1.3(a) Did You Hear What I Said?


To develop listening skills in the group.

You need

A soft ball (or some clean socks) and about 45 minutes.

What to do

Rock falling on fish

Here are three quick exercises. They are quite light-hearted, but help to reflect on how hard it can be to listen to someone else, even when we may know them quite well. You may well have loads of other similar games that you want to try out.

a) Form a circle. Take a moment to think of an animal that starts with the same letter as your own first name. The first person then starts by saying who they are, Buffalo Bill for example. The second then says, ‘This is Buffalo Bill’ and goes on to introduce themselves. And so it goes on round the circle, each new person having to remember all those who have gone before. And if the first people think they got off lightly, keep going right round the circle again.

b) Take a soft ball or the rolled up (clean) socks and now throw them to each other at random, calling out that person’s chosen animal and first name as you do.

c) Form groups of three. Invent a character and take up to two minutes each to introduce your pretend character to each other, adding in a made up example of when you weren’t listened to. Now form a circle as a whole group and take it in turns to introduce someone else from your group of three, saying who they are and their story of when they weren’t listened to.

What do you think?

Take a few moments to talk about the games and exercises you have tried out. How easy was it to listen and keep hold of what you were hearing? Were you more worried about your turn coming up? What about the examples of not being listened to? They may have been made up, but were there some home truths in there as well? Many things can affect how well we are listening to someone else: are we interested? Do we like them? Are we distracted? Are we upset by something else? Are we under pressure? We can all be good listeners; but we can all also be poor listeners at times.

What next?

The group may want to explore this theme further by re-running the third exercise, but this time, drawing on real examples of when they have felt listened to and when they have felt not listened to and ignored or put down. A good way to do this can be by drawing a picture that represents the situation you want to describe. When you have shared your examples, you are in a strong position to draw out together some key messages you may want to hold on to about being listened to and respecting each other and other people.

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