A Fun Activity that Improves Connection and Interactions with Others
Here’s a fun activity that can help people connect at a deeper level and gain a better understanding about why people believe, behave, and think the way they do. It’s great for improving communication and cooperation in teams, committees, boards, and even families.
This activity explores one of the key factors that impact our perspective – our “life experiences.”
The way we interpret the things that happen to us, the things that other people say and do, and our world in general is influenced by many factors. Our childhood, personality, training, culture, and life experiences are some examples that can have a big effect on our perspective. The more we can learn these things about our colleagues, team members,partners, and parents, the more we can appreciate and understand our differences in opinions, ideas, and behavior.
Here’s how it works. You can do this with just two people or in a group with up to ~ 5 people. If there’s more people, you can break into smaller groups and rotate. Each person takes some time (at least 10 minutes) to write down a few of their life experiences that they feel have shaped who they are. These can be things from their childhood, their years as a young adult, or something recent. It can be something they experienced, something they witnessed, or even something they read or heard about that made a strong impact on them. I think about how much the book by Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage, changed me and my future.
Then each person takes a turn sharing their list. Other people can ask questions for clarification or for more information. If there’s time, when the person sharing is finished, other people can comment on similarities or differences from their lives. If there’s more than two people in a group, setting a timer for each person can be helpful to ensure everyone gets a chance to talk.
When people are open and honest in their sharing, this can be a powerful conversation that can quickly create new insights about each other. Think about people in your work or life who you’d like to interact with better. Give this activity a try.
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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.