18 Best Active Listening Exercises with Examples

Active listening is a pattern of listening which keeps you more engaged with the conversation and people in a positive way. 

Well, the process is attentive while some other person is speaking, paraphrasing, and reflecting back to what they said. 

It withholds judgments and advice to make conversation. 

When you are practicing active listening, you make other people feel like they are heard and valued. To understand and learn, here is what can help. 

What Are The Features And Purpose Of Active Listening? 

In order to learn active listening, you need to be more than just hearing someone talking. 

When you practice in active listening, you need to put attention on concentration on what they are saying. 

You listen using all of your senses and give attention to the person who is talking about. 

There are some of the features that active listening includes are: 

  • Neutral and be nonjudgmental 
  • Patient
  • Feedbacks that can be verbal and nonverbal include signs such as eye contact, mirroring, smiling, and leaning in. 
  • Asking the right questions
  • Summarizing 
  • Asking the clarification 
  • Reflecting the back what is saying 

Apart from that, it includes the purpose too. So here the active purpose needs to earn the trust and help in understanding the situations. 

Active listening also helps in compromising a desire which needs to be comprehended as well as offering support and empathy to the person who is speaking. 

Active listening also is not effective engaging without unhelpful listening habits which include: 

  • Being stuck in own head
  • Not showing respect to speakers
  • Interrupting 
  • Only hearing the remaining which are superficial
  • Not having the eye contact 
  • Interrupting 
  • Rushing the one who is speaking 
  • Distracted while someone is talking 
  • Topping the story 
  • Forgetting what they said 
  • Asking the details which are not important 
  • Daydreaming 
  • Pretending to pay attention 
  • Ignoring things you don’t understand 
tips help active listening

List Of Active Listening Exercises Along With Examples 

Active listening skills are important regardless of whether it’s for the workplace or personal life both. 

Communicating effectively with leaders, employees, and clients, it requires your full attention to interact and engage well. 

Here are some of the active listening exercises that can help, along with examples.  It includes : 

Self Awareness Exercise 

Self-awareness exercises can help you in understanding about discover more about listening and knowing more about active listening. 

Here is how you can do it : 

  • The first is to have the paired-up participants. 
  • Here one person who is instructed for venting can be related to common problems in their workplace. 
  • The first participant display can be the nonverbal cues which include looking at the phone, no eye contact, etc. It shows that they are not listening.
  • Have the participants switch roles and display active listening skills. It indicated that they are good listeners, including nodding, facial expression, etc. 
  • Regroup and discuss it. 

Self Awareness Example

Mary informs Jude about the constant delays of invoicing clients in the billing department. 

Mary is looking at the phone and Jude whereas it feels like unheard. 

The switch template shows Jade nodding while clarifying the statement of Mary and asking related questions. 

Jude seems to be listening to Mary. And it’s a communication skill and the main point of this is to remove the errors from the expertise and discussion in the group. 

Interpretation Of Cues To Investigating The Real Problem 

Well for doing this, you need to do : 

  • For this, get your participants paired up together. 
  • The one individual received instructions to make the sim[ple statement such as he was late for a meeting today. 
  • The next one interprets the cue as well as encourages to explain about it such as tell about the meeting. 
  • Here it follows the explanation, the listener will demonstrate about pacing the event in sequence about what reason that speaker was late for the meeting. 
  • Here the switch roles and repeat it again 
  • It can follow the regroup and discuss it. 


 Sarah tells supervisor Jammy that she was late to meet in the morning. 

Jammy replies with questions regarding the meeting despite it not being started on time. 

Sarah said that it went well even though it was late. Does jump then ask about what led up the late? 

Sarah told him the printer was not working well. And with this information, Jammy arranged the service for repairing the printer. 

Employing The Empathy 

To start with this one, here you can consider the process: 

  • Here give the participant 5 minutes for researching the topic. For example, it can be how to measure the square footage of a client and plan the equipment location.
  • Give one minute and then interrupt the participant and request an update regarding the study. 
  • Be demanding when you are using the league and ask them when they are going to get it done. 

Provide Supports Without Removing Their Responsibility 

To start with this one, here is how you can start with : 

  • Come up with a problematic work situation that is common to the participants or let them come up with their own.
  • Let the participants take turns to add their ideas on how they will solve their problems.
  • With this, you can use the large whiteboard, take note of all suggestions and keep accountability on workers. 
  • The participant should be able to discern the differences.
  • Have the participant decide to change the process and how they will approach leadership if it’s necessary.
  • Capitalizing the talent of participants by pointing out the effectively listened to colleagues. 
  • You can call attention to where they need to show accountability of the job.

Example : 

Michelle expresses that there is an issue with the packaging of the product. And the cost associated with this packaging also affects the customer satisfaction, refunds, and loss of their repat the business. 

As a result, the team directed us to break down the issues to know more. And the prisoner uses the whiteboard to categorize what employees can do at floor level and to the leadership side. 

Also, the team should have an understanding of those differences, they can find ways for changing the process which is used at floor level. And also how they can approach leadership for support. 

Consensual Validation For Clarifying The Issue 

To start with this exercise, you can consider : 

  • Have the participants pair up.
  • Here one person should be instructed to present the idea to another. 
  • The participant is a better listener and also reframes the ideas. 
  • With this, it can switch the roles and repeat them again.
  • This can be regrouped and discussed.

To make it verbal communication and to improve the effectiveness, here both parties must use words which are similar. 

It’s important that you avoid using jargon or slang which is not familiar to the next party. 

Also, avoid the urge to restart things using your own words. It can be an alternative exercise that would be to ask one participant for using technical jargon. 


Carol describes the idea to simplify the client and order a process token. 

Well, Ken asks if Carol is saying that clients will be able to order their products simultaneously, instead of ordering a one-by-one product. 


You can start with Faces as an exercise for best active listening. it includes : 

  • Organize the participants in groups which should have 4 – 8, this one persona in each who will lead the game.
  • Each person is required to write down their feelings on paper and hand them to the leader.
  • The leader then has to redistribute the feelings to players.
  • Each player needs to act out what is written in the paper.
  • Then discuss the nuances of communication in the office.


When Michelle approaches with more work from her boss, Sharon’s face will reveal what she is feeling. So if she is feeling overwhelmed with the workload, she can do a hard blink or deep sign. 

The best way for Micheel is to facilitate an environment that encourages open communications so it’s easier to read the nonverbal cues o. 

Suggesting Collaboration 

This one requires : 

  • Participants need to get paired up. 
  • One person is required to follow the instruction where he or she has presented their problem which often happens in the work environment.
  • The other was to give time to express what they are feeling and use nonverbal signs as well as silence to elaborate. 
  • The listener then has to suggest collaboration which can help in solving the problem. 

Example : 

Maria is going through a problem where she has to pull numbers indoors to complete the report but Henry is absent. And she can’t do her work as Henry has the information. 

She talked about her concerns to Sandra and she listen carefully, letting maria to get the root of her problem without saying anything or interrupting, 

Once she was done, Sandra replies “ henry might be busy but they can talk to an admin and have access to the file that she needs to get the number for the report” 

Involve Others In Making Decision

Well to start with this one, you can follow : 

  • Here start with a fake product or service to the participants.
  • Have the participant take their time and turn adding ideas on how to develop, manufacture and market the product. 
  • Note that active listeners in groups follow the verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • You can point out how they are using their attentive listening skills with their colleagues in discussion. 


 John came up with an idea of grouping people for a new gadget that will help in solving the end-users-related problem. 

The group takes their turns to add what they think or ideas to develop and do marketing the gadget. 

The presenter makes notes on how other participants are using language, active participant, and nonverbal cues to work together 

Well, the presenters can praise those who have active listening better. 

Processing  The Cisrims With Using Emotional Intelligence 

To start with this, you can consider : 

  • Here come up with common criticism which your participants might be facing or might have heard about it. 
  • The participants take turns to come up with a better way to reframe the criticism to be using empathy, open encouragement, support, and charity.
  • Encourage them to express how they can make a difference and what motivates them to get better. 

Example : 

Brandon’s boss tells him that she isn’t happy with the presentation that he submitted. She doesn’t add anything specific. So the team comes up with approaches that can motivate Brandon to improve it prior to the team. 

Also, have the situation to know how Brandon might respond to the station to be more effective. 


The next one includes : 

  • Participants are paired up and ask them to recall when they felt like someone did wrong to them in the workplace.
  • Using the I in a statement, so they take their turns in explaining how they felt in the situation and what could have been done to go differently. 


In the middle of the presentation, Ron was interrupted by his colleague John. 

And John explains something in which Ron was in process of it. When the meeting ended, Ron used the I statement to tell John what he felt. 

Which was “ John, I felt embarrassed when you took over the presentation by disturbing in middle”

Seconds Of Silence 

There is how you can start : 

  • Participants need to be in a circle and they should face each other.
  • Taking turns, they just have to count and one person will say one number at one time.
  • The participant need only count one number and without any distraction and interruption, and if they have they need to start over. 
  • Take note of the active listening skills that are used by them, and keep the counting going and also keep the silence maintained. 

Example : 

Get eight people from the marketing team and sit them in a circle where they face each other. 

One at a time, they need to start the counting, and if the size person blurts out Go to the fifth person, then the game has to restart as no one is allowed to talk. 

Once they are getting into flow, the speed can be increased.

Assertive, Aggressive, And Passive Aggressive 

To know about this, here is what you need to start with : 

  • Explain, you need to participate in the difference between different personalities which are assertive, aggressive, and passive or aggressive who are working in the workplace. Here you need to give an example.
  • Each person is given a piece of paper, and here you need to have cut out different scenarios depending on the personality traits.
  • Participants have to react to different situations in assigned ways i.e. aggressively, assertively, and passive-aggressively.
  • Discuss with each other briefly as they happen, identify and classify different reactions and which will work or which will not.

Not only is it helpful as practice for active listening, but with that, you can use this icebreaker or use it for deeper discussions.


Aggressive: Jenna yells at John when he ends up jamming the photocopier for the seventh time. 

Passive-aggressive: Jenna finds the coffee machine is empty and instead of simply the other pot, Jenna signs loud enough so others can hear her and says “ Guess I have to make coffee again.

Assertive: John sends the email to Jenna, but it was missing an important attachment. Jenna calls him and asks about the file he was missing and asks to resend it over.


This one you can start with : 

  • Put experts on the topic and place them in a separate room, use audio to feed their cousin, and lie to other participants who are muted on their call. This is for practicing the questions and comments and holding it all. 
  • Particulates need to observe and take notes so they can discuss in the end. 
  • In the end, participants are also encouraged to share their questions and ideas. 


The company is restricted due to their merger but instead of the mass chaos, the management decides to inform the staff in person by conducting the meeting. 

The meeting is held in the conference room, but they break it via Telecom fed in where the staff was on muted and prevented from interrupting. 

After they explain everything and then unmute the staff to ask the questions. With this, they helped in vaping the assumptions and misunderstandings. 

The Round Robin 

Here is how you can do it  : 

  • Participants are given different aspects of the business on which they have to discuss. This topic is something on which the group has working knowledge including product and service. 
  • Begin with individuals, let them say the sentence, and explain about the topic. 
  • Then take turns, and each participant says one participant and continues to explain regarding service and product. 
  • Take note of the active listening skills which are used by employees for explanation flowing. 


The first participant describes the process in which they make the gadget, starting with choosing the right materials. 

Then the second person says something related to the safety procedure which needs to be done prior to starting up the machine, it can be safety glasses. 

Participants three and four need to explain the next step and keep it going on. 

With this, the people will learn how to be attentive while the conversation is going.  

Sandwich Instructions 

Here is how you can start : 

  • The presenter starts with ingredients that you need for making a sandwich. 
  • As a group, they tell the presenter to follow the exact steps for making the sandwich.
  • The presenter follows steps and performs the actions. 


A participant will tell the presenter to take two pieces of bread, and the printer fumbles with the packaging until they have to tell them to remove the tag or tire from the bag. 

The function can tell about how effective their communication is. 

Disgruntled Customer 

Here is how you can start : 

  • The participant will have the scenario of an unsatisfied customer who has the complaint. 
  • The team has to collaborate and solve the problems by listening, de-escalating, and formulating plans with the right way of resolution. 
  • Also, they need to talk about what to make as a plan of action to satisfy the customers. 

Example : 

A customer named Kesha felt frustrated as the display canopy was broken when he arrived on Friday. 

The customer’s representative, Mesha, listened to her situation and discovered the canopy was to be used in the outdoor market the next morning. 

She apologizes for the product and delivers a loaner in order to replace the product. 

Also, she will ask the shipping department to cover the expenses. 

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