Tips for Trainers – Active Listening Training Game

Active Listening Training Game

Raise your hand if you wish your participants were better listeners. Did you raise your hand? Most facilitators I know wish they could capture the attention of their participants better. I have an activity I like to do that helps me know what kind of listeners I have that day. I sequence this activity early on, so it helps me gauge early on what I’m up against. Divide your group into teams of 10 people (give or take a few.). Toss a Category Mania Thumball to one person in each group. Tell them to announce the category that is under their thumb. Let’s pretend the category is ‘Round Things’. The person who announced the category would be the first person to state something that is round. ‘The sun!’ Then, the person to their right would have to name a different object that would classify as a Round Thing. “A baseball.” This would continue until each person in the group has successfully named a different round object. If the group can successfully name 10 different objects without repeating an answer that has already been given, that team gets a point. Then the person holding the ball would toss it to someone else in the group and they would announce the new category. If someone repeats an answer that was previously given, that round is immediately over and the person with the ball would toss the Category Mania Thumball to a different person in the group and they would start over with a new category. All teams play for 3 minutes and see which group can score the most points. At the end of three minutes, let each group announce how many points they were able to achieve.

What I like about this game is that it is a mini active-listening training game. Each participant has a responsibility to the rest of the group to listen closely to each answer that is given, which can be hard! Some groups do really well with this and others may struggle. In a three minute time period, groups that achieve 7 points or more are pretty good listeners. (Yay!) This would let you know that you may not experience a lot of side talking or distractions while you are facilitating. Those groups that report out achieving 1-3 points will most likely need you to repeat directions or concepts a few times. They will most likely be a little frustrated with one another and feel like they did a poor job. You can address this in the debrief if you’d like. We still celebrate the achievements they did make, but be prepared that you may need to repeat important rules and concepts throughout the day. Give it a try and see what you think!

What are some of your favorite active-listening training games?


Have fun out there,
Michelle Cummings
Owner/Trainer/Big Wheel
Training Wheels