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Learning Styles: Auditory Engagement

That sounds like a good idea.

How does it click with you?

Ringing any bells?


If you find yourself using these phrases often, you may be leaning on your auditory senses to engage with others.  Auditory learners and engagers naturally thrive, learn and develop relationships with an auditory approach.

In facilitation of community and team building efforts it is worthwhile to consider the overall rhythm of your meetings or gatherings. If your meeting was a soundtrack…what would the flow be? What would the rhythm reveal? How do you invite the auditory senses?

Some of our favorite auditory engagement tips and activities include:

  • Sounding Boards:  those with auditory styles of engagement will appreciate being part of a panel to listen to others and provide verbal feedback and ideas.
  • Creative timers:  give an auditory signal when it’s time to move on from a dialogue or activity or to signal when it’s time to come back to the focus of the meeting or gathering. For example, try bells, shakers, clapping or a funny noise on your phone.
  • Rhyme times: ask a member of the group to recite their favorite poem, quote or childhood rhyme. This type of break can be as stimulating as a physical stretch break for the kinesthetic based learner.
  • Verbal discussions: this is key for the audio group – plan plenty of time for dialogue where ideas, issues, and celebrations are “talked out”.
  • Reading written materials: if there is theory or context to read out in a meeting, divvy up the written pieces and have different voices read different parts. The fluctuation in volume and tones keeps people engaged.
  • Music in meetings: insert musical interludes to match the mood. This might look like some music in a PowerPoint presentation to support the key messages and emotions of your topic. Use music that is upbeat and welcoming when people enter the room. Change the music to match topics; softer when the topic is heavy and hope filled after decision making.
  • Responding to sounds: if unexpected sounds arise in the room in which you are meeting, use the sound as a prompt to what is happening for the group. E.g. If you hear a big bang and boom ask the group… “What’s the big booming question not being asked right now?” Likewise, remember silence can speak loads! If silence enters the space, comment on it and be with it.

The more we understand ways of learning, the more we can design processes that include diverse ways of engaging others.

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