Listen! Focus! Communication exercise for drama students

Good communication is all about being engaged and listening. One of my favourite quotes about communication is:

Two monologues do not make a dialogue. – Jeff Daly


1. Ask your class to form a circle.

2. Instruct everyone to think about a flower. You might want to throw out some suggestions if you see students with a deer in the headlights look. (Rose, Carnation, Daisy, Tulip, Bluebell, Violet, Buttercup, Primrose, Forget-me-not, Iris, Orchid, Lily, Sunflower, Crocus)

3. Take a large ball. (Something soft, like a nerf ball.) Explain that you are going to throw the ball across the circle. The person who catches the ball has to name a flower and then throw the ball to someone else.

4. When the second person catches the ball, they have to name a flower, and then repeat the flower of the first person. Then they throw the ball to someone else.

5. The third person names a flower, and then repeats the flowers of the second person, and the first. They then throw the ball to someone else and the game continues.

6. By this point, everyone in the circle should be focused on the list of flowers and listening. Make it a rule that you can repeat flowers but not twice in a row. (So you could have rose, carnation, daisy, rose, tulip, bluebell, violet, rose.)

7. Coach students to take their turn with purpose – don’t let them get into a “excuse mantra.” Keep everyone focused on the game and keeping the ball moving. Encourage others to help if someone gets in trouble with the list.

8. Discuss the exercise afterward. Was it easy or hard? Why? What was it like to listen to intently? How can good listening skills be of value during rehearsal or performance?

  • Colours
  • Food
  • Cities
  • First names/Last names
  • Numbers
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