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Has anyone got Communication skills exercises?


Does anyone have an exercise that will enable a small group of project managers to realise how important it is to share information with each other and their clients? Something short and snappy would be ideal but does it exist?
Bev Wrench

8 Responses

  1. Chinese whispers
    Hi Bev,

    The classic game of Chinese Whispers is short, snappy and gets the message across in a fun filled way. I suggest you build a scenario around parciticipant’s actual work environment.



  2. You might want to try ZOOM
    For quick activities try Zoom or colourblind

    Zoom write up here : the book can be bought from amazon.

    Colourblind can be purchased from several companies including RSVP

    If you have more time why not do a practical activity using a “sticky” wall, where people map out their information and communication needs. Along the lines of input / output or even a communication web. With this type of activity they could see their “gaps” and improve their performance as well as work as a “team”.

    Regards, Andi

  3. communication planning
    Hi Bev
    One of the fundamentals of PRINCE is the formation of a communication plan so, unless your delegates are chucking it all out on the grounds that it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut, they should have the “commitment” to communication..
    (Stage Direction; Cynical snigger)

    The issue isn’t just the “sharing”; it is the relevance and the timing of what is shared.

    I’d suggest a discussion, possibly prompted by a questionnaire completed beforehand, around:
    brevity/personal relevance
    downstream impact

    Some of these are already covered by PRINCE by, for example the “bad news early” principle.

    Sorry this isn’t a ready made exercise but hopefully it helps

  4. It depends…
    …on what, specifically, you wish to have as an outcome…

    There are many exercises you could do, each can be tailored to suit the situation and modified to effect a specific outcome. For example, organising a menu for a celebratory meal (post course!). Split them into groups, each group decides on what they would like as one course (i.e. group A does starter, Group B – main etc). You can let them free select or provide a choice (local restaurant menu can help here!). Once decided they come and tell you their groups choice which cannot then be changed.

    For the meal to be a success they must communicate as a whole group to ensure they meet dietary needs, tastes etc.


    As part of the exercise get each group to identify five or so ‘success criteria’ i.e. what will let us know that the meal was a success. Do this after they have submitted they choices (you may then choose to allow them to change their ideas – challenge their ideas based on their success criteria).

    Set the exercise up so that the groups negotiate an overall menu.


    Chinese whispers.

    Piece of card cut into shapes – in twos sit back to back (so can’t see each other) one person has copy of solution and must tell the other (who has the bits) how to assemble them.

    For emphasising non-verbal communication:

    Similar to above, but facing each other (can be as group) this time NO verbal communication.

    Play ‘Charades’ – but link in to their work (i.e. choose topics relevant to what they do).

    Depending on their level (and what you have covered already) you could use ‘advanced models’ such as the ‘Meta Model’ of communication (Deletions, Distortions & Generalisations). Many ways to use, e.g print of a passage of text & get them to spot deletions/distortions etc. In threes or so, get one person to talk about a recent experience for a couple of minutes (hobby, interest, work etc). Group then notes down the deletions/distortions etc. Review in plenary.

    Of course we haven’t mentioned any of the listening exercises yet, nor different levels of listening, rapport skills, language & pace matching, psychological type preferences etc, all of which are essential to good communication!

    Another great exercise is in threes, ‘A’ sells a car to ‘C’ matching (in rapport), ‘B’ then sells (same) car to ‘C’ mismatching. ‘C’ chooses who to buy car from (should choose ‘A’!!!) This can be varied greatly to include thinking strategies, communication preferences (VAK matching & mismatching etc).

    It all depends on how long you have & what outcome you want to achieve!!!

    Good luck!


  5. The Importance Of Communication

    How about doing something with a child’s jigsaw puzzle? I have run an exercise where you spilt your delegates into groups and one person in each group is blindfolded. Each group is given the pieces of a child’s jigsaw and the blindfolded person has to assemble the jigsaw with the help of the rest of the group (but without the rest of the group actually touching/physically guiding the blindfolded person – the group just have to use words to help).

    It is great for drawing out how we communicate and is good fun!

    Hope that helps.


  6. Back to back Duplo
    As a one-to-one communications exercise I pair people up and give them about 14 pieces of Duplo (two sets of seven pieces)that match.
    The pair then sit back-to-back and one has to assemble the Duplo into a shape and then describe it to the person sitting behind who has to assemble the same shape.
    I find about half the participants don’t get a shape to match. You can then explore what went wrong – things like the explainer making assumptions or not checking for understanding or the listener assuming and not asking for clarification.

  7. Communication exercise
    Not sure what its called but this is a great exercise – its quite fun too.

    You put people back to back. one (or more) person has a peice of blank paper and a pencil and the other has a picture (a group of overlapping shapes is a good idea for this)
    You get the person with the picture to explain the details of the picture so that the partner can draw it.

    You could use this as an example of how we interpret what each other say (just because you feel you explained something well it doesnt mean that the person you are communicated to fully understand)

    Hope this helps



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