Sometimes the most important part of a meeting or event is making contacts, networking. This activity uses the format of a personals ad to have people introduce themselves and quickly identify people they wish to get to know.

The format is simple. On an index card, people write:

  • Name:
  • Attributes:*
  • Turn-ons: **
  • Turn-offs: **
  • Seeking:***

    *This means relevant information about you for the purposes of this event, e.g., in a meeting of labor activists, your union affiliation or other organization, etc. People should feel free to play with this, though.

"Well, why didn't you say so?"

A playful communication exercise.

Participants each write a sentence on a sheet of paper: e.g. "I am hungry" "It looks like rain." "Obama wants to bomb Syria."

When all are done, they pass the paper to the next person, who writes another sentence that says the same thing as the first: e.g., "I want to eat something" "It's going to rain." "The president is talking about attacking Syria." Pass again, and so on, until there are ten sentences, or the paper gets back to the original writer.

Second thoughts.

Second Thoughts.
Write a one sentence position you feel strongly about, a principle.
Then, write a "second thought" on the same subject. It should be a thought that you feel is valid to some extent.
Then, question that second thought, and so on until you have gone back and forth ten times.
At the end, repeat the initial sentence.
This activity should reveal the complexity of seemingly settled positions, making the writer think about her views.


  • I don't cross picket lines.

What is ... ?

Another surrealist game from Alastair Brotchie. This one involves the random creation of definitions.

What is...?

Each player writes a question on this pattern: "What is ----?" (e.g., "What is solidarity?")

The players each fold down their papers so the questions are concealed and pass their papers to the next player who writes a definition on this pattern: "It is ----" (e.g., "It is a scream in the night." or "It is the final resting place of our dreams.")

If/Would, When/Will

The first technique is from Alastair Brotchie's collection of surrealist games. The second is a variation on the first. Like all such games, it is important to play them freely, without concern about "making a good one" or being clever. If the players feel free, the results can sometimes be remarkable. We are used to trying to work together rationally, these games ask us to work together irrationally, creatively.


In pairs or a group: each person writes the first clause of a sentence, beginning with "If", on this pattern: