Suppose you want to pair up your delegates. The usual way is that you just give a simple instruction such as “partner with the person on your left”. What if in another exercise you want to pair them up again but this time with a different partner? You probably need to give a different instruction and devise a new pattern. If you have many exercises to go through, perhaps in a multi-day course, it can quickly become confusing to come up with new patterns. The usual instruction at this point becomes “find a partner you have not worked with so far” with the inevitable inefficiency as people would spend some time figure out who to go to.
It makes sense to have an easy system to find new partners for different exercises. The method presented here will facilitate this process.
Find a partner using your disk based on the number instructed to you by your trainer.
What You Need
- Custom disks for each individual. These disks must be prepared based on a particular pattern to function correctly. This is explained below.
Before the Course:
- Each person must have a disk with the names of everyone written on it. This is how a disk is setup:
- Consider the total number of participants. Suppose this is N.
- Write numbers from 1 to N in a circular way on each disk.
- Write the name of each person on the centre of each disk. So now you have N personalised disks.
- Next, for each number write the name of another person so that on both persons disks, they are each other’s partners for that number. Here is an example of three disks for Peter, Jane and Adam.
- The best way to prepare these disks it to use a computer program and print the disks based on a list of names.*
During the Course:
- Distribute each person’s customised disk to them.
- Explain how the setup works. Use an example: “Find your number 7 partner”
- Now expect each person to lookup the person under number 7 on their disks and then partner with them.
- That’s it! Next time, choose a different number and everyone will quickly and efficiently find a different partner.
Explaining the Exercise: 15 minutes before the course
Activity: 1 minute
Group Feedback: 0 minutes
You can use names rather than numbers as labels for each pair combination. You can select these names based on the topic under consideration to further add meaning to a specific activity. Examples:
- Continents: Europe, Antarctica, America, Asia,…
- Colours: Red, Black, Green, Yellow,…
- Greek Alphabet: α, β, γ, δ, ε, ζ,…
* If you are interested in a computer program that automatically produces these disks, please let us know in the comments section below. If there is enough demand for this we will consider providing it to you and will notify those who commented by email when the software is available.
UPDATE (APRIL 2013): The Clock Buddies Tool is now available.
We are pleased to announce that you can now use the free Clock Buddies tool to generate the disks based on a list of names that you provide. You can access the Clock Buddies Tool here. You need to login first before you can use the tool.
The following video shows how the Clock Buddies Tool works.