So in this exercise in your two groups… So I’m just splitting it up into two small groups just to make it a bit quicker. You could do it in a large group.
But on this occasion I’m going to ask you to look at your name, and I’m going to ask you to look at your first name and your last name. And in a moment you’re going to share that just with your small group of either chocolate lovers or not so much chocolate lovers as the case may be.
But importantly the name that I would like you to share is to actually recite your name backwards. So I am Kram Dralloc, because I’m taking the letters of ‘Mark’ and ‘Collard’ and reversing them.
So in a moment you’re about to do some linguistic gymnastics by moving the letters around in your head so that you recite them differently. So I’m Kram Dralloc.
And at that point the rest of your group, the other people in your group are going to having heard it perhaps several times, will tell you what part of the world you come from.
So when you hear “Hi, my name is Kram Dralloc”, what part of the world do you think I might come from?
I’m thinking Danish. I’m thinking big hats with horns on. Kram Dralloc. Absolutely.
So it could be from anywhere in the world. Of course there is no way of getting this right. It’s just a bit of fun.
So move into your little groups. Think for a moment what your name… When you’re ready share it with your group and they’ll tell you where you come from.
Where does he come from? First of all it sounds like a girl’s name.
(repeats name backwards)
(He’s named after his mom.)
(recites name backwards)
(I can see that.)
One more time.
(God bless you.)
(Yenttirb… Y-E-N-T-T-I-R-B. Yenttirb Snoom.)
(I like that.)
(recites name backwards)
(Noose or Snoom?)
Sounds like a fictional place like where the Smurfs live.
(people playing and laughing)
How To Play Narrative
Names are endlessly fascinating, and there’s no shortage of silly little games that can be made of them. Here’s one to get you started, and then try one or more of the variations.
Ask everyone – one at a time – to say their name out loud as if the letters of their names were arranged in reverse. So, my name (Mark Collard) becomes “KRAM DRALLOC.”
Get it? Ok, your turn Nasus, then Gerg.
For a little more fun, ask your group to speculate in which part of the world, perhaps country or town, would a person with this strange sounding name would live.
I reckon mine was coined somewhere in Copenhagen, Denmark in the late 18th century. It’s amazing how beautifully exotic so many names become once reversed.
The purpose? None other than a good belly laugh. Which of course, generates energy, which encourages sharing, which builds trust. So, in fact, there are some reasons to invite your group to laugh.
Practical Leadership Tips
Depending on the comfort levels of your group (to share in front of others,) you may choose to conduct this exercise in one large or several smaller groups.
Naturally, this is a silly exercise, but enormously humorous when pitched at the right time to the right group. So, consider your sequence.
This exercise is ideal for groups that know each other well.
Rapper Name: Combine the first letter of your first name with the first two letters of your surname to create a little hyphenated moniker. Uttered with a little rap-music attitude, you can sound very cool, or at least MCo thinks so.
Name Acronym: Separating into small groups to workshop this one, ask each person to invent a nonsensical acronym of their first (or second) name, and then present it to the larger group. For example, KEVIN becomes Kangaroos Eat Vegetables In November and MARK could represent Magic Ankle Repair Kit.
Deeper Meaning: Take a look at Story Of Your Name to invite people to share the true meaning behind their name. For example, why am I called Mark? The name originates from the Latin god Mars, and my Mum chose this name because she had always liked the name since dating a boy named Mark. Like I said, endlessly fascinating.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
If possible, ask your group to switch to ‘gallery view’ so that they can see the smaller video screens of most if not all of their group members. Then proceed as described above.
For very large groups, divide into (possibly random) smaller groups of 2 to 6 people to share privately in their own break-out room. Upon returning everyone to the larger group, perhaps invite one or more people to share some of the more amusing names.
Taking turns, ask one person to type their new name into the chat room facility. This can sometimes be easier to visualise and say when it is in written form. Enjoy the levity as per normal.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Do you like your name? If you could change your name, what would you change it to? For just a little bit of fun, try this unique naming exercise…
Names are endlessly fascinating. There is always a reason why people are named with the names chosen by their parents. Even among friends, you may think you know someone pretty well, until we change just one thing about their name and then suddenly, their personality will sound even more exotic than it really it is…
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 nonsensical name-game:
How difficult was it for you to think of your name backwards? Why?
This exercises often triggers spontaneous bursts of laughter. Why?
For a good laugh, what other areas of our lives could we apply this silly game to?
The inspiration for Kram Dralloc, and many more fun, zany name-games, was sourced from the following publications: