In pairs, participant A attempts to communicate the use and value of a modern-day object to participant B, who plays the role of someone from 300 years ago.
To introduce the importance of finding an analogy, a story, or a common point of connection when talking to an audience.
- In each pair assign a person A and person B.
- Person B plays the role of someone from 300 years ago.
- Person A endeavors to explain a modern-day object (e.g., a cell phone, a television, an airplane, a microwave oven) to person B.
- Partners switch roles and repeat. (Round two, person A has landed on finger and broken it, and person B has to convince them to put their finger into an X-ray machine.)
- Tell the As the object secretly, without the Bs knowing.
- Add a round in which pairs explain to each other some technical process or skill or area of knowledge that they are expert in, but their partner is not familiar with.
- Encourage person B to wholeheartedly embrace the character and mind-set of someone from 300 years ago. (Hint: lots of different things were happening in different parts of the world, but electricity was not in use yet.)
- Perhaps demo the activity, playing person B. Illustrate misunderstanding of non-period words, for example: "Wait, you press a button? Like on my shirt?"
- How did you approach your task at first?
- What strategies did you use?
- What was it like to take on the mindset of someone from 300 years ago?
- What judgments did you make or not make about the inability of the person from 300 years ago to understand the object?
- What is this like in real life? What gaps do you need to navigate?
- How can thinking of those gaps like you thought of this gap help you be a more effective communicator?
Source: Performance of a Lifetime