Human Knot

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Level of process: 
Intent or purpose: 
The goal of this process is a group that has worked together, and communicated with each other, and therefore now feels like a team.
Used as component of: 
This process helps participants to learn how to work together (better). It can also focus on the group's understanding of communication, leadership, problem solving, trust or persistence. The facilitator can also use this activity to assess the different participants. (Who works team-oriented, Who is a good (or too dominant) leader? etc.)
Types of Participants: 
The participants have to be comfortable with a relatively close body contact to one another.
Recommended size of group: 
Remarks about group size: 
The group should have an ideal size of 10 people, but can be between 7 and 16.
Optimal amount of time needed: 
The optimal time needed is between 15 and 20 minutes.
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
The outcome should be a group that feels good and comfortable with each other as they have reached a goal together.
Level of participation: 
The level of participation is high, as the participants need to have bodily contact, and communicate with each other actively.
Ideal Conditions: 
This activity can be done outside, but in any case enough space for the human knot to move around is needed.
Potential Pitfalls: 
How is success evaluated: 
The process is successful when the group managed to turn the knot into a circle of people holding hands.
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
A special Facilitator-Client Relationship is not neccesary as the group only needs to be instructed and supervised.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Not set
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
The facilitator does not need any particular characteristics, as he/she only needs to supervise the group.
Setting and Materials: 
No material is needed or recommended, but there needs to be enough space for the human knot to move around.
Resources Needed: 
There are no additional resources needed.
Pre-Work Required: 
There is no work that needs to be done beforehand.

1. The participants are asked to form a cirlce, shoulder to shoulder. The facilitator should ask them to stand closer, in order to prepare them for what is about to come. (If there are two or more groups they should have enough space, so that the groups do not feel distracted by the other groups, or a sense of competition.

2. Now the participants should each place a hand in the middle of the circle, and then are asked to grap another hand. (To emphasize the learning of the names, the facilitator can ask the participants to introduce themselves to the person that they're holding hands with.

3. In this step the participants put their other hand in the middle, grapping another hand again, and possibly introduce themselves again. The facilitator should make sure that nobody lets go of another hand.

4. Now the facilitator should explain the goal of the activity to the participants, being that they are asked to untangle themselves into a circle, without letting of any hand.
In order to encourage the name-learning again the facilitator can ask the participants to each time, when talking to someone, use the first name of that person.

5. The facilitator can now stand back and watch (and possibly evaluate) the group, or individuals.
In the first minutes (up to 10) there might not be much progress, however as soon as the initial unfolding happens, the pace should become quicker. In case that no progress is made after the first ten minutes, the facilitator could offer the group one de- and then reclap, in order to make it a little easier. The group then has to discuss and decide together which hands to declap.
In case the result are two or more interlocked circles, the facilitator should ask the group to unfold these too, in order to get the simplest structure.

How flexible is the process?: 
The process is flexible in terms of the lesson learned (team work, communication etc. - see above).
Follow-Up Required: 
There is no follow-up requiered.
James Neill - February 2004
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