, we do not want the participants to simply retell the story, but rather focus on just giving the information (facts, feelings or purpose) related to their role.
4. Repeat if necessary, changing the groups and/or storytellers.



Third half (15')


Wrap-up and reflect on the activity with the entire group. Potential questions include:
- How did it feel to have a certain role (head, heart, feet)?
- How did it feel to apply Active Listening techniques?
- As the storyteller, how did it feel to have individuals simply listen to your story?









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