The Activity

Three Wise MonkeysAs I’ve explained before, when creating an interactive presentation it really doesn’t matter what you do as an opening activity. The point is to get the audience up, moving around and interacting with each other. In this regard it serves as an icebreaker. It also becomes the foundation for your debriefing process. So in this post I’m going to create an activity that is relatively absurd and use it as the foundation for all future posts about creating an interactive presentation.

In my last post I threw out the activity of standing back to back with a partner then turning and making one of the three monkey poses (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil). That was a spur of the moment inspiration as I wrote that post. I’m going to take that concept and turn it into our opening activity. This is a slight variation because I’ve given the original inspiration some additional thought.

Instruction: Get up and introduce yourself to two other people you don’t know forming a group of three. I’ll give you two minutes to find your two new friends and introduce yourselves…Go! (allow time for everyone to move around and find groups of three. If the group doesn’t break evenly into threes allow for some pairs to form)

Say: In your group we’re going to play little game called Three Wise Monkeys. It’s based on the ancient Japanese depiction of the monkeys that see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Turn and stand with your backs to your partners. On the count of three turn and represent one of the three wise monkeys. One…two…three. (Once everyone has turned and seen the other two in their group, continue). Great! Now we’re going to do that again. Only this time I want you to try and guess what your partners are going to do and try to represent the monkey that completes the three. In other words, as a team…and without coordinating…see if you can turn and do each of the three monkeys. Turn your backs to your partners and one…two…three.

There will be laughter and fun as people enjoy trying to guess what their partners will do. Repeat this activity two or three more times. The goal is to get each group to successfully figure out what each will do and get the three monkeys at least one time.

Left on its own this activity makes no sense and is really just an icebreaker that gets people comfortable with those around them. There’s nothing like being a little silly with strangers to lower barriers. So if this is all you do, you’ve already engaged your audience far better than any standard presenter. However, we are going to take this simple activity and turbo charge it with the next step…debriefing.

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