Turn to one of your neighbours and ask them to clap their hands at exactly the same time as you, eg “1, 2, 3, clap!”
Next, invite this person to turn to their neighbour, and perform exactly the same task.
Instruct your group to continue this synchronistic clapping in pairs, one at a time, all the way around the circle.
Challenge your group to perform this task a second time maintaining a consistent rhythm.
Repeat a couple of times, in different directions.
Move on, or try a variation.
How To Play Narrative
This is one of those activities that may start as a simple energiser, but can quickly be leveraged to draw a lot more value from the experience, especially in terms of building team skills.
Start by asking your group to form a circle, including yourself. Standing works best, but if necessary, you may pull this off sitting down.
By way of demonstration, turn to one of your neighbours and ask them to clap their hands together at exactly the same time as you. Ready? One, two three – clap!
Then, ask your neighbour to turn to their other-side neighbour and perform the exact same task.
The challenge for your group is to perform this synchronistic clap with every pairing of neighbours all the way around the circle until it returns to you. You may observe a particular rhythm develop, or not.
For purely energising purposes, performing this task two or three times, maybe in different directions, will be enough to have boosted the focus of your group.
But, if you have time and sense there could be further value to be extracted, challenge your group to continue with this task until they can execute it as fast and as accurately (ie highest quality, simultaneous claps) as possible.
Everyone knows when synchronicity is present – the two claps are either 100% in sync, or they’re not.
Practical Leadership Tips
Synchro Clap is the perfect exercise to demonstrate the depth of a group’s connection and synchronicity with one another. Equally powerful as an energiser and team-building event.
On occasions, you’ll be drawn in to arbitrate whether one or more claps were truly in sync. By all means, assume this role, but I find it more powerful to re-direct this attention back to the group so that they monitor their own quality control.
Based purely on my own experience, but I find that when many or most group members look to me to ascertain if the clap was in sync or not, it probably was not. Why? Because, when two people clapping are truly in sync, everyone knows and will immediately celebrate and not bother to seek an independent arbiter.
You could integrate Synchro Clap as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviours effectively in different situations and to achieve goals.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of connecting with others to solve a problem.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus and effort required to successfully accomplish synchronicity as a group may speak to the benefits of being mindful and resilient but these would be considered minor attributes belonging to this particular group game.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Synchro Clap could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Synchro Clap Focus: Form a circle, then invite one person to start by clapping directly at another person on the other side of the circle. If necessary, you may ask the clapping person to take half a step into the circle. The person who receives this clap immediately picks another person in the circle and claps at them, etc. Challenge your group to perform this task, crisscrossing the circle, as quickly as possible while maintaining a consistent rhythm. Ideal for sharpening people’s focus.
Reverse Direction: After practising the basic skills described above, permit anyone to return the clap they receive back to the person they received it from, ie they do not turn to face their other neighbour, rather they continue to face the same neighbour and, keeping with the rhythm, invite a second synchro clap with them.
Very simple energiser that's ideal for all group sizes.
Engaging partner exercise to fill an idle two-minutes.
Fun, quick game to fill a couple of idle minutes.
Useful Framing Ideas
We have all experienced those moments of awesome synchronicity. It’s almost a form of magic, sometimes it will make the hair stand up on your back. Now, I can’t promise this form of excitement, but I do have an opportunity for your group to work together and re-create some of this magic…
Can you think of a time in your life when everything appeared to come together as if by some special power or force? Some people refer to this as synchronicity. Are these events simply random, a coincidence, or is there something else going on? Let’s explore this a little more in this next exercise…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this simple energising exercise:
What was necessary to create that synchronistic moment?
How did you know that synchronicity occurred?
What happened when the group started to speed up the rhythm?
What were the consequences of focusing on speed, rather than quality?
How might this exercise reflect certain elements of your work life?
The inspiration for Synchro Clap was stumbled upon while surfing the internet some years ago for simple, no props style group initiatives. I have tried to retrace my steps, without success.