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Improv Effects Quarterly Take-away Exercise: Shared Story

Looking for an ice-breaker or team-building activity at your next conference, orientation or gathering of employees who may not know each other? Try this one. It’s a great bonding exercise, is simple to explain, isn’t too challenging and is fun!

Partner people up - although this may be done in groups of greater than two. Each partner tells the other a story about a time they accomplished something they were nervous about, or overcame a fear, or even did something exciting. Give everyone two or three minutes.

When done, hand a piece of paper and writing utensil to each pair or group. They then must write a shared story, alternating writing sentences, that take elements from each person’s real story. Here are the rules:

1) each partner writes their sentences from the other person's story.

2) The story has to stand on it’s own. In other words, it should not look like a cut & paste job from two different stories. It should have one protagonist and should flow like an original story. It’s just that the story is based on the real stories.

Give the groups four or five minutes for this. Have a few people read their shared stories aloud. It’s a lot of fun, and the other listeners wonder which parts of the story were pulled from which partner, so it makes for great conversation fodder later.

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