Near and Far
Near and Far is a wonderful warm-up game that provides excellent avenues to build connections and discuss various issues of corporate culture and dynamics. I have used it in conferences, and it is suitable for small, medium, and large groups.
To build connections and to discuss issues pertaining to corporate culture, organizational dynamics, and the building of networks
Invite people to stand in a large circle where they can make eye contact with each other. If the group is too large, you can break the circle into smaller clusters. I frequently conduct this activity outdoors since we need plenty of open space.
- Ask the participants to look around their circle and make eye contact with other people and smile.
- Then ask each participant to select a near person to stay close to. Keep the identity of this near person a secret.
- To demonstrate, randomly select a person and announce your choice. Invite the selected person to wander around in the middle of the circle and follow them trying to get close. Thank the selected person with a round of applause.
- Continue your instructions by asking each participant to select a far person to stay away from. Again in doing so, ask participants to keep their choices secret.
- Continue the demonstration by choosing someone else in the circle and announce your choice. Invite this person to wander around in the middle of the circle and keep a good distance away from them. Thank the selected person with a round of applause.
- Check-in with the group and make sure everyone has two choices. Ask people to raise their hands to signify they have chosen one person to stand close to (near) and another person to stay away from (far).
- Explain safety requirements to ensure nobody gets hurt: no running, hugging, or touching is allowed.
- Instruct everyone to take a few steps forward to form a tight huddle. At the count of three, ask the participants to wander around, implementing both the near and far rules at the same time without talking. As soon as the group moves into action, weird and interesting dynamics will unfold. Let the system dynamics run its course for 30 to 45 seconds. This is sufficient time for patterns to emerge and not too long that it becomes boring.