Facilitation games, to understand the value of 'facilitation with respect'.

Facilitation games
are games used to provide participants the experience of facilitation. Facilitation is a process used to create a condition in a group or with an individual which will enable the group or the individual to contribute their best to the goal.


  • Creates a non-threatening atmosphere in the group
  • Harnesses the diversity in the group
  • Believes all participants have something valuable to contribute to a group's goal
  • Accepts all contributions as valid and begins from there to help participants clarify their meaning.
  • Creates win-win decisions/situations/agreements.

To give the participants a hands-on experience on these characteristics of facilitation with the following games

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Facilitation game 1: 'Open your fist'

1. Divide the group into pairs.

2. Have the two people in the pairs face each other

3. Announce the aim of the game as: Open your partner's fist as many times as possible. Each time you open the fist give yourself a score of 1. Higher your score the greater your chances of your winning.

4. Each of you will take turns to close your fist so that your partner try to open it. They have five minute in which to start scoring.

5. Call out the time when you want them to start playing.

6. You'll see that most of the pairs are struggling to open each other's fists. At the end of five minutes you hear scores which are low and lopsided. That is the sronger partner has the higher scores.

7. Occassionally in some groups you'll find one pair having fun marking scores in the vicinity of 60s and 70's per partner.

6. After 5 minutes have them stop playing this facilitation game and remember their scores.

7. Use a flipchart/a blackboard/a white board to record the scores. Only, the twist in the scene comes when you record the scores of the pairs as one rather than splitting them.

8. It then begins to dawn on the participants that if they had stopped to interpret the directions with a facilitative mindset rather than a competitive mindset, they would have scored as a pair rather than as individuals

9. Use the debrief of this facilitation game to draw the attention of the group to their mindsets which forces them to behave competitively, rather than facilitatively.

10. If there was a pair in the group which scored in the vicinity of 100s, ask them to report how they managed to score so high.

11. Talk about how every pair could have scored high if they had just asked their partner to open their fists rather than trying to prise it open.

12. Draw their attention to the way in which they could have:

  • come up with the above win-win solution.
  • scored high by making sure that both partners took turns to win.
  • believed in the need for the other to win in addition to one's own victory

Facilitation games 2: Leading with the tip of your finger.

1. Divide the group into pairs.

2. Assign the partners the names of A and B.

3. Ask them to hold out their forefingers(index finger) and touch the tip of the partner's forefinger.

4. Instruct them to remember whether they are A or B, follow your directions and use only the tips of their forefingers.

5. Your directions for this facilitation game will basically be: "A lead B" and "B lead A". First repeat these instructions at a slow pace. Slowly increase the pace until you reach a crescendo.

6. What begins as a plain walking around exercise, ends up like a dance, where each partner is taking turns to lead the other with just the pressure from the tips of their forefingers. A rhythmic movement does not need more than that.

7. From this facilitation game, draw parallels to facilitation as a process which is gentle, provides opportunity to the other and believes in the ability of the partner, even if their role is limited to the tip of their finger.

For information regarding the how to use these games and other experiential tools in trainings use the contact us form.

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They can also be used to communicate a concept effectively. They add the 'aha' or 'Eureka' or 'got it' factor to presentations and lectures. They are great tools to use in debriefs of games, to drive home a crucial point.

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