Here's an exercise called “Convergence” – just for you! Convergence can be used in a team environment to support collaboration.
The goal of this exercise is for the players to say the same word at the same time – or “converge.”
Broader Purpose & Facilitator Notes
This exercise requires full participation by both players, so it’s a great way to “walk the walk” on inclusion efforts by demonstrating how crucial everyone’s voice is. Convergence helps to deepen listening skills and help partners stay connected and resilient – even when they don’t see eye-to-eye. Sometimes, a feeling of frustration may show up for partners when they are not converging “quickly enough.” As a facilitator, you can ask reflective questions to help players notice any self-criticisms and navigate how to move through them. Remember the objective is to stay open, listen, and have fun!
Supplies needed: None
To begin, each player thinks of a word (yes, any word!) Players do not say their word out loud to their partner. For example, Jamal thinks “pumpkin” and Beth thinks “orange.”
Round 1: Jamal lets Beth know that he is ready by saying “one.” Beth lets Jamal know that she is ready by saying “two.” In unison, Jamal and Beth say together, “one, two, three,” and then they both say their word at the same time. Jamal says, “pumpkin,” and Beth says, “orange.” We now have two words – “pumpkin” and “orange” – at play.
Round 2: The players each try to think of a new word that comes to mind when they think of “pumpkin” and “orange” – a new word associated with both of the two starting words. Either player can begin this round by saying “one” to let their partner know they are ready. For example, Beth says, “one.” When Jamal has his new word in mind, he says, “two.” In unison, Jamal and Beth say, “one, two, three,” and then together they say their new word at the same time. Jamal says, “Jack-o-lantern,” and Beth says, “Halloween.”
After each round of this game, the players have reached one of two results:
- The two players “converged” by saying the same word at the same time, or
- The two players said two different words.
If the players get the second result (which is more likely) as Jamal and Beth did, then they think of a new word to link the latest two words. The challenge of this exercise is for the players to repeat rounds until they converge by saying the same word at the same time.
Players should not repeat words from previous rounds. The new words in each round should be based on the most immediate previous round only. Words from rounds further back are irrelevant.
- Keep eye contact
- Give your partner an encouraging look
- Uncross arms
- Suspend judgment of your word choice or the word choice of your partner
The goal of this exercise is for a pair of players to say the same word at the same time – or “converge” – though it looks a little different than the pair version of the game.
Broader Purpose & Facilitator Notes
Group Convergence – like the pair version of the game – helps to deepen listening skills and keep group members connected and resilient. It also helps to foster some group-level awareness of team dynamics: Who tends to step forward? Who is more timid? Is the team allowing all voices to be heard? How can we learn to “share the stage” as a team so that everyone has an opportunity to help us converge (or, in a business sense, align)? These are questions you can reference as a facilitator, or pose directly to the group. Because the game’s instructions are simple – anyone can follow them and play! – the group has an opportunity to see and feel that everyone can bring value to a team if given the space to do so.
Supplies needed: None
To begin, the group of players stands in a circle. Whoever thinks of a word can choose to begin the first round. Let’s say that’s Lisette, who thinks of the word “dance.” Lisette says, “one,” then looks around the circle for whoever her partner will be.
Jose has thought of the word “monkey.” He looks at Lisette and says, “two.” Lisette and Jose look at each other, say, “one, two, three,” and then both say their words at the same time. They repeat the words loudly for the whole group to hear. We now have two words – “dance” and “monkey” – at play.
Since Lisette and Jose did not converge – or say the same word at the same time – two new players will play another round. Let’s say Steve thinks “carnival” and Kai thinks “zoo.” Steve says, “one,” to show he is ready to try converging with someone. Kai looks at Steve and says, “two.” Together, Steve and Kai say, “one, two, three,” and then say their words at the same time. We now have two different words – “carnival” and “zoo” – at play.
Rounds are repeated until a pair of players says the same word at the same time. As with the pair version of the game, players should not repeat words from previous rounds. The new words in each round should be based on the most immediate previous round. Words from rounds further back are irrelevant.
- Practice stepping forward if you normally don’t
- Practice creating space for others if you are often jumping in to participate
- Breathe and uncross arms
- Celebrate as a group when a pair converges!
How does this game reflect how you work together? What lesson can be learned through playing this game?
Intentional Listening – Deeper listening means better communication.
Make Your Teammate the Hero – Inspire and support colleagues.
Power of Presence – Show up. Be in the moment.
Resilient Response – Be bold. Embrace mistakes as a learning tool. Build compassion.
Open to Yes – Create new habits to open up conversations and possibilities.
Voice Your Ideas – Celebrate diverse perspectives and ideas. Learn to lead and follow.
Hero Quality – Express unique strengths.