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Storytelling Exercise: Form a Line

Storytelling Exercise: Form a Line


Purpose

This is a creativity exercise that encourages delegates to create a story together as a group. It is ideal for team building, acting and creativity. You can also modify the exercise to limit its scope to match specific training needs. For example, the nature of the story can be limited to current affairs so that the focus is on journalism. Alternatively, you can limit it for marketing, branding or creative story telling.

Objective

Complete a story from beginning to the end in successive steps.

What You Need

  • A4 cards.
  • Marker pens.
  • An empty space where delegates can easily form a line while holding their cards in their hands.

Setup

  • Give one card to each person.
  • Explain that the objective of the exercise is about creating a story collectively. Explain any rules or restrictions on the nature of the story they can make as per your training requirements.
  • Ask for a volunteer to start.
  • Ask the person to think of a declarative statement that suggests the beginning of a story and write this on the card. It should be written in large hand writings so that the statement can be read from a distance. As such, the statement cannot be too long. Here are some examples for opening the story:
    • “I left the house.”
    • “I was sitting on the train when I noticed an advert.”
    • “I booked the round-the-world ticket.”
  • Ask the person to stand in one corner of the room while holding the card up so everyone can see and read the statement.
  • Now ask for the next volunteer. This person should think of a statement that indicates the end of the story considering the current beginning and write it on a card. Examples are:
    • “I closed the door to my office; I had enough!”
    • “And that’s how I won the most prestigious award in the industry.”
    • “We were sitting around the campfire, watching the sunset.”
  • Ask the person to stand in the other corner of the room while holding the card up for others to see.
  • Explain that the objective is to form a line between the two delegates standing and make a complete story from beginning to end.
  • Ask for the next person to participate. This person should think of a statement that fits between the beginning and the end.
  • The next person should think of another piece of the story that fits somewhere between any two people in the line.
  • The delegates should then continue until everyone has participated and a full story is created.
  • Once all are lined up, ask each person to read his own card starting from the beginning of the line all the way to the end so that the entire story is heard in one go.
  • Bring delegates back together and follow with a discussion.

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 30 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes

Discussion

What did you think of this story? How creative or freeing was the process? How did contribution by multiple people help design the story in a novel way?