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.

How was class?

A "quick and dirty" evaluation activity.

In groups of three, people prepare a short (2 minute) role play based on this scenario:

It's the day after class. One person meets his/her two friends who attended class. S/he asks them, "How was class last night?", pressing them for details. The role play ends when the friend asks, "will you go to the class next week?" and the person replies.

Like in any role play, it helps to choose a specific place and time of day, so people can imagine a context for their meeting.

The Bad Interpreter

In this game, three people have a conversation with one person playing the role of interpreter. In fact all three are speaking the same language, but two pretend they do not understand each other, so they need the interpreter.

The interpreter's role in this game is to misinterpret everything the speakers say, producing the maximum of confusion and misunderstanding.


Person 1: I am very pleased to meet you.

Interpreter: He says, "what took you so long?"

Person 2: I am not late; I think our meeting was for 4pm and it is 4pm now?

"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.

Six degrees of curiosity

I adapted this from Sonya Huber's "Six Degrees" experiment. (She calls activities "experiments" which I like, in her great Backwards Research Guide for Writers; Augusto Boal calls them "games," emphasizing the element of play.)

The John Guare play "Six Degrees of Separation" popularized the idea that each person on the planet is connected to every other person by no more than five other people. Guare used the idea to examine the ties that bind each person to each other person and the play between our unity and our separation.

Broken Squares

Adapted from "Broken Squares": Preparing Students for Group Work, from Practicing Collaborative Learning, Maryann Feola Castelucci and Peter Miller, College of Staten Island, CUNY, Dept of English, Speech and World Literature, Winter 1986