Erica Marx Erica Marx Coaching

Telephone

by for . Last edit was 6 months ago
any any

message passed without checking to next person

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Additional info

Goal

gain awareness of how much a message can change - take info with a grain of salt!
importance for confirmation of info / active listening

Attachments

You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.

Materials

  • write starting message on card (optional)

Instructions

Create two lines of people. The person at the front of each line are given the same spoken message at the same time. No repeating of message, no checking, no questions. Each person passes the message verbatim to the next person. Compare messages at the end. 

Debrief

Reminder - this is best case scenario with people actively listening, no time lag, no personal agendas. 

How confident are you in the accuracy of the message? How confident are you in your part (what they received & passed on)?

How and when did the message change?

How did people feel at different places in the line?
What strategies did they use? How did those vary based on order (ie. closer to the source vs. away). What was important at different point? 

Variations
* Perform with audience. People who are in telephone line leave the room and come in one at a time.
* Alternate between physical version & spoken version. Or between written & drawn
*
Start two (or more) lines with the same message. The message can be complicated -- notice what gets edited in each chain & impact on final message.
* For emotions, can experiment with tone/ emphasis of the original communicator.
* Start with personal story that matters from a participant. Debrief with this person what happened when their story changed. How did it feel to them? Can be very powerful. 


Variations

Physical version of telephone

People stand in a line facing forward. The facilitator demonstrates 3 distinct physical movements in silence to the last person in line (no one else can see). That person taps the person in front of them and demonstrates the movements to the next person in line, who then taps the person in front of them and demonstrates what they saw. This goes on, down the line until the first person (last person in the exercise) demonstrates the movements shown. After each person demonstrates, they can step out of the line and watch along with the facilitator and other participants in the workshop. 

Can repeat the activity with mirroring back the message. The group will likely be more successful & grounded. 

Teaching Notes

Great for teaching how quickly our minds make up a story (MSU, TFAR). Start with 3 gestures that tell a story in your mind. Tell each person to communicate clearly to the next person (via gestures). Prime people to hear the communication, allow the story to happen.

I only give the instructions that you need to be silent. Some people have spontaneously mirrored back the communication to see if they have it before passing it on. 

Debrief
What happened? What story did you hear? How much did you trust the communication? When did you trust / not trust it? When did people in the line stop trusting the communication? Why? What stories in your real life might be getting distorted / is it time to stop trusting? 
 

Background

AIN Paris learning journey - Belina & Jeanne. Transmission of important info from gov't agency to field workers
AIN Stony Brook, demo'd at AIN Northeast post-conference gathering in Sept 2019

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