Audience Physical Activities

Noah St. John

Page Sponsors
How to sponsor this page

I’m looking for exercises we as speakers can lead from the platform, that entail our audience members doing something physical (e.g., moving). For example: Tony Alessandra’s “4 Behavioral Styles” exercise where people go to the 4 corners of the room based on their behavioral style; Harv Eker’s “4 Money Styles” exercise where people physically assemble based on their attitudes about money. What other exercises to get people to physically DO something (not things like Simon says)?

— Dick Dale

“Simon Says” works well and if done properly, is a lot of fun.

— Mitch Krayton

Put 1/2 of a winning drawing ticket under one seat. Put the other 1/2 winning ticket under another seat. Put lots of non-winning halves of tickets throughout the house. Have people first look for tickets. Then have them pair up for the winning ticket. Make it a big reward because it will be a big buzz. You can have several winners if you choose by making multiple winning pairs.

— Ronald Shapiro

Multitasking: Stand on one foot

Have everyone (who is capable of standing on one foot, without balance problems):

  1. Stand up
  2. Eyes closed
  3. Lift right foot off of the ground
  4. After a few seconds...
  5. Tell people to recite Humpty Dumpty or Gettysburg Address or whatever you choose in normal speaking voice
  6. Watch people swaying and listen to less than perfect recitation of the prose

Multitasking: Draw a circle and a “6” (it is not standing but it is moving around)

Have everyone (who is capable of moving hands, arms and legs/feet):

  1. Have everyone sit with both feet on the ground
  2. Lift right foot off of the ground and draw clockwise circles with their right foot
  3. Lift right hand into the air and draw a “6”
  4. Watch (ask people) what happens to right foot

— Beth Terry

The Birthday Exercise is an example of synchronicity and connectivity.

Separate people by birth month around the room. Have them organize themselves in order by day of birth. For every 50 people in the room, you will discover there are at least 2 people with the same birthday.

Depending upon your topic, you can find some interesting applications:

  • Perhaps the world isn’t as random as we think it is.
  • We have more in common than we think.
  • It can be a tool for communication—how are we different, how are we the same?

I use this one when I teach personality type. We do an unscientific study and often discover that not only do they share the same birthday, they also share the same personality type.

If it’s team building and we discover that some months are over-represented and some under-represented, we talk about team dynamics and how people within each of these months operate the same and/or operate differently.

It’s not about astrology, but there are enough people who have a half-belief in it that you can use it to prove or disprove just about anything! I let them know it’s for fun, but then find a way to apply it to the program.

The Yarn Exercise is a favorite of mine. The group (or in big groups, each table) is given a ball of yarn. You assign 3–5 things they need to say before they toss the ball to the next person while holding on to a piece of string. They might say their name, position, how long they’ve worked in the industry, their first job and their favorite food. When all is done you have a cat’s cradle of sorts.

Applications are many and varied.

  • People have learned something about their teammates.
  • They are all connected.
  • If one person drops the yarn, everyone else is affected.
  • We have many networks in our lives—this is an invisible network that affects us all. If we walk into work grumpy and grab onto the network, it flies down the threads to everyone attached to it. And we have another network at home that is affected by our attachment to this one in front of us.
  • This is a safety net. Nurturing our relationships on this network keeps us safe if/when misfortune hits. I use it as a reminder to be mindful of our relationships and networks on all levels.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions