I learned the name game from Barrie Hopson and Mike Scally when they ran some counselling skills courses at ICI. Thank you both.
Use the exercise at, or very near, the start of a course, workshop or meeting where people don’t know each other.
Have the group sit in a circle where they can all see each other. The exercise works best with groups from ten to twenty people.
Say to people “This is a light-hearted exercise that will help us all remember each other’s names”.
You say to the person next to you, “I would like you to say your name to the group and then mine” so she says “I am Mary and this is Fred (say)”.
Then the next person says “I am Bill and this is Mary and this is Fred”
Repeat until you get to the end of the group, “I am Xavier and this is Yolande ….and this is Bill and this Mary and this is Fred”
Before you get this far the people at the end of the line will be panicking, so reassure everyone that it is Ok to help if anyone gets stuck.
You can expect lots of laughter which relieves tension about the exercise and the course as well.
Most people will have no difficulty as there is enough repetition for them to remember. If someone does get stuck, that person may be having a hard time being present for some reason and might need your particular attention.
It’s a great exercise and it’s so easy.