The Art Of Listening – Listening Exercises

  • Post Written by Jai Kai on December 23, 2009
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photo courtesy of niclindh

The art of listening is a skill that you can easily be develop and if practiced one can become a master at almost anything and enjoy worldly success.

In my last blog post I talked about improving communication and gave you 7 valuable and important communications skills and techniques needed for success. In this post, I would like to reinforce the concept of listening.

All the world’s greatest musicians, athletes, artists, poets, philosophers, scientists and intellects were and are masters of listening. They have learned how to be present and maintain awareness to listen effectively. Everyone must learn and develop their passions through the art of listening to be successful.

It usually begins as a child, in this innate state of interest and awareness we have to satisfy our little curiosities and desires. We learn to listen to others who can teach us and show us where we want to go. As we get older we often forget to be present, pay attention and listen. We get caught up in our minds and identify ourselves with our thoughts which distracts us from listening effectively.

Fortunately, there are ways we can improve our listening skills and awareness by practicing listening exercises. There are many different types of listening exercises out there and many resources and books you can use. However, after much research and practice myself, I have discovered one significantly effective and valuable listening exercise that can tremendously improve your listening capabilities.

It involves reading or listening to a story with the intention of being focused and remembering the details of that story. The following exercise below illustrates just that. Read the story out loud to yourself or better yet have someone else such as your spouse or friend read it to you, and then answer specific questions relating to the story. Have fun, and try not to cheat or peek at the answers. You are only cheating yourself.

The Story:

Mr. Black just moved from Boston to San Francisco to start his new job as a psychiatrist. It is Monday morning and he needs to drive from his new residence in San Sailto to the medical institution at 1123 Berkley Avenue for a 9 AM start. He wakes up at 6 AM brushes his teeth and goes to the local health club to exercises for an hour.

He gets home at 7:30, has a shower and gets dressed wearing a lovely Armani pinned stripe blue suit and yellow tie. He then goes to the kitchen and has oatmeal, rye toast with peanut butter and an apple for breakfast. After breakfast he proceeds to the living room and reads a few pages of his book “Things Happen for a Reason” for 15 minutes. Hethen hops in his red Porsche 911 and drives to work arriving at 8:45.

After signing in at the security desk in the lobby, Mr. Black gets into the elevator and pushes the button for the 14th floor. Halfway up, the elevator breaks down. He’s able to exit the elevator and walk up the remaining flights to his first day on the job, but he’s late, arriving at 9:05. Mr. Cooper, his supervisor, says that he is fired because he came to work on his first day late and will not tolerate anyone who is not punctual. Mr. Black explains that the elevator broke down and had to walk up the stairs. Mr. Cooper expresses his regret but says that the company has a strict no late policy and there is another man, Mr. Hunter who will replace Mr Black’s position. Mr. Black gets so upset that he runs upstairs to the roof and jumps off the building.


1. What is the main characters name in the story?

2. In what city is the man going to start his new job?

3. Where did he move from?

4. What time is he suppose to start work?

5. What time did he wake up at?

6. Describe his attire?

7. What kind of car does he drive?

8. What did he have for breakfast?

9. What was the first thing he did after he woke up?

10. What was the second thing he did after he woke up?

11. What was the name of the book he read right after breakfast?

12. What time did he arrive to work?

13. What floor did he work on?

14. What happened to the elevator?

15. How did he handle the situation?

16. How late was he?

17. Who was the supervisor in charge?

18. What did this man say?

19. Who will be the new replacement?

20. What did the main character do at the end?


1. Mr. Black

2. San Francisco

3. Boston

4. 9 AM

5. 6 AM

6. Armani pinned stripe blue suit and yellow tie

7. Red Porche 911

8. Oatmeal, rye toast with peanut butter and an apple

9. He brushed his teeth

10. He went to the local health club

11. “Everything Happens for a Reason”

12. 8:45 AM

13. The 14th floor

14. It broke down on the 7th floor

15. He walked

16. 5 minutes

17. Mr. Cooper

18. He is fired because the company has a strict no late policy

19. Mr. Hunter

20. He jumped off the building

After sometime, repeat the exercise again and see if you made any improvements. If you got all the answers right, congratulations, you are definitely a good listener. Have someone create some new stories and questions for you and enjoy playing this game often.

Of all the listening exercise I have explored this one really seemed to help me improve my awareness, focus and listening skills. Remember that practicing a skill or technique is the key to success. As you progress in the art of listening, you will notice that when people speak, you remember more details because you were more focused and were paying attention.

If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate it if you shared it on, StumbleUpon or Twitter. Thank you

4 Comments on “The Art Of Listening – Listening Exercises”

  • Amos Leonor said:

    Only want to say your article is awesome. The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i can take for granted you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with future post. Thanks a million and please keep up the delightful work

  • John K. said:

    Paraphrasing is also one important element where the listener has clarified what the speaker has said. Great listening exersice though – Thanks!

  • Jai Kai (author) said:

    @ Amos – thanks, i am glad that you enjoyed this article. I have been studying and practicing the art of listening for some time now. Practice improves skills

    @ John – Great point. You can always paraphrase in your head or out loud what the speaker has said. This way you can really clarify and find out more information or details you may have missed.

  • aman said:

    Great post Jai, I am going use these tips.

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