Active and deep listening is a skill in which most of us can always use more practice. Good library reference service requires the ability to listen carefully and completely. And sometimes that means avoiding the tendency to prematurely start answering a question before it has been fully articulated.
Effective leadership requires the ability to listen without jumping to conclusions. And productive teams are those in which members can listen as well as contribute.
This game helps develop skills of listening completely. In this game, you simply cannot prepare a response until you've fully heard your partner.
How to play
Two players are given a situation. It doesn't have to be library related, but it can be. They begin having a conversation. However, each player must repeat the last line spoken by the other player before adding to the conversation. (Repeating the line can include minor paraphrases to make pronouns match, etc.). This game is more challenging, and interesting, if players use statements rather than questions.
Example (Keep in mind, this is not supposed to be a model reference interview. The rules of the game are too limiting for that. And besides, what fun would that be?)
Scenario: a frustrated student approaches a librarian Player one: My professor told me to talk to you about my research topic. Player two: Your professor told you to talk to me about your research topic. Your professor must have sent you here for a reason. Perhaps you are struggling to find information on your topic. Or perhaps you Googled your topic and turned in the first five results as your bibliography. Player one: I Googled my topic and turned in the first five results as my bibliography. It seems good enough to me. I don't know why I should have to learn all this research when all I really want to do with my life is to be a trapeze artist. Player two: You want to be a trapeze artist... [and the scene continues]
Variation Instead of repeating the last line spoken, the player must begin his/her response by starting with the last word spoken by the previous player.