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Simon Says Listening, Multitasking, Exercise and Energizer

Brief Description/Purpose

You'll probably be familiar with this childhood game, that can be used as an energizer, or as a communication exercise. It's simple, fast, fun.


Physical activity

Age Appropriate

Children, Teens, Adults

Ideal Group Size

Any size

Time For Exercise

Five minutes or longer depending on debrief and discussion.


Communication, listening, multi-tasking

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Tell the group that they need to listen to whatever you say and do accordingly.

Then tell them a few things like stretch your right arm, touch your knee etc and while saying these instructions, do them yourself. Most participants will look at what you are doing rather than listen to what you are saying.

After a few instructions, tell them that they need to touch their cheek but make sure that with your actions you have touched your chin. Most participants will touch their chin instead of the cheek. 

Here are some questions you can use to debrief.

So what happened? Why did some of you get it wrong? Or right?

What does this say about having too many things to pay attention to when listening or doing any task?

Did you notice how many people paid much more attention to watching than to listening? Why do you think that's the case? (Note: The answer is that we tend to put more emphasis on the visual (i.e body language, sight) that on what's heard when the two CONFLICT. Tons of research on that by Meharabian)

When listening to someone, are there any strategies to put in place so you don't get confused or mislead by paying attention to the "wrong" things?