Martin Gilbraith

Just One Lie

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5 - 20 Low

This method is adapted from the well-known icebreaker 'Two Truths And A Lie' to create an activity that you could return to throughout a meeting.



To break the ice and help the group get to know each other better, and to punctuate a long and intense meeting with some moments of light relief.




    At the start, have each participant write their name at the top of their flipchart page and hang it on the wall. Then have each individual put the names of all of their colleagues on post-its, one name per post-it.

    1. At the start of the session, ask the group to mingle, asking one another questions to get acquainted, such as “What sports do you like?” “Where do you like to take your holidays?” “What is your favourite food?”; or about their career, such as “How did you get into facilitation”, “When you do join IAF”, “What was your greatest facilitation achievement?”; or about the meeting, such as “What is your worst fear for this meeting?”. Or just ask for one fact they would like to share with the group.
    2. Tell the participants, “For every person you meet, put their name and one fact you have learned about them onto the post-it with their name. As you meet every person in the group, you should accumulate a post-it for each person.
    3. “However, as you answer questions about yourself, please ensure that one (and only one) answer you give is a lie, something entirely not true of you.”
    4. When everyone has accumulated one fact post-it about everyone else, have participants distribute the post-its onto each individual’s flipchart pages.
    5. Introduce yourself by reading out the flip chart page with your own name and facts, and then invite the group to guess which is a lie. Use a red marker to identify with a tick every true fact until the lie is revealed, then put a cross to identify that.
    6. Next, introduce another participant in the same way. When the lie is revealed, it is their turn to select and introduce another.
    7. As the meeting proceeds, start sessions and end breaks with the last person introduced to select and introduce another
    8. By the end of the meeting, everyone should have been introduced, and all but one have introduced another. Then you can celebrate the success of the person whose lie took the most guesses to reveal


    I was preparing to lead a rare 3-day face-to-face meeting of the IAF global Board, after almost half of it’s members had been newly elected. In this case I was looking for some activity or activities to break the ice and help us all get to know each other better, but also to enable me to punctuate a long and intense meeting with some moments of light relief. I ended up adapting the well-known icebreaker ‘two truths and a lie’ to create an activity that I could return to throughout the meeting. I was sufficiently pleased with the result that I wrote up the exercise for the IAF Methods Database.

    See the original description of the method at 

    The photo shows the IAF Board at our January 2011 meeting in London, with (to the left) some of the flip chart pages we created for each of us with post-its about us - including just one lie.

    Comments (2) (4.5 avg / 2 ratings)

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    • very nice exercise. For it to work, you need to make sure the lie does appear on one of the post it that the participants put on the flipchart, for each individual. It might be necessary to clarify that each participant can only ask one question to each other?

      about 4 years ago
    • over 5 years ago