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Communication Exercise: Chinese Whisper

Communication Exercise: Chinese Whisper


Purpose

This exercise highlights the importance of confirming the information we receive from either our colleagues or clients. This activity is designed for groups of at least 8 delegates or more.

Objective

The objective of this exercise is for delegates to deliver the information they receive to another person with the least amount of alterations.

What You Need

  • Two folded sheets of paper for each group with one of the following statements written on each paper:
    • Case 1: “Never let your inferior do you a favour, it will be extremely costly.”
    • Case 2: “Morality like art, means drawing a line in someplace”
  • A blank piece of paper and a pen for each group

Setup

  • Split the group into teams of 4 or 5 delegates. Participants in each team should sit in a circle, facing each other.
  • A member from each team is given the folded sheet for Case 1.

Case 1

  • The member with the sheet is asked to whisper the sentence written on the sheet in the ear of the person on his/her right.
  • The second person then whispers what he has heard in the ears of the person on his right.
  • This process is repeated and the last person in the circle has to write down what he has heard on the blank piece of paper, fold it and hold on to it.

Case 2

  • Now give the Case 2 to one member of each team and ask the delegates to repeat this process again only this time, each participant has to repeat what he or she has heard in the ear of the person who just whispered it to him to ensure the sentence stays intact.
  • At the end of the exercise, those delegates who have written the sentences on their paper, read out aloud their writings and the final sentences are compared to the original sentence.

Timing

Explaining the Test: 5 minutes.

Activity: 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes.

Discussion

How accurate was the final sentence in each round? Did confirming the quote before whispering it helped the accuracy of the sentence? How easy is it to misinterpret or change the meaning of a piece of information?