AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Lifestyle, Membership, MentalHealth, Youth

Key ways to improve listening skills

Key ways to improve listening skills

Effective communication happens when the speaker rapports their information effectively to the receiving end. We all have been either a deliverer of speech or a person at the receiving end on numerous occasions. So have you been playing the role of the receiving end party well by being an effective listener? Or have you ever felt like you’ve been hearing “a lot of things” at a meeting? If it’s the latter case, don’t worry, I got you!

Listening and hearing are two different things. “Listening” is a skill you should develop to receive information effectively when communicating, whereas “Hearing” is your natural ability to identify sound stimuli. Hence, it turns out that if you’ve been hearing “a lot of things” instead of encoding information when engaging in a conversation, you should practice these strategies to be a good listener. This is because whether you are a leader or a member of a large organization, improving listening skills is a handy tool to master!

  1. Be attentive.
  2. Ask questions.
  3. Request clarification.
  4. Paraphrase.

Step 01 – Be attentive!

Sometimes, we tend to drift off to our little imaginations while talking with someone. And when the second we come back to reality, we have no sense of what’s going on! It is at this point you’ll start to hear things instead of listening. What I do is consistently maintain my interest in the conversation. That is, by carefully listening to what the speaker is saying while encoding the necessary information and not making judgements or conclusions in my head. Another important thing is eye contact, this is because when we maintain our eye contact with the speaker; it is easy to concentrate during the listening process. So do not forget to face the speaker and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. If you are a leader, you should be attentive to what your members are saying in order to come up with better objectives, adjustments, and improvements. If you are a member of a large organization, you should always be attentive to what your colleagues and leader are saying in order to give your maximum to achieve organizational goals.

Step 02 – Ask questions

Would you like it if someone you’re talking to is just staring at you and you just kind of feel like being a radio playing audio on its own? No, nobody appreciates something like that. And that’s why we need to make sure not to put the speaker in an uncomfortable situation like that. What I do is ask questions. Ask questions which are related to the topic and make sure they are open-ended questions. You may think that asking questions is an interruption, but actually, it makes the speaker more confident to report the maximum information to you when you show him or her that you are interested. So ask questions starting with “How” “What” and “Why” to open up new sides of the topic you’re dealing with and make sure they are asked in a welcoming manner. I ask questions like “What might have caused that?” or “Why do you think that ‘s the case?” so that the speaker feels welcomed to speak more. This is a brilliant way to grab the maximum ideas of your members to come up with holistic decisions and better strategies to achieve organizational goals.


Step 03 – Request Clarification

Have you ever felt like you lost track of where the conversation is going? That is because you have missed the first step of this whole listening process; that is, being attentive to what the speaker is saying. Don’t worry, it is totally okay to be caught in a situation like that as long as you request clarification. Yes, don’t ever hesitate to request clarification from the speaker if you feel like you didn’t get it right. I always ask “Could you say that again, please?” or “Would you elaborate on that, please?” whenever I feel like I don’t get what the speaker is trying to say. This will make the speaker to be more specific and effectively communicate his or her idea. Et voilà! Effective communication happens. Thus, this is a core requirement to process with the organizational goals as it is important to make sure that the leader and members are all on the same page when working towards a common objective.

Step 04 – Paraphrase

After requesting clarification as we discussed in step three, it is important to make sure that you clearly got the idea that the speaker conveyed while also ensuring the speaker that he or she had effectively communicated his or her idea. So, how can we kill these two birds with one stone? That could be done by Paraphrasing! How I do it is by repeating the underlying idea of the speaker’s points with my own words whilst maintaining the level of formality by matching the tone of the speaker. You can start to say your paraphrase by saying “So, what you’re saying is…” or ” If I got you right, you mean that…”. This way, you can assure the speaker that you have listened to his or her speech effectively while confirming that the information has been understood precisely by you. In an organizational scenario, this should be a crucial step before wrapping up any meeting. That is because this step confirms that the discussed information has been effectively communicated among the leader and the members of the organization.


That’s it! These are the keys to make you an effective listener. Next time when you’re engaging in a conversation, ace these steps so that you won’t just hear “a lot of things” but instead actually listen and effectively encode the information delivered by the speaker.




Hashini Dissanayake

Content writer

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya


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Travel, Volunteer, Youth

In the Footsteps of Change: My Volunteering experience in India

“Train your mind to see the good in everything” -Paul Walker 

Starting with the late veteran actor Paul Walker’s quote gives me more strength and motivation to pursue whatever I’m engaged in. It is like a lamp post that clears the way. As he had mentioned in the quote, I really wanted to gradually learn to see the good in everything rather than complaining about the things that  are not happening merely as we wish. In the journey of developing my mindset, I have encountered a big barricade that stops me from doing things. It is me being afraid to walk out of my comfort zone. At some point, I felt like I was not doing well enough and I was not pushing my limits. That is where the idea of volunteering popped up in my mind. Volunteering is a completely new venture for me and also I got the gut feeling that it will be a  novel challenge for me to test my inner strengths and weaknesses as well. Therefore, I applied for a six-week volunteer project via AIESEC in University of Peradeniya. I got the opportunity to volunteer with project Skill Up at the We Can We Will Foundation in Mumbai, India.

My first day at We Can We Will foundation  

Reflecting on my first day at foundation, it was an unforgettable memory for me. I was accompanied by my  good friend Sudhanshu from AIESEC in Mumbai at D.N. Nagar metro  station.

First day in India

After travelling in the metro my friend and I came to the foundation premises by a rickshaw. At first when I was  entering the foundation premises my first sight was some kids. They were doing various kinds of  activities. Some of them were reading books, some were playing small games and some were just going  here and there with happy faces. There, I came into realization on that very first day at We Can We Will foundation. That was the realization that  this was the place where I started seeing the very first sprouts of the seeds of my desire to work at a  foundation which were planted in my mind a long time ago.

Teaching underprivileged children

Teaching children at We Can We Will foundation

Teaching was not something I could ever do and it was not in my blood. That’s what I used to think  about teaching. But in reality I came into realization of the beauty of teaching. On the very first day of my  teaching I realized one important fact. It is as a teacher you get to see child psychology very well. It  can expand the way you look at the world. 

The very first student I had to do an English lesson was a kid called Siddharth. He was a very special  student due to two main reasons. First, he was like an Ice Breaker for me and secondly, he was the very  first student who obediently and actively engaged with me throughout the lesson. Even though his lessons  were not a big challenge for me as he was small and still learning basics in English I realized that was where  the real challenge begins. The challenge was how far I can get into the mindset of this student. I knew  without doing so I would not be a good teacher for him. 

Food Distribution

Food distribution at We Can We Will foundation

Food distribution was actually one of my favourite activities during the stay as it was all about giving  something without expecting anything in turn. It is human nature to give something meanwhile  expecting something in turn. But while engaging in food distribution at We Can We Will I felt more  happiness in giving as I could do it wholeheartedly without expecting anything in turn.

When I was at the food distribution on the first day I was almost soaked in water and my shoes were so  drenched as well. I was kind of discouraged about whether I can continue this great activity if the pouring would  continue every day. But slowly I started to see the good in that activity as it opens avenues to  give food for free for the people in need, meanwhile practicing teamwork. Then I started to gradually feel  the happiness I can have. 

Challenges I faced

This was the first time I have been to India. As a Sri Lankan, India was not much different to my eyes as  there were similar characteristics. However, as a first time traveler I had to undergo several aspects of  cultural shock in the first few days. Anyways as a person who was willing to take challenges I wanted to  grind through all the barricades coming in front of me.

Language barrier:

When I started working in the organization I did not feel much trouble with reference to language. The staff communicated to me in English and also most of the students were able to communicate in English. But sometimes there are situations where I felt if I knew the native language Hindi I could have made my explanations more precise and easily comprehensible for the students because at times I felt like for some students teaching in English is not much convenient for them.

Dealing with different age groups:

One of the very first doubts I got at first when I joined the organization was to which age group of students  I’m supposed to teach and what kind of level I should focus on when teaching them English. Even though I could have referred to other subjects, read them,  learnt them and in turn taught them I expressed my desire to teach English and also French if any student  asked me to. Because I knew by selecting only to teach them English and French would lead me to exert  my level best to give my maximum output to the children.

By that way I could overcome the number of  lines I have to draw based on the various age groups as learning a language is not much age specific and  it can start at any age and improve more at any age. By that nature of languages I could bring all the age  groups into one platform. Yes of course, I made some arrangements and decided on what to teach for each  student based on their level of comprehension and also their convenience.  

As most people do, on the very first days I was new to the environment and then I was a little hopeless. But thanks to Mr. Rishikesh, other staff and children; they welcomed me in a warm  manner and introduced me very well to this new lifestyle. And gradually it started to feel like home rather  than just another working place.

Every new beginning leads to new things. And also every new start has an end. In the same way, my days  as a volunteer at We Can We Will Foundation are going to end today but the things I learnt and the  network I built will go with me for a long time.  It is more of an  optimistic way to face any tough circumstances and grind harder than before. So, these three weeks  at the We Can We Will Foundation also helped me to practically apply it to an extent and prove to myself  the power of seeing things positively.


Ayush De Zoysa

Exchange Participant

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya


Sign Up with Global Volunteer program

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AIESEC Sri Lanka, iGV, Travel, Volunteer, Youth

Cultivating change: the impact of Global Volunteers in Sri Lanka

Volunteers visiting University of PeradeniyaAlmost a quarter of the world volunteers globally and Sri Lanka leads this list with 46% of our national population volunteering to give back to society. The origins of volunteering come from evolution; for the longest time, human beings have depended on one another for survival. However, in psychological approaches, volunteerism translates to helping behaviour. Motives behind helping behaviour are fuelled by learning experiences and positive outcomes such as financial benefits, social recognition, or positive feelings about themselves from helping. These prosocial behaviours are battered, bruised and pushed into categories in academia. But in reality, they exist without a division, among us in our everyday things.

At AIESEC, volunteering is a way of life

Our volunteering opportunities are aligned to offer cross-cultural experiences to the participants. These opportunities are vital for the hosts as much as it is for the volunteers. For instance, in the aftermath of social turmoil, Sri Lanka was revived by the kindness of the community. The front lines, the most essential forces of change were the volunteers who picked up the slack. With the dramatic fall of our economy in 2022, the fallen spirits of our community was lifted by the volunteers who stepped up in numerous ways to uplift the lives of Sri Lankans. 

Volunteers in Project AquaticaSri Lanka has also always been a nation of tourism. We are home to lush rainforests, breathtaking beaches and waterfalls, mountains and terraces – the whole package! Sri Lanka also has a rich cultural heritage, both in terms of history and flavour. Streets of Lanka are scattered with confetti like mini shops of fried goodies, refreshing fresh king coconuts to drink and trinkets of souvenirs to accompany you through your journey in Sri Lanka. Our volunteering projects at AIESEC, based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) not only offer the volunteers an excellent opportunity to enhance their personal and professional goals, but also enhance the lives of all in Sri Lanka. When executed ethically, each of these volunteer projects have the power to support and develop the community.

The Role of International Volunteers in Sri Lankan Society

Apart from its contribution to the tourism sector in adding to the Per Capita Income, the communal engagement proves to enhance a better understanding of life here in Sri Lanka, going beyond the stereotyped and polarized headlines on internet news. There is bound to be a cultivation of a positive cultural education and appreciationVolunteers enjoying travelling in Sri Lanka through the foreign volunteers who get to engage with our local community and vice versa. Volunteering provides a journey of self-exploration and cultural confluence. With the planet in danger and nature in trouble, nations are facing unprecedented complexities. The SDGs provide a framework to manage them and volunteers actively play a part in the implementation of them.

Volunteers become crucial drivers of change, actively moulding the achievement of these goals. When they involve themselves in local areas, they create a lasting link to the advancement of the country. Essentially, volunteering not only helps people grow personally but also brings about real and positive changes. 


Thisandi Weerasinghe

Content Writer

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya


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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Lifestyle, Membership, MentalHealth, Youth

The Magic of believing in yourself

The Magic of believing in yourself

Success means many wonderful, positive things such as personal prosperity, freedom from worries, fears, frustrations, and failure. It also means self-respect, continually finding more real happiness and satisfaction in life, and being able to do more for those who depend on you. Ultimately Success means winning.
Success, achievement is the goal of everyone’s life!
Every human being wants success. Everybody wants the best this life can deliver.
Believe, really believe, you can touch the sky and you can. Not many people believe that they can touch the sky. So, as a result, not many people do.
But you can touch the sky with belief. You can win success by believing you can succeed.
Confidence isn’t something that we’re born with, but rather a trait that is developed with intentional habits. A person is the product of his own thoughts. Believe in yourself and good things do start happening. Your mind is a “thought factory.” It’s a busy factory; producing countless thoughts in one day.

You can control whether those thoughts are positive or negative. Believing in yourself, never underestimating your own intelligence, thinking positively, and planning for success is the key to making miracles in your life.
Fear is real. And we must recognize it exists before we can conquer it. No one is born confident. Confidence is acquired and developed.

Believe BIG.

The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. So, think about progress, believe in progress, and push for progress.
Belief works this way. Belief, the “I’m-positive-I-can” attitude, generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do it. When you believe I can do it, the how-to-do-it develops. In these modem times belief is doing much bigger things than touching the sky. In fact, the essential element in our space explorations today is the belief that space can be mastered. Without firm, unwavering belief that man can travel in space, our scientists would not have the courage, interest, and enthusiasm to proceed. The belief that cancer can be cured will ultimately produce cures for cancer. Belief in great results is the driving force, the power behind all great books, plays, and scientific discoveries.
There is nothing magical nor mystical about the power of belief. As long as you believe in yourself, you can make miracles in your life.

Tharushi Amarasinghe

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya


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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Membership, MentalHealth, Youth

From Doubt to Belief: Building Confidence in Yourself and Your Abilities

From Doubt to Belief: Building Confidence in Yourself and Your Abilities

Confidence is a powerful force that propels us forward. But it can be overshadowed by doubt. As someone who used to doubt my abilities, I know how challenging it can be to step out of one’s comfort zone and overcome obstacles in order to build confidence. It is natural for doubt to creep into our minds, eroding our self-belief. Confidence shapes our outlook on life and influences our successes, enabling us to tackle challenges and seize opportunities.

We can start to believe in ourselves by acknowledging our strengths and achievements, whether they are small or significant. It is important to appreciate them and utilize them when necessary, while also striving to enhance our strengths. No matter how minor they are, celebrate the successes and let them serve as a foundation for your self-belief.

View failure as a stepping stone towards personal growth

Instead of fearing failure, view it as a stepping stone towards personal growth. Make sure to seize the opportunity to learn from your shortcomings and embrace the valuable lessons they offer. Use these lessons to refine your skills and strategies. If you are still doubting yourself, start setting achievable and realistic goals that align with your abilities and aspirations. Break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks. As you accomplish each step, your confidence will naturally grow, motivating you to push further.

Challenge yourself to take risks because if you don’t, who will? Even if new experiences are intimidating, embrace them in your life. They help you expand your capabilities and demonstrate your ability to handle unfamiliar situations. Surround yourself with supportive and positive influences, people who have the potential to encourage your growth. Positive reinforcement can significantly boost your confidence.

Confidence is not an innate trait; it is a skill that can be nurtured and developed. So, be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Avoid criticizing your own abilities and remember that this journey may not be linear. However, with perseverance and self-belief, you can overcome doubt and embrace a life filled with confidence and accomplishments.


Dakshika Jayaweera

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya

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