Communication is not just what we say – nonverbal actions play a huge part as well. How we stand, gesture, make eye contact, all of these physical choices communicate.
Use this nonverbal exercise to practice the act of communicating without words.
1. Divide the class into groups.
2. Have the groups letter themselves (A, B, C, D, E)
3. “A” will be the first to go. “A” is given a card with an object/location written on it.
4. “A” must get the rest of their group to form a tableau which visualizes the object or location. All communication must be nonverbal. No words or sounds allowed.
5. You can make the exercise a competition. Give a two minute time limit for the group to form the picture based on the nonverbal communication of “A”. If they are able to form the picture within the time limit, they get a point and move on to the next card with “B” giving the nonverbal communication. If time runs out, they move onto the next card but don’t get a point. Keep repeating the exercise so that everyone has a chance to lead the group.
6. Discuss the exercise afterward. What was it like to try and understand someone without any verbal cues? Did they use any shorthand? Did they get frustrated at any point? Which objects/locations were easier/harder to communicate?