Leadership Inspirations Activities

Interference

Groups must try to successfully communicate messages to each other through interference

Duration

10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Game, Experiential Activity

Materials

2 x 30 Ft Ropes, Whistle

 

SUMMARY

Groups must try to successfully communicate messages to each other through interference. They will explore different ways of communicating and understanding each other.

SET UP

  • Create a playing area by laying two 30-foot long ropes on the ground parallel to each other. The ropes should be at least 30 feet apart. If the group is large (100+) you will need longer ropes and the ropes will need to be further apart to accommodate the size of the group. If you don’t have rope you can use tape, chalk, cones etc.
  • Divide the large group into three equal smaller groups. Group A will be the “Message Senders”, Group B will be the “Message Interferers” and Group C will be the “Message Receivers”.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Group A has 20 seconds to transmit a specific message to Group C.
  • Group B (the message interferers) must prevent Group C from receiving the message successfully.
  • At the end of 20 seconds, everyone must be silent and Group C will share the message they received. Groups A and C win if it is the exact same message sent by Group A. If Group C has only part (or none) of the message, Group B (the message interferers) wins.
  • Only verbal communication may be used to send the message. No communication aids can be used: no texting, signs etc.
  • Each group must stay behind their lines and cannot travel into any other zone.
  • This activity gets VERY loud. Make sure you won’t disturb others when you play this game.

 

  • Round 1
    • After all is set and everyone understands the objective and rules, the facilitator will secretly show Group A (the message senders) the message, which is: “A friend is a present you give yourself.” Prepare this message ahead of time and write it on white paper using a black marker in large easy to read print. Do not let the other teams see the message!
    • Allow the message senders 20 to 30 seconds to prepare a plan and then blow your whistle! After 20 seconds blow your whistle again and get everyone to stop so you can hear what the message receivers heard. You will repeat this process for each round.
  • Round 2
    • Prepare for round # 2 by asking Group A to move to the center playing area where they will now be message interferers. Group B moves to the message receiving area and Group C moves to the message sending area. The message to be sent during round two is: “You don’t have to try, you just have to be.”
  • Round 3
    • Prepare for round # 3 by asking Group C to move to the center playing area where they will now be message interferers. Group A moves to the message receiving area and Group B moves to the message sending area. The message to be sent during round three is: “The quieter you become the more you can hear.”
    • It’s important for each group to rotate into each of the positions (sender, interferer, receiver) so everyone has an experience of each position.
  • Facilitator Notes:
    • The Message Interferers will usually yell like wild animals and direct their yelling at either the Message Senders or the Message Receivers (or both). The Interferers may jump up and down and wave their arms so as to act as a further distraction.
    • Message Senders that are successful will tend to plan their efforts and yell their message as a unified group. They may also accurately act out the saying.

VARIATIONS

  • Our “messages” for the three rounds are just suggestions, you can use any phrases you would like!
  • With larger groups you may want to give them more time to send the message – – maybe 30 seconds.

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Feedback

  • Why is feedback important? What kind of feedback is important?
  • What does constructive/effective feedback look like?
  • How did positive/negative/or no feedback affect your success?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?

Teambuilding

  • When has your group worked well together in the past? When have they not worked well together?
  • When has (something that happened in the activity) happened in the past with your group?
  • What habits or actions make a successful or effective team? What does your group do well as a team? What are your group’s opportunities for growth when working together?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?

*Leadership Lesson*

If your group is going through the Adjourning stage, try some of these activities to help your group transition and adjust: