Dominos: A Communication Exercise

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Level of process: 
Method category: 
Intent or purpose: 
To represent the assumptions we make about our own and others operational definitions of words; i.e. above, down, beside, below, horizontal. Illustrate the value of seeking clarity in communication.
Used as component of: 
Any session where understanding of assumptions is important
Recommended size of group: 
Optimal amount of time needed: 
3 - 45 min.
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
If simple words can ?trip us up? what of the complex vernacular we use in this industry. Reflect back some of the interactions you heard and observed.<br><br> Never assume that we are all using the same operational definitions for the words we use.<br><br> Timely can mean within 2 weeks or 24 hours.<br><br> STD can mean short-term disability or sexually transmitted disease.<br><br> CABG can be a round large vegetable tasty in coleslaw or a coronary artery bypass graft.<br><br> Create an environment that enables you to say ?Wait, what exactly does that mean? or Please help to clarify that for me, I don?t understand?
Level of participation: 
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
Setting and Materials: 
You will need 2 identical sets of 3 dominos for each dyad created and enough space for the dyads to be have some space to work.
Pre-Work Required: 
Make up the sets of dominos.

Ask participants to choose a partner; someone they feel they communicate with fairly well.<br>
- Have participants arrange their chairs so that they are sitting back to back. Use as much of the physical space as possible to spread the dyads out in the room.<br>
- Give each dyad a paired set of dominos. Each participant gets one set of the pair.<br><br>

1. Ask each dyad to choose the ?pattern maker?.<br>
- Who lives closest to the meeting site<br>
- Who has the longest hair<br>
- Who is the youngest/oldest<br><br>

<i>2. Round one:</i><br>
- The pattern maker makes a pattern w/ the dominos. <br>
- The partner will try to replicate the pattern by asking the pattern maker questions. <br>
- The pattern maker can ONLY answer the questions with a ?Yes? or ?NO?.<br>
<i>Time:</i> 90 seconds.<br>
- Call time. <br>
- Compare. How many were able to replicate? <br>
Keep track of number of successful teams.<br><br>

<i>3. Round two:</i><br>
- Same partners, same roles. NEW pattern.<br>
- This time the partner is able to ask any question BUT the pattern maker can ONLY answer the questions. DO NOT offer any additional information.<br>
<i>Time:</i> 60 seconds.<br>
- Call time. <br>
- Compare. How many were able to replicate?<br>
- Number of successful teams. The number should have increased.<br><br>

<i>4. Round Three.</i><br>
Same partners, same roles, new pattern.<br>
- This time the partner can ask any question and the pattern maker can give any information necessary to achieve success.<br>
<i>Time:</i> 30 seconds.
- Call time, <br>
- Compare. How many were able to replicate? <br>
Number of successful teams.<br><br>

- What obstacles did you encounter is achieving success?<br>
- What words did you have different definitions for?<br>
- What accelerated you ability to succeed?

Follow-Up Required: 
Chris Rolland
Derived from: 
Isabelle Guetta for Trapeze
License Model: