Anyone leading meetings, presentations, or teams should be aware of Liberating Structures.
1, 2, 4, All is one of the best facilitation techniques in my toolbox.
Prepare 4 sets of 3 posters containing a large single word (see list below) and place them in 3 spots in the room with a cover sheet on top.
Each flip chart will have one of the words from each set in the same order.
- Army, Navy, Air Force
- Beach, Mountain, City
- Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry
- Dog, Cat, Other
Gather everyone in the middle of the room. Remove the cover sheets on each of the three flip charts to reveal the first set of words.
Instruction: Ask the group – how do these words relate to you? Pick the one that relates the most. You must pick one. No need to overthink it. It might be a direct relationship or something relating to your family, friends, or neighbors. Anything is OK. Move to that area, paying attention to who else has joined you there. Turn to someone in this group and share your reasons for making this choice.
Time box to 5 minutes.
Remove the top sheet to reveal the next set of words and repeat.
Timebox each round and do a final de-brief at the end.
“What did you learn about others in the room?”
“Was there anyone who was the same as you for all four rounds?”
“Are you aware of anyone who shared non of your choices?”
“Did any other patterns emerge?”
One of my favorites!
Played in a circle (minimum 9). You start in the middle to explain and begin the game. The goal is to get somebody to take your place. The game is played in rounds with an explanation of the rules before starting a new round. I usually timebox this game to 10-15 mins. This is great for tension relief in a group or for getting them prepared for an upcoming interactive session.
You approach someone in the circle and say either Bibbity-Bobbity-Bop or Bop. In order to avoid replacing you in the middle the person must respond as follows:
- If you say “Bibbity-Bobbity-Bop”, they must say “Bop” before you finish.
- If you just say “Bop”, they must say nothing.
Tip: Demonstrate and share that standing close to people makes them uncomfortable and likely to slip up.
Keep playing this round for a few turns allowing the person in the middle to be replaced with different players. Typically, somebody gets stuck and finds it difficult to get out. This is the time to step in and give them another method of getting someone in the circle to replace them.
As well as using the method from round one the person in the middle can say “James Bond 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.”
In addition, the players either side must adopt the position of bond girls who adoringly cry “Oh James, Oh James.”
Now you have three potential victims who may slip up and replace you in the circle.
Add “Elephant 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.” Keep rounds one and two as options also.
When challenged the player adopts the elephant position. The players either side form the elephant ears. All three must be in position before you finish counting to 10.
Add “Toaster 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.” Keeping everything else as before.
When challenged the player continuosly jumps up and down like a piece of toast ready in a toaster. The players either side face each other with their arms reaching out to form the body of the toaster around the jumping toast. Anyone not in position by the count of 10 is the new man in the middle.
When challenged the player adopts the shower pose and pirouettes on the spot. The players either side reach both hands across and in front of the showerer simulating the shower doors opening and closing.
If you are still going at this point here are some other adaptations you can try. Bibbity-Bobbity-Bop Additions
Participants form a circle around an object on the ground identified as the sun. Ask participants to move closer to or further from the sun dependent upon the accuracy of each statement.
- I live in King County
- I was born in Washington State
- I like my job
- This is the best job I ever had
- I like to work alone
- Hearing everyone’s viewpoint is important
- I like to have all the information before I get started
- I am OK with last minute changes
- Conflict makes me stronger
- I am always open to feedback
- Winning is important to me
- I seek out people who are different to me
- I email most of my communication
- I would rather lead than be led
- More hands make light work
- I am comfortable expressing my feelings
- I like to work with the same people most of the time
- I work harder than most people
- Good enough is never enough
- Pay people the best salaries and they will deliver the best product
Reflection/Processing: (Important! Be sure to ask several of these questions at the end of the activity.)
About which person did you learn the most? …the least?
Which people do you hope to get to know better? Why?
Which answer surprised you most?
Which person do you think/feel is most like you? Which seems least like you?
In what ways did this activity help you get acquainted with other group members?
If you were to lead this activity with another group, what will you do similarly or differently?
Use their images to start conversations. Watch team formation surface in powerful ways. Highly recommend this for every facilitators toolkit. Thanks to Sylvia Taylor for introducing me.
Unashamedly stolen from a session at Agile 2011. Great fun. Prepare to be amazed at the creativity and talent within your group.
Where have you been and what have you done since we last saw you?
A simple question which is great when building a new team. I have seen it used to great effect at the beginning of day two in a four day workshop. Team members from out of town and those more local get to share and hear a little more about their peers.