Acknowledgement: This is an adaptation of an exercise I learned from Barry Hopson and Mike Scally.
In a good learning event, people give of their best and often show more of themselves than they do otherwise. So everyone has a good insight into each other’s strengths. When you hear about your strengths from others and acknowledge them to yourself, this builds your motivation and self-confidence.
If you do this at the end of a workshop, you go away feeling good about yourself and your colleagues too.
This version works best in groups of six to twelve; outside these limits you will probably want to adapt it, perhaps by breaking into smaller groups. It is very easy and sounds much more complicated than it is.
- Have people sit in a close circle, including the facilitator(s).
- Explain the value of feedback about strengths, as above.
- Give everyone a sheet of A4 paper, including the facilitators.
- Ask them to write their own name on the bottom of the paper CLEARLY.
- Pass paper to the person on the left
- That person writes a phrase or two or a few words, at the top of the page, to describe what she or he has most valued about the person whose name is on the bottom of the sheet.
- Fold the paper neatly so the comments are covered
- Pass the paper on to the next person and repeat steps 5,6 and 7 until everyone has had a go and has the paper back with his or her own name on the bottom.
- Everyone reads their own comments quietly.
- Ask each person to mark the one he or she likes the best.
- Ask people to stand up in a close circle, and ask everyone to say the strength she or he liked using positive words like “I am….” or “I have….”
- Remind people to take their pieces of paper home and treasure them.
We had a very dour manager called Tom on one course. Some months later I was chatting to him. Out of the blue he pulled open a drawer and found his piece of paper. He said, “You know I was very cynical about that exercise, but every time I am a bit down I look at the paper and it lifts my spirits!
I have used this a lot and have a lot of these “warm fuzzies” in my files. This is good!