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 disc based on the number instructed to you by your trainer.
What You Need
- Custom discs for each individual. These discs must be prepared based on a particular pattern to function correctly. This is explained below.
Before the Course:
- Each person must have a disc with the names of everyone written on it. This is how a disc is setup:
- Consider the total number of participants. Suppose this is N.
- Write numbers from 1 to N in a circular way on each disc.
- Write the name of each person on the centre of each disc. So now you have N personalised discs.
- Next, for each number write the name of another person so that on both persons discs, they are each other’s partners for that number. Here is an example of three discs for Peter, Jane and Adam.
- The best way to prepare these discs it to use a computer program and print the discs based on a list of names.*
During the Course:
- Distribute each person’s customised disc 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 discs 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: a, ß, ?, d, e, ?,…
UPDATE (APRIL 2013): The Clock Buddies Tool is now available.
We are pleased to announce that you can now use the Clock Buddies tool to generate the discs based on a list of names that you provide. The tool is free and you can use it to your heart's content. Access the Clock Buddies Tool here.
UPDATE (NOV 2022): Major Update Released for Clock Buddies Generator.
The random group maker can now be used to create unique groups of 3, 4 and 5 as well as for pairs. An array of customisations have been added along with various modes to help you create fun clock buddies discs and divide your class into breakout groups quickly.
Review a comprehensive set of applications and use cases for the clock buddies generator in the classroom, online, or even outside of a training environment such as sports and competitions.
The following video shows how the Clock Buddies Tool works.
By Kang @ Tuesday, September 6, 2011 10:13 AM
I am indeed interested in the computer programme to produce those disks.
Thanks a lot
By michael oliver @ Wednesday, September 7, 2011 3:00 PM
love it! Yes, I would be interested in the computer program!
By Liubov Sokir @ Wednesday, September 14, 2011 10:14 AM
Great! I' love to have this programme.
By K @ Saturday, September 17, 2011 2:47 PM
Would be great to know about the software programme that does that.
By lenka @ Saturday, October 15, 2011 4:49 PM
Yes, I would be interested in the computer program! Lenka
By Victor @ Monday, October 17, 2011 2:30 PM
Would be great ans helpful to know about & have the software programme that does that.
By Annamarie @ Friday, October 28, 2011 2:25 PM
Novel idea! Great for variety and delegates not always chosing he same people to partner with. Would love to have the software!
By Richard @ Sunday, December 4, 2011 1:13 AM
I am interested in the software as well.
By Cynthia @ Sunday, January 6, 2013 8:37 PM
I am very interested in having an oline version of this. Let me know if you get one developed.
By Linda @ Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:58 PM
Yes, please. I would be interested in the software.
By Chelsea Elm @ Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:36 PM
This is an announcement that the Clock Buddies Tool is now available for you to use. Please see the details and the link in the update above.
You can use it to generate all the disks based on a list of names. Please provide feedback on its use here or request any new features that you like to have.
By Malini Mogili @ Tuesday, April 16, 2013 5:21 PM
This activity is colourful and great..IT's innovative. Now's the time for us to say goodbye to the mundane partner finding act for the delegates.
Absolutely impressive and professional, it would be good to get the Computer generated discs.
By Chey Malay @ Monday, May 27, 2013 5:59 PM
Very interesting tool to pair up participants. I will use it in my session. I would suggest to generate tool for group of 4 or 5 as well.
By Alex Gregoric @ Monday, February 10, 2014 2:54 AM
I like the tool and I`m interested in generating a tool for groups of 3, 4, 5
And I have a question: how do I save the file in PDF format?
By Chelsea Elm @ Monday, February 10, 2014 11:58 AM
Thanks Alex for the suggestions.
As for PDF, you first need to generate the disks and then press Print Ready. Next use your browser to save to PDF. In Google chrome you can select print and then change destination to Save as PDF.
Hope this helps.
By Sheryl Cox @ Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:14 AM
Could you please provide a program that divides groups into 3 and 4?
By N McGrew @ Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:46 AM
This is a fantastic tool! I have over 60 students in various classes, and Clock Buddies is a super way to pair them/group them easily. Thanks!
By audrey halpern @ Saturday, May 30, 2015 3:46 AM
yes I would be very interested in the computer version
By Albert Allen @ Tuesday, August 4, 2015 4:01 PM
How do I print or export from the print ready page?
By Chelsea Elm @ Wednesday, August 5, 2015 10:51 AM
Albert, add the names and then press "Print Ready". You get a new window with the disks displayed. Next simply use the print function of your browser. For example, in Chrome, right click and select "print". You will then see a preview and you can print it or save it to PDF.
By Shirley Long @ Thursday, November 21, 2019 7:38 PM
This is a great tool. Would be great if it could do 30 at time, as that is the size of our classes. Groups of up to 4 and 5 would be great as well.
By Scott @ Thursday, September 15, 2022 11:37 PM
It would be great to be able to use 30 participants, if possible...
By Chelsea Elm @ Thursday, November 17, 2022 6:04 PM
We have released a major update for the Clock Buddies Generator. We have implemented many of your requests. The tool now supports many more participants and you can also divide the class into group sizes of 2, 3, 4 and 5. Plenty of customisation options are also included. Check out the Clock Buddies Generator and the detailed instructions on the same page to see how to use the new features.
As always, please let us know what you think of the software and what new features you like to see implemented.
Training Resources for You
Course Design Strategy
Available as paperback and ebook
Free Training Resources
Download a free comprehensive training package including training guidelines, soft skills training activities, assessment forms and useful training resources that you can use to enhance your courses.
Our Comprehensive Guide to Body Language
Train the Trainer Resources
Get Insights - Read Guides and Books - Attend Courses