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Me, Myself, and I

This is… A story-telling activity that forces participants to communicate about anything except themselves.

The purpose is… Participants see how often their communication is centered on themselves.

Use this when…

  •  Individuals need to improve their communication skills to focus less on self and more on others.
  •  Individuals need to focus on listening skills.
  •  Individuals need to practice creativity (around communication techniques).
  •  You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate.

Materials you’ll need… No materials are necessary for this activity.

Here’s how…

  1.  Have participants pair up.
  2.  One partner begins by speaking for 3 minutes nonstop. He must continue talking, no pauses.
  3.  He may speak about any topic or several topics.
  4.  He may never use the word “I”.
  5.  The listening partner may not speak at all, not even to ask questions or say “uh-huh”.
  6.  After his 3 minutes, reverse roles, and repeat.

Ask these questions…

  •  Which role was easier for you, the speaker or the listener? Why?
  •  How did you feel listening without being able to ask questions or contribute your own thoughts? (Left out, less connected, more focused on the speaker etc)
  • How did you feel speaking without being able to check in with your listener? (Worried that he was not understanding or did not care, uncomfortable with the attention and focus etc.)
  • How difficult or easy was it to keep talking non-stop? Why?
  • What creative ways did you find to talk about yourself without using “I”?
  • How can we phase out our communications to focus better on the other person?
  • What implications does this have for us back on the job?

Tips for success…

  •  Be prepared to demonstrate a portion of a 2-minute monologue without using “I” if the group demands it. Have the group try to catch  you using an “I”.
  •  Give a 30-second warning before the play ends.

Try these variations…

  •  Add a get-to-know-you element by having them determine who is the first speaker and listener by who is the oldest, who lives furthest from your location, who has the next birthday, the cutest pet, the most physically fit, and so forth.
  • Extend the speaking time to 5 minutes to make it more difficult.
  • Add competitiveness by allowing the listeners to gain two points for each time the speaker says “I” and one point when they pause more than 5 seconds. Be prepared with small prizes for the winner(s). During the Debrief, ask how the competitiveness impacted the activity.

 

 

Date of publication: 2004

Publisher: AMACOM

Author: Brian Cole Miller

Source: Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers Brian Cole Miller AMACOM, 2004 0-8144-7201

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