Creativity in facilitation, and Just One Lie

IAF Europe February 2013Last week I read the latest February issue of the IAF (International Association of Facilitators) Europe magazine. Gillian Martin Mehers, in her article Workshop Games Everywhere, writes of how she found herself creating a new workshop activity from an unexpected source of inspiration, in order not to fall back on repeating familiar exercises with a group with which she works regularly. In this case she drew on questions she found in the ‘Proust Interview’ in Vanity Fair magazine.

I was reminded of an experience of my own of a couple of years ago, preparing to lead a rare 3-day face-to-face meeting of the IAF global Board, after almost half of it’s members had been newly elected. In this case I was looking for some activity or activities to break the ice and help us all get to know each other better, but also to enable me to punctuate a long and intense meeting with some moments of light relief.  I ended up adapting the well-known icebreaker ‘two truths and a lie’ to create an activity that I could return to throughout the meeting. I was sufficfiently pleased with the result that I wrote up the exercise for the IAF Methods Database, and I thought it might bear repeating here (see below).  See what you think!

I find the IAF an endless and invaluable source of creative inspiration for my own practice as a facilitator – the magazine and newsletters, the conferences and events, and of course the many creative members that contribute to them. Gillian is a great example, as you will see also in her own blog You Learn Somthing New Every Day.

If you find yourself stuck for inspiration some time, you may indeed find inspiration in the most unexpected places.  If you don’t, you could do worse than browse the hundreds of activities contributed to the IAF Methods Database for ideas!

Just One Lie

Have one-half a flipchart page and a pad of post-its for each individual in the meeting.  At the start, have each participant write their name at the top of their flipchart page and hang it on the wall.  Then have each individual put the names of all of their colleagues on post-its, one name per post-it.

  1. At the start of the session, ask the group to mingle, asking one another questions to get acquainted, such as “What sports do you like?” “Where do you like to take your holidays?” “What is your favorite food?”; or about their career, such as “How did you get into facilitation”, “When you do join IAF”, “What was your greatest  facilitation achievement?”; or about the meeting, such as “What is your worst fear for this meeting?”.  Or just ask for one fact they would like to share with the group.
  2. Tell the participants, “For every person you meet, put their name and one fact you have learned about them onto the post-it with their name.  As you meet every person in the group, you should accumulate a post-it for each person.
  3. “However, as you answer questions about yourself, please ensure that one (and only one) answer you give is a lie, something entirely not true of you.”
  4. When everyone has accumulated one fact post-it about everyone else, have participants distribute the post-its onto each individual’s flipchart pages.
  5. Introduce yourself by reading out the flip chart page with your own name and facts, and then invite the group to guess which is a lie.  Use a red marker to identify tick every true fact until the lie is revealed, then a cross to identify that.
  6. Next, introduce another participant in the same way.  When the lie is revealed, it is their turn to select and introduce another.
  7. As the meeting proceeds, start sessions and end breaks with the last person introduced to select and introduce another
  8. By the end of the meeting everyone should have been introduced, and all but one have introduced another.  Then you can celebrate the success of the person whose lie took the most guesses to reveal

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