Signs of Identity: Group Exercise (Virtual)
DescriptionThis is an interactive exercise where individuals learn about their values and preferences, and have an opportunity to evaluate themselves within community. The more honest people are, the more each participant will get out of this exercise.
PreparationFor an effective exercise invite at least 8 participants. It takes about 1 hour for the whole exercise. Because of the breakout room feature, Zoom is the recommended platform for virtual use. Make a copy of this slideshow and edit the slides to best fit your context.
- Race / Ethnicty
- Socioeconomic status
TimelineNorms & Logistics (5 – 7 minutes) Exercise (30 minutes) Debrief (25 minutes)
InstructionsExplain Norms (explain the importance of):
- Contemplative silence
- Active Listening
ExerciseStatements: Note: statements with an * will be interactive.
- This has recently brought satisfaction in my life.
- I’ve had to think about this aspect of my life the least.
- *I’ve had to think about this aspect of my life the most.
- This is the first thing people recognize about me.
- This is the area I am most thankful for.
- I am most comfortable/secure in this area.
- I am most uncomfortable/insecure in this area.
- *This has caused me the greatest pain in life.
- I have learned one of the greatest lessons in life because of this.
- My family valued this the most.
- *My family valued this the least.
- This brings the most enjoyment to my life.
- *I’ve seen the biggest amount of growth in this area in my life this year.
- This is the place I’m doing a lot searching or questioning.
- This is the place I feel most misunderstood.
- Encourage them to observe; look at all the categories; be aware of what they are feeling throughout the exercise; ask them to be silent even as they are muted.
- Give 4 minutes per ‘X’ during sharing time; roughly 2 minutes per person. Remember to remind people to switch who is sharing after about 2 minutes or so.
DebriefStop the presentation and help the group relax and breathe, pause and reflect. Let them know that you are going to debrief their experience.
Suggested Debrief Questions
Pick at least three questions to discuss as a large group. The questions with the * have been found to be effective debrief questions.
- *How was this exercise for you?
- *How did you feel throughout the exercise?
- What are your observations about yourself?
- What are your observations about others?
- What surprised you the most?
- What did you like?
- What didn’t you like?
- Would you have done anything different?
- *What did you learn about yourself through this exercise?
- What are you feeling now?
Important NoteThis exercise was designed to use in groups that have some level of safety and/or trust. If using this exercise in an environment where that’s not necessarily true, consider making modifications.
- Be aware of the power of good facilitation. Choose someone who can set the exercise up with care, who is able to “read the room” and even skip questions that feel like they’re too intense.
- Make it clear from the outset the kinds of questions and topics that are going to come up; forecast that people may feel exposed, but no one has to provide any more information than they’re comfortable sharing. They could choose a category that isn’t the one that feels most true to them, but is most true with the level of risk they’re willing to take in the group, or they could opt not to answer.
- Remove some of the categories or questions that feel the most sensitive. It is unlikely you will be able to complete all 15 statements within the suggested time frame online. Choose half of these statements, including 2-3 interactive ones.
- Because people tend to need time to process their level of safety, they may not recognize they don’t feel safe until a few questions in. Consider having the facilitator reiterate throughout the exercise that no one needs to share beyond what feels ok for them.