This exercise is ideal for teams with new additions to them. Sometimes it takes a while for teams to get used to their new members and the same is true for the new addition. Joining an already existing team of people can be intimidating. This exercise helps bringing all team members, old and new together by providing them with a shared experience.
Ask the delegates a question related to the content of the course that generates a number of options. Write these suggested options on a flipchart and number them from 1 to N. Next, state that you want to demonstrate your telepathic skills.
You want delegates to choose their preferred option and you are going to guess their choice using your telepathic skills! At this point you will have everyone’s attention as this sounds like a magic trick and people are often keen to participate in them.
Next, you ask for a volunteer to come forward to assist in the exercise. You turn your back to delegates and they are supposed to select their preferred option among themselves silently. They should then let the volunteer know about their option. Your back is to them, so you are unable to see their communication with each other or with the volunteer.
Next, you ask delegates to remain silent as you are going to use your telepathic powers. You ask them to mentally think about the choice and have the number in their mind so you can pick up their “brain signals” as you go through the next phase.
You start by putting your finger on number 1, then slowly move it to 2, then 3 and so on until you suddenly stop on a number and state that this is their choice.
Amazingly, you have made the correct choice and everyone is shocked!
This trick works every time, but how? See the setup instructions to find out how to carry out the magic trick.
Find out how the trainer performs the telepathic magic trick.
What You Need
The essence of this exercise is that you setup the new member to play a crucial role in this activity which will help you read the delegates’ choice. Others don’t know about this until you reveal it to them.
Once you reveal the method, the new member becomes an instant hero leading to stronger bonding between the team members. Hence, this exercise is ideal for delegates who are from the same organisation. You can also run it for a group that don’t know each other and use it as an icebreaker (in this case the choice of the new member doesn’t matter). Here is how to go through this exercise:
- Well before the exercise, separate the new member from others so you can give specific instructions. You can do this during a break and in a way that others don’t become suspicious.
- Explain the exercise to the new member.
- When you start the magic trick exercise and ask for a volunteer, he should come forward as a volunteer before anyone else has a chance to do this (in case multiple people volunteered, you will choose the new member casually).
- While going through the exercise, he is supposed to observe the delegates’ choice so he can confirm at the end if you, the trainer, has made the right choice. The crucial point is that the new member is instrumental in letting you know the correct choice. When he comes forward, he must bring a pen with him. He should casually hold this pen in this hand. As you are going down the list one by one, he should drop the pen on the option which is just before the correct answer. The drop should look quite casual and accidental. He should then pick up the pen casually. You can easily read this signal and will know that the next choice is the correct answer. Since there is a bit of a time gap before the main choice and the signal, it further reduces the likelihood of discovery by other delegates.
- Once you have completed the exercise, delegates will be eager to know how you did it. It is best if you do this exercise just before a break so they can think it over and have more discussions about it.
- After the break, you can reveal the method and explain that the new member was crucial in the execution of this exercise. The experience will bring the whole group closer together.
- Make sure you explain the trick before moving on to other parts of the course to minimise distraction.
Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes
Activity: 5 minutes
Group Feedback: 0 minutes
Instead of using the pen signal, you can use other signals that indicate the correct option. Be as creative as you like. Here are some examples:
- Coughing or sniffing (can be a bit of a cliché as it is overused)
- Sudden movement
- Taking glasses off and then putting them back on
- For ladies, tying their hair