"And what happened to you when you felt betrayed?" "It made my head spin. It felt like I was going to be sick." "And what happened to your presentation?" "I couldn't speak. It was like the words would not come out." Lonny alternated between anger and relief as he complained about how awful it felt to be ignored by his classmates. The communication lesson was being given by the strongest person in the room, the young man who had volunteered to give a two-minute presentation to an audience who had been rude and ignored him. Riccardo acknowledged, "Lonny. Thank you for giving us a most powerful lesson about what can happen when the audience ignores you," Riccardo acclaimed Lonny, "You are a bold, courageous, young man who deserves to be listened to. You explained the point of the lesson much better than I could have done." Lonny returned to his seat, stopping to bump fists with several classmates on the way. He sat down with a thump and turned to glare at Riccardo. Speaking to the whole class, Riccardo asked, "Do you want to continue the game?" They did! "This time, whoever comes in, there are two of them, remember, we are going to love them, we are going to be attentive, we are going to listen to every word they say, we’re going to be encouraging, and we’re not going to get caught doing it. The game is to encourage them without them noticing we are doing it. Are you ready?" They were. Riccardo invited the second volunteer in. Joseph walked in, keeping his eyes on Riccardo as he walked up to where he was going to give his short presentation. Riccardo said, "Okay Joseph, you’ve got two minutes, away you go." 66
Joseph began talking about his weekend, "I went to the match this weekend, with my dad and my uncle. It was great," he smiled grandly, the audience smiled back, his eyes widened. His voice grew as he continued, "We got seats right behind the goal, you could see everything like you was the goalie …" and he enthusiastically continued the story for a full two minutes. Riccardo interrupted and said, "Okay, Joseph, you are done; we have heard enough." As Joseph moved to take his place among his classmates, Riccardo added, "Joseph, we have something to tell you; we’ve been playing a game with you. Did you notice?" No, Joseph had not noticed they were playing a game. "How did it feel to give the presentation?" asked Riccardo. Joseph beamed, "It felt great; everyone was listening." The other students all laughed. Joseph looked puzzled. "Lean in," encouraged the voice. "Dig a little deeper." "Tell us more." "It felt like whatever I said, everyone was interested. I felt strong. I was nervous at the start because you know, you were gonna give some feedback or something, but it got easier." "What made it easy?" enquired Riccardo. "Everyone was listening" "Right, they were. We were also playing a game, that's why they laughed." Riccardo rounded off this part of the game by saying, "I will tell you the game we were playing after we have played with the third volunteer. Please join in and we will talk about it afterwards." Joseph walked back to his place, bemused by what had just happened. "Follow through, complete the game," reminded the voice. 67
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