This is a team building exercise that I participated in during a conference. It requires at least 20 people and as many as hundreds. It also requires some sort of a hard surface for each person – such as a desk. It is truly a unique experience if you can get enough people together.
The group is divided into four sections with imaginary borders. Inform the entire group that you will be non-verbal once the exercise begins. You will point to their section when they are to begin their instructions. They will continue with their instructions until you return to their section and motion for them to stop (identify what that motion will look like – I use the American Sign Language sign for STOP). One section will snap their fingers throughout this exercise (try to move steadily through the exercise because their fingers will be sore by the time it is done); one will slap their hands on their thighs; one will stomp their feet on the floor and the last section will bang their hands on the table. The exercises should be performed in that order. READY…
- Point to the first section. As they are all snapping their fingers, it will sound like a light sprinkling rain.
- Point to the second section. In addition to the sound of the first section, they will slap their hands on their thighs. It now sounds like a heavier pouring rain.
- Point to the third section. In addition to the previous two sections, they will stomp their feet on the floor. Now you will experience the sound of a very heavy rain and occasional claps of thunder.
- Point to the fourth section. In addition to the previous three sections, they will bang their hands on the table. Now you have a full blown rainstorm in the rainforest with thunder and all the sounds associated with it. The larger the group the more impressive this experience will be.
- Reverse the whole process – stop the banging of hands on the table; stop the stomping of feet on the floor; stop the slapping of hands on their thighs; and stop the snapping. You will hear the rainforest rain eventually die down into silence.
- Appreciate the silence and wonder at what you just experienced.