Active listening – Activity 7

Motivate interviewing questions

Activity type:
Role playing

Learning goals:
This paraphrasing exercise not only aims to successfully rephrase what is being said but also motivate the client further his/her revelations about what preoccupies him/her and his/her emotions concerning this issue. By encouraging the client to talk, the client is helped to make an informed decision about what action or plan of actions suit him/her best and solve any dilemmas or indecision matters he/she may have.

The activity can be done individually, but it works better in groups.

45 minutes

Materials needed:
List of 10 statements (available on the platform/ pdf)


Read carefully each of the statements and try to paraphrase its content writing down a motivating interviewing question.

In case you work in pairs, take the role of the client and express the statements given one by one. The person next to you takes the role of the practitioner and tries to paraphrase what is being communicated by you (as a client) by using a motivating interviewing question. Change roles (choose 5 statements each person to practice as practitioner)


Client: I would like to get a higher position in my organisation.

Practitioner: Are you saying that you would like more responsibilities?


1) I feel insecure by working on my own because my income is not steady

2) I don’t know if I will make it by taking this job offer that entails that I reach a more demanding-almost double- sales goal

3) Neither choice satisfies me. I have to look for something new.

4) Studying finance will lock me up working in an office and I like travelling

5) Working after graduation is a very good option but I have a thirst for learning.

6) People say that working as a secretary does not have that much demand anymore. But this is what I am skillful at.

7) I want to make my own family but I do not make enough to do the step.

8) Divorcing will create too many financial difficulties for me.

9) I am not in the mood to go to work. I am bored.

10) I don’t like anything. I don’t know what to study.

Questions for reflection:
  • Have you managed to make the right Motivate interviewing questions?
  • Was it easy for everyone to use the right questions?
  • As a client, do you think that the practitioner used the right questions?
  • What are your feelings over the process?