Non-verbal Communication

Objectives

  • To practice communicating without words to become a stronger team

Materials

FOLLOW THE LEADER

  • None

TRUST WALK

  • Random small objects (e.g., lollipops, pencils, water bottles)

Prepare Before

Varies by activity.


Experience

Choose 1 (or more!) of the following activities:

 

FOLLOW THE LEADER (10 MINUTES)

Assemble participants into a circle (facing in). Ask for a volunteer to be the guesser. This person will then step out of the room and out of earshot. Once that person is outside, pick someone in the group to be the leader. Her or his role is to lead the group without the guesser figuring out that he or she is the leader. Have the leader start a motion that everyone else must follow (e.g., clapping hands, waving, rubbing belly). Once everyone is doing the motion, ask the guesser to come back in and stand in the middle of the circle by the guesser, and try to guess who is initiating the motions. The leader must change motions when they think that they are unobserved. The rest of the group tries to follow as quickly as possible to make it harder to guess who is leading. Once the person in the middle guesses correctly, repeat the process with a new guesser and leader.

Debrief: What does this say about leadership? Is it always easy to tell who is leading? Ask participants to think of examples of leaders who led by supporting others and keeping a group focused. Are there other different kinds of leaders?

 

TRUST WALK (10 MINUTES)

This activity focuses on understanding aspects of effective communication. Before session, prepare a clear, safe area for this activity and gather objects for participants to collect (e.g., lollipops, pencils, water bottles). Place participants in pairs or small groups, and have one member put on a blindfold. Once a member of every pair or group is blindfolded, place the objects randomly around the area. The blindfolded person must gather as many objects as possible, solely based on the verbal instructions provided by his or her partner(s). “Seeing” partners cannot touch the blindfolded person or the objects and can only communicate verbally.

Variation: Take away the verbal communication – the seeing partners can no longer talk but can make sounds.

Debrief: Stress the importance of safety while also taking positive risks. After participants complete the activity, discuss why they did or did not trust their partner when they were being led. What would have made them trust each other more? What communication methods worked and what didn’t for the group? What was difficult for the individual who had to complete the task? What was difficult for the group? What aspects of communication did this exercise demonstrate?