Thiagi Group

Coat of Arms

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Coat of Arms exercise provides a way for participants to introduce themselves and their colleagues, particularly for groups who think they already know each other very well. Almost invariably participants discover something about their colleagues of which they previously had no idea. Occasionally this revelation has an immediate and direct application to another participant's current project or challenge. Because this activity forces people to use drawings rather than words, it is particularly useful as a dual-purpose introductory exercise in training sessions that deal with such topics as innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.


To get to know another participant and then introduce her to the rest of the group.




    A Coat of Arms is a design that is unique to a person, family, corporation, or state that illustrates the important characteristics, achievements, and values of its owner.


    Brief the participants. Explain that each participant will draw something in each of the five sections of the Coat of Arms handout in response to relevant questions. After that, participants will pair up, swap their drawings and try to interpret the drawings so that they can introduce their partner to the whole group.

    Sample questions:

    • What do you do at work?
    • How do you like to spend your spare time?
    • What is something you think you are very good at?
    • What is something you think your colleagues don't know about you?
    • What is one of your personal values?

    Part 1. Drawing

    Explain the activity. Participants should work individually and spend 10 minutes to complete their personal Coat of Arms by drawing a picture or symbol in each of the 5 sections, in response to the five questions. Emphasize that no words are allowed. Reassure the participants that artistic ability is not important because the picture is simply to convey information.

    Part 2. Interpreting

    Explain the activity. Participants should identify the person whom they know least well in the group, partner with her, and exchange the drawings.

    They now take it in turns, 3 minutes each, to interpret what their partner's drawing is trying to say in response to each question. Stress that the originator should not give any clues unless their partner is completely lost.

    After 3 minutes advise the participants to repeat the procedure with the second coat of arms.

    If there is a triad, you will need to allow a few extra minutes.

    Part 3. Presenting

    Explain the activity. Each participant now has 2 or 3 minutes to introduce their partner using the information they have gained from interpreting the Coat of Arms.


    You can adjust the time requirement by increasing or decreasing the number of sections on the Coat of Arms.

    The Coat of Arms could also be used for the following purposes:

    • Debriefing
    • Visual SWOT analysis (remove one section of the Coat of Arms)

    Coat of Arms is a framegame that can be used in many different applications by just altering the questions. In the example above, it is illustrated as an opener to a training workshop.


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