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.

Participants then take turns reading the sentences aloud; the original writer chooses which sentence "best" states her/his feeling.


Do the above, then have people pair up with one person playing the speaker, the other the poor listener. Speaker reads first sentence, listener says, "What?" (Or "I'm sorry?" "What's that?" "What do you mean?" etc) Each time the original person has to state the same thing in a different way. When the speaker gets to the end of the list, s/he repeats the final sentence and the poor listener finally understands, exclaiming, "Well, why didn't you say so?!"

Note: this should be playful and loose, so some repetition of words from the first sentence is fine. The idea is to mimic something that we often experience: failure to successfully communicate.