Last Updated on August 26, 2023 by Editorial Team
To be a good speaker, it is imperative that one become a good listener too! While it is unerring that there are plenty of ways to grasp and soak up knowledge, the most prominent ones being reading and listening. Talking about reading vs. listening, what can be better than listening to some wise words and learning from other people? However, this needs a very crucial and vital trait or skill, which is good listening.
Listening is one of those senses that assist in grasping information better. Be it following the lectures, sounds, or video, the ability to hear is pivotal. Accordingly, this skill may be perceived as crucial for the communication process too.
While some traits are natural, some skills may need to be absorbed. Listening skills can be one of those skills. However, much to the belief that skills can only be inculcated into kids, like those in preschool using fun games for improving listening skills, some games and activities can help adults too, to brush and enhance their skills to a great extent.
Consequently, here we look into various noteworthy listening games and activities that can make adults great listeners.
Types of listening: Active & passive
Listening skills are a must to communicate well with others. But did you know all listening is not the same and can be divided into active and passive listening skills?
Passive listening is different and allows others to speak without interruptions or reacting to the same. The person is not reacting but listening by paying attention is what passive listening skills are about. It’s actually a one-way process of communication where the listener is not responding back (may or may not be paying attention to what the other person is saying).
On the flip side, Active listening is about responding and talking with the person who started the communication. Your reply shows that you can understand and grasp the things he is talking about. Active listening is a focused listening skill that we use in our daily conversations.
When an individual reflects back to the other person accurately, it shows he/she is listening carefully and not just hearing for the sake of it. The listener genuinely respects and gets the message the other individual is trying to convey.
Improving listening skills is a process, and if you don’t have it as you want it to be, you can improve it by playing listening games & activities that can make the process of learning and enhancing your listening skills more enjoyable.
Here is a list of 10 games and activities that adults can play to enhance their listening skills:
Fun listening games and activities for grown-ups to try
1. Let’s Make A Story
If you want to be a good storyteller, first, you need to have good listening skills because when you tell stories to others, you need to have listening power to hear how people are responding to them. Let’s Make A Story is an activity that is good for improving the listening skills of an adult individual.
To begin the activity in a group, one adult will start by saying one sentence and the next person has to think and add a sentence to the first sentence, and then the third person will add a sentence to the trial, and so on. Each individual gets a turn and adds something that will help the story to continue until it reaches the last person. The educator has to record each sentence, and when everyone is done, one person can read the story to everyone.
The activity is perfect for enhancing listening skills as it makes an individual think and adds a meaningful sentence to continue the story. The other benefits of the activity are enhancing creativity, social interaction, and thinking skills development.
2. Draw That
To improve listening skills, this is an excellent activity. This activity can be conducted in a group of adults. In the activity, adults have to listen to the instructions and draw accordingly.
The rule here is that individuals have to follow the instructions without asking any questions; they just have to draw by listening by using their imagination and listening power.
In the activity, you can instruct them to draw, such as, “Draw two circles and one diamond beside the first circle, draw a square beside the second circle.” When the activity is over, you may see most of them will have different drawings of what you have told them. This activity teaches them to understand how important it is to listen carefully.
3. Sound Recognition Activity
The activity makes individuals pay attention closely and listen carefully to detect the sounds/noises. Let all the adults be in the room and ask them to close their eyes for around 30 seconds and create a few sounds, like tapping on the table or shutting the door or window.
Ask them to open their eyes and tell what they heard, and let them imitate the sound. The activity helps them to pay attention and listen carefully to recognize the sounds. You can add more sounds and twists, like adding a few other rules.
4. Question Answer Activity
Individuals like to play the activity and participate actively. To conduct the activity, you can read a paragraph of a story. Begin the activity by asking them questions related to the paragraph. For example, if the paragraph says about healthy food habits, ask them questions like “What are the healthy food items?”
Add more rules like when you are reading no-one should talk, just they have to listen. You can conduct the activity in groups or individually, and they can give answers in the same way – group-wise or individually.
5. Take An Interview
This interview Activity is a great way to enhance listening skills by talking and listening to each other. It also makes them practice speaking, that too, with confidence. To begin the activity, make pairs of individuals and ask one of them to act as a celebrity.
Next, the other one has to ask questions about that celebrity. The moderator can also give a set of questions, and later ask the individuals to create more questions on the basis of the answer of the celebrity, or the player 2.
The idea is to ask as many questions as possible. Later, the moderator can ask questions to player 1, that is the interviewer to check whether he/she has listened to what player 2 has answered. This checks the listening skills of the player to if they answered correctly and if they have been good listeners in the interview.
Players can repeat this activity by making player 2 the interviewer, and the interviewer in the previous round can now become the celebrity in the new round.
6. Spot the Mistake
This activity requires a moderator and a few players. In the activity, the moderator can pick any topic of mutual interest, and speak facts on the topic for about a minute. There can be about 10 facts. But, the catch in the game is that the moderator will speak a few facts and a few false statements.
The players now need to listen carefully to catch the false statements being said by the moderator. Since this activity involves adults, 2 things can be done to make the activity more interesting and challenging. Firstly, the moderator would speak each sentence only once. Therefore it would become imperative for each and every player to listen very carefully.
Secondly, the topic can be chosen at a higher level. This way, the players not only have to concentrate on listening but also need to move their brain muscles to think about the subject more clearly. The topic can be chosen mutually so that everyone is able to pinpoint the errors in the sentence.
7. Who Said It?
We all love movies and TV series. So what can be better than using these movie’s dialogues to inculcate individuals so that they become better listeners? This activity can be conducted in two ways. Firstly, the adults can be shown a movie or an episode of a series. They must listen to each and every dialogue clearly. Next, the moderator can ask who said the following line? Or something like, what did the character say when his wallet got stolen?
The second way to play this activity is to ask adults about iconic dialogues from popular TV shows and movies. They can also tell their favorite dialogues of a particular series or show or movie.
This entertaining activity can be a great way to ensure that adults absorb the fact that listening can be a crucial trait.
8. The Three Whys
‘Why’ can be a tricky question, apart from being the most common from the where, why, what, and how! For this, the adults must be divided into pairs. All they need to do is that one needs to be a speaker and the other would be the listener. The speaker would talk on any topic of their interest for about a minute.
Next, the listener needs to listen to what they are saying very carefully to be able to curate such ‘why’ questions, which are not already answered by the speaker during their one minute of speaking. Therefore, the idea is to find such questions which have remained unanswered in the context of the speaker.
This activity not only focuses on listening skills but also helps individuals become better speakers, as they have to keep speaking for a considerable amount of time.
9. Blindfold Walk
We all are well-versed in the concept of Google and Apple Maps. This activity allows individuals to become real-life maps. Basically, adults can be divided into pairs. This game would need a minimum of 5 such pairs.
Next up, the moderator needs to make chits of 5 possible locations in the room. For example, near the table, near the door, on the balcony, near the lift, and so on. The chit would be given to one player, and the other would be blindfolded. All of the players would now be playing simultaneously. The player with the chit needs to guide the blindfolded player by giving directions, like ‘take 3 steps forward, move to the right, turn left’, and so on.
The challenge here would be that the player with the chit can modulate their voice to confuse the blindfolded player. The blindfolded player would have to listen carefully to focus on the instructions given by their partner. Basically, when all 5 or more pairs play together, there is a lot of noise and a lot of directions, but the idea is to follow the directions of the person in the pair. Apart from good listening skills, this game demands a lot of concentration, which makes this an ideal game for adults.
10. Secret Message
For this game, the players must be asked to sit in a straight line. Next, each player would be given a piece of paper and a pen. The moderator would now speak a sentence, like ‘It’s my father’s brother’s son’s anniversary, so while going, I need to pick up my sister, sister’s husband, and my mother and my mother’s sister.’ Basically, the idea is to speak a sentence that demands the full attention and listening capacity of the individual.
Next, the individual to whom the moderator has just whispered would first write the sentence on the piece of paper and later pass on the message by whispering to the player right behind them. The idea to first write is so that whoever has passed on the message incorrectly can be caught.
The last person in the line now has to speak the entire sentence, and the moderator needs to see if the player is speaking the exact same lines as they have said to the first person. This fun activity can be a great listening activity for adults as it involves memorizing and listening super carefully, and then making sure that you are passing on the correct sentence.
11. Pay Attention
Our surroundings are filled with not just one but many sounds during the day. Being able to filter out unnecessary sounds and pay close attention to relevant sounds is crucial for improving performance. Imagine a meeting is going on in the office, but there’s a lot of noise due to construction going on in a nearby place. How do you concentrate and be receptive to important information shared during the meeting? By using your active listening skills, which ignore irrelevant sounds and grab only what’s important.
To refine these skills, this simple activity is a great choice. Invite two volunteers. One of them will speak on the topic of their choice, while the other will distract the listeners by creating unwanted and disruptive sounds. They could bang the table, sing a song, or say a joke. Whatever works! The listeners will have to listen closely to what the speaker is saying and write down a summary at the end.
The speaker can go through everyone’s summary and give points based on how well they have captured the essence of the topic he spoke about. These points will reflect how well the listeners utilized their listening skills and whether there is a need for improvement.
12. Word Association Challenge
This is a fun challenge that keeps players on their toes while they utilize their listening skills to make meaningful connections. As this is a partner activity, allow some time so participants can choose their partners. Invite a team on stage and give them instructions for the challenge.
One member will have to say a random word, and the other person must respond with another word that has a close connection to the first word. For example, if the first person says “apple,” the second person can say “red” or “fruit” to build a connection. The game can continue for a minute or two, during which both participants can shoot words at each other and respond with suitable words to form associations.
Continue the challenge with other teams as well, while the rest of the participants can share a hearty laugh together.
Listening skill is the gateway to communicating well with others. It is often said, ‘We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.’ Hence, listening well becomes a crucial attribute that an individual must follow to be successful.
While most skills can be imbibed during childhood and adolescence, yet, skills like good listening cannot be bound by age and still can be picked up by adults too. These games and activities can help grown-ups become better listeners, which can open a lot of gates to knowledge, communication, and success.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,