Team members are spread out in a line, consisting of several sections. The first person is shown an picture by the facilitator and must then pass tell the next person what it is, this continues until the last person receives the description and they must then attempt to recreate the picture. The aim is to try and match the original picture shown by the facilitator. This is a much bigger version of Chinese whispers, similar to Memory Lane.
Equipment Required: Paper, pens, cones and clipboards
Space Required: Large. Delivered indoors or outdoors.
Group Size: 8 to 16 ideally (if you have larger groups split them into smaller sub-groups)
Total Time: 25-40 minutes
- 5 minutes to brief and set up
- 15-30 minutes for challenge
- 5 minutes to review and debrief
Human Chain Team Building Instructions
- Split participants into teams of up to eight. Each teams of participants is divided into pairs. Each pair is then given a role within the team:
- Communicator/s (for larger groups increase the number of pairs)
- Spread the teams apart in multiple linear sections laid out with cones. Ensure these section are a fair distance from each other (aim for 20 metre if possible).
- To begin the challenge, you must draw a simple picture, the team observers are then given a period of time to observe before running to the first section and communicator/s to describe the picture. The first set of communicators then run to the second section and pass on the information to the second set of communicators. They in turn, run to the drawers who after listening carefully then try to recreate and match the picture drawn by the facilitator.
Tips and guidance
Start by drawing a memorable picture e.g. a house with three windows and make the next round harder e.g. a series of geometric shapes. You can also search the internet for images and print these off for the group to recreate e.g. type ‘simple house drawing’ into your search engine and use image preview to identify a suitable image.
To increase the difficulty of the challenge, increase the number of sections (communicators) you have or give the team a set time limit to complete the challenge.
If you have more than eight participants you have a two options you can increase the number of sections (communicators) or split the team into two or more groups. When working with two or more groups, start them off at the same time and show each teams observers the same image, the team that comes closest to matching the original image, wins the challenge.
When reviewing discuss with the group: the different forms of communication used such as verbal and listening and their importance. Also talk about what the team found frustrating and how they dealt with this.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Problem solving
- Communication (verbal, non-verbal and listening skills)
Suggested questions for review:
Did you have a plan before starting the challenge? Why was this important?
Did your plan work?
Did you get frustrated at all during the challenge? How did you deal with this?
Did you communicate effectively from the start? How did you manage this?
How did you work as a team? What did you do well?
What did you learn from this exercise?