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Home Nos activités Formations The art of listening

The art of listening

The 29 and 30th of April, World Dynamics of Young People (WDYP) organized a training on non-violent communication for 30 members of the Mfoundi seven local council representations of the National Youth Council. The objective was to improve communications skills in order to enable young people to better follow projects financed by the public investment budget (BIP) in the field and at the same time avoid conflicts.

In WDYP’s work to improve the implication of young people in local decision-making we often hear the “complain” that they are not taken into consideration. They claim that authorities and entrepreneurs do not often listen to them or don’t even want to receive them. This makes it hard for the youth to follow-up projects.

On the other hand, we can also pose the question if the message of the youth is well formulated, communicated and transmitted. We noticed that they often do not have the skills to express themselves and to understand their interlocutor, which can cause misunderstandings and even conflicts. To improve there way of communicating and so increase the chance their message is taken into account, several communication tools were practice with them during the two day training.

One of the methods, “active listening”, is aimed at understanding the message a person is transmitting. Often, we think we listen, but indeed we are not concentrated, we ignore non-verbal signs and intervene directly without letting the person talk. Therefore, it is important to listen with your whole body, to give all your attention to the person, ask questions to clarify and not judge what he or she is saying, even though you might not agree.

The exercise, where participants practiced the methods in groups of three (one person who listens, one person who talks and one observer), showed that it is not easy to really listen actively. You need to be aware of body language, you need to assure you understand the person well and to be patient. A lot of times, we are at the same time busy with the telephone or computer, or else our thoughts are somewhere else. This can prevent us to capture the essential message and to efficiently act upon it.

During the evaluation of the workshop, many participants indicated they are going to use “active listening” for their work in the field, as defined in their action plan, but also in daily life. World Dynamics of Young People encourages their initiatives and hopes the new acquired techniques will help them to be better listeners and to be listened to.