A short fun exercise to highlight what it does to a conversation when the conversation partner does not listen.
The activity is easy to conduct. It is important to ask the participants to answer questions that are not too personal for them.
Required Material: Two rooms so that you can split up the group and give them different instructions.
Split up the group in pairs and tells the pairs to agree who is person A and who is person B.
All the A persons go to another room where the facilitator tells them that when they come back into the room their partner will tell them a story. The task of person A is to take over the story by being over engaged and interrupting person B telling. This could for example be done by saying “I have tried exactly the same…”.
Tell the B persons staying in the room that their task when they meet with their partner again is to tell about a good holiday memory (it is not that important what they tell about, only that they can talk for a few minutes about it).
Gather the two groups and ask the B’s to tell their story – and the A’s will try to take over the history. After 5 minutes the two groups split up again and A’s go to another room. A’s are instructed to tell about their favorite food. B’s are instructed to not listen to the story and seem not to care. This could for example be done by looking somewhere else or at the telephone when the other is telling the story.
Gather the two groups and reflect in plenary:
How was it for A’s to tell their story?
How was it for B’s to tell their story?
Building on this exercise, which points can we highlight about how to act in a conversation?
How your conversation partner shows that they are listening affects how you talk. If the other is not listening, you often don’t feel like continuing to speak.