How We See Things – Team Building Activity

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Overview

In this activity, participants get an opportunity to reflect on how they see things.

Resources:

  • Paper and pencils/pens for each participant.
  • For small groups, 1 photo per person and individual seating.
  • For large groups, 1 photo per 4 to 6 participants and group seating.

Space Required: Can be indoors or outdoors.

Group Size:  Small to large.

Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 5 minutes for the introduction and card dispersal
  • 15 minutes for the activity – Part 1
  • 5 minutes for the activity – Part 2
  • 15 minutes to review and debrief

Prerequisite: None

Set Up

  • Participants need to have space to comfortably sit and write, a paper and pen/pencil.

Running the Activity

  • Explain the activity:  Give each individual, or each group, a photo or postcard face down.
  • Have them turn the card over and, without consulting anyone else, write eight short sentences/statements about what they see on the card (15 minutes)
  • Then, talk about the following three categories: 1) Objective statements (OS)– a fact about the photo (the woman is wearing a red dress); 2) Judgment (J) – a value given by you to the actions in the photo (the woman’s red dress is too short); and 3) Conclusions (C) – something inferred by the photo (the woman must be hot in that long-sleeved dress).
  • Have the participants assign a J (judgment), C (conclusion) or OS (objective statement) by each of their eight statements.
  • For a small group, share one individual at a time addressing their choices and the debrief questions below.  For a large group, have participants share in groups of two or three followed by a shorter large group debrief.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Values
  • Judgments
  • Assumptions
  • Conflict Management
  • Cultural Diversity

Activity Guidance and Notes
This activity presents a great opportunity to have participants get to know each other on a deeper level.  It works in many different size rooms, and outdoors as well.  It is scalable to small and large groups and requires only enough space for participants to sit, write and share.  Because of the level of disclosure and emotional trust required, this is not suggested as an opening activity but sequenced later in a training program once trust has been established.

Review

Suggested questions to ask:

  • What objective statements did you make about your photo?
  • What conclusions and judgments did you make about your photo?
  • What do you think led you your conclusions and judgments?
  • Which of the three statements was most natural for you?
  • Of the eight statements, how many were OS, J and C?
  • What can be gained/lost by making conclusions and judgments vs. objective statements?
  • Have you ever made a statement that you thought was objective and was received as a judgment/conclusion?
  • Did anything from your background, your experience or your culture lead you to a conclusion/judgment?

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