Presence exercise: What I need to say…


• Helping participants to become more present
• Practice listening and awareness skills


In pairs participants share with each other what they need to say to be fully present. The sharing participant’s exact words are then mirrored back to them by his/her partner.

Time: 5 – 10 minutes

Number of participants: In pares or triads

Game flow:

Ask the group to divide in pairs or triads. Tell them that each person will get a turn to tell their partner/s what they need to say to be fully present. They should start their sentence with “what I need to say to be fully present is….” Their partner must then mirror their exact words back to them by starting their sentence with “I hear that what you have to say to be fully present is…” The person mirroring then may ask whether he/she heard correctly. The Sharing person may then add detail that the mirroring person missed or mirrored incorrectly. The mirroring person then without apologising mirrors the bits that they missed. When the sharing person is happy that the mirroring person got everything they thank their partner by saying “Thank you for listening” and the mirroring partner replies with “Thank you for sharing”.


Ask them to share any thought or feeling that is pulling them either into the past or the future that is preventing them from being present. They only have to share what they are comfortable sharing with the other person.
It is important that the person mirroring does not give an interpretation of what they heard, but try to use the exact same words as far as possible. The other person in the group can then add if any detail was not mirrored back to the speaker. The exercise is not so much about saying what you need to say to be present, but being listened to fully without judgement.
Demonstrate using a personal example. Not only will this help the participants to understand the exercise better but it will help you to feel more present and build trust between you and the participants.

Debrief questions:

• How did you experience the exercise?
• How was your listening different than usual?
• What did it feel like being listened to like this?
• Did this exercise help you to become more present?
• Why or why not?


When we listen to people like this we help them to become fully present. In essence, what we are doing is accepting them and showing them that they are welcome and worth being listened to. And as you focus and listen to the other person you also become more present. So it is being listened to as well as listening that helps one to become more present. This exercise was adopted from Imago relationship therapy, a style of dialogue aimed at restoring connection between partners ,by guiding them to the present moment. It was developed by American psychologist, Harville Hendrix.

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