Look, we’re still in a circle so let’s stick with a circle. Come on, bring yourselves. So we’ll bring one end of our record to the other end of the record.
There’s two instructions I will give you. Two instructions I will give you for this exercise, and that is to simply focus on the people left and right of you. To begin I would like you to say to the person to your left “How’s it going?” Just those three words. How’s it going?
(How’s it going?)
Let’s say that one more time. You don’t have to respond, just simply say “How’s it going?” How’s it going?
(How’s it going?)
Alright, very good. And then, to your person on your right, simply say the words “Cool, thanks.” Cool thanks.
Put the two together now.
(How’s it going? Cool thanks.)
How’s it going? Cool thanks.
Alright, okay. I’ll ask you now, to move blindfolded in a second with your eyes closed, bumpers up. Mix yourselves up. You’ve done that very well to this point. And when I say stop. Stop in that position. Keep your eyes closed and only saying one of two things “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks.”
Find your spot directly so that you stand between the same two people. You can only ever say, “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks,” when you bump into other people. Got the idea?
So to repeat. Your object is to find your spot back in the circle, not physically where you are standing but actually between the same two neighbours that you have right now, but the only things you can do with your eyes closed is to say “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks.” “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks.”
Take your time, when you think you are there, I’ll get a sense. Because I’ll keep my eyes open to ensure your safety. Got the idea?
(Can we have fifteen seconds of listening practice?)
Ah, you’ve had that already, but we’ll give you another go Steve. So, go ahead and say those to your left.
(How’s it going? Cool thanks)
Alright. Okay, bumpers up ladies and gentleman. With your eyes closed start mingling.
(Group saying “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks” as part of Izzat You)
Keep mingling. Try not to talk.
Alright now let’s hold it there for a second, keep your eyes closed. Now your’e mixed up enough now from this position. No other words can be used, other than “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks.”
“How’s it going?” “Cool thanks.”
Keep your bumpers up, so that you do bump into other people. Find your spot in the circle.
(Mark are you going to be moving?)
Yes, I will be in there.
(You’re going to have to move alright?)
I will be in the circle as well.
(Group interacting and saying “How’s it going?” “Cool thanks” as part of Izzat You)
Alright, you may now open your eyes. You got it?
(Applause for completing Izzat You)
I take it from that level of ecstasy that we found the right spots?
Nicely played. Fantastic.
Real quick, what were some of the things that helped. What helped you find the right spot? How’d you know you’re in the right spot?
Blind luck? It could’ve been. Completely random.
(The sound of voice.)
The voice. So listening carefully, because I don’t know about you, but I know for a while you were saying “Mark, speak!” I was, but I obviously couldn’t be heard on the other side of the group at some point. But I actually heard that.
(That was me.)
So listening to a voice.
(Someone who had an accent was huge. You know, Natalie from the UK.)
Couple of accents, yeah.
(Yeah, Barbados but yeah.)
Nice. Very good. Anything else that came into play that helped you know that you’re in the right spot.
(Well if you had a male and a male, and I’m a female, like just some people might have a woman or a guy on the other side.)
Yes. Jack was pretty tall. I knew, I could not hear his voice as strongly as I knew that this was possibly him, because I could feel that he was a little taller. So that was something that was also a play for me as I was working through the game as well.
How To Play Narrative
Start with your group standing in a circle.
Then, without giving anything away, ask each person to greet the neighbour on their left with a laid-back “HOW’S IT GOING?” and to answer the neighbour on their right with an agreeable “IZZAT YOU?”
Repeat these greetings several times with the requisite turning of heads.
Upon concluding this exchange of greetings, ask everyone to close their eyes, and, assuming the bumper’s up position, invite everyone to mingle into the centre of the circle for a short while. With their eyes closed at all times, each person should move silently in and out of the melee using their bumpers to fend off people where necessary.
At a point you believe your group is sufficiently mixed-up, call “STOP” and remind people to keep their eyes closed.
Now, instruct everyone to re-form the circle so that they are standing between their two original neighbours, but only using the phrases “HOW’S IT GOING?” and “IZZAT YOU?” to guide them. Nothing else can be said or communicated.
Clearly, each person will have to rely heavily on their listening skills to get them home and in the correct sequence.
The ultimate aim for the group is to complete their task as accurately, quickly, and safely as possible.
Practical Leadership Tips
There are many ways you can lead up to this activity, but the bottom line is that you start with your group standing in a circle. Take a look at Velcro Circle, Gotcha and Bumpity Bump Bump Bump as just three examples.
As individuals will have their eyes closed (and are therefore vulnerable,) consider your sequence and your group’s preparedness carefully before launching into this exercise.
In case it’s not obvious, the actual greetings are irrelevant. As evidenced in the Video Tutorial, use any two greetings that make sense for your group, but make them fun.
Observe that some people will rely on more than just the sound of their neighbour’s voices to find their way back home, eg feel of clothing and height of a person, length of their hair, the scent of fragrance, etc.
While most people will choose to return to the same position (ie place on the floor, ground, etc) they were standing when the circle formed, this is not necessary. All that is required is to be positioned between their two original neighbours.
When it appears that most of the group believes that the circle has been formed – regardless of whether it is or not – stop the activity and ask people to open their eyes.
Note, if you happen to be a part of the exercise, be sure to let your neighbours/group know that you will assume your position in the circle, even though you have the special privilege of sight throughout the activity.
Continuous Improvement: Perform the task two or more times, inviting the group to develop strategies for reducing their time between rounds.
Animal Noises: Play King Frog at some point prior to this activity. When the group is appropriately mixed-up with their eyes closed, challenge your group to find their way back home by only making the noise of the very first animal they created.
Fast-paced & challenging name-recall group initiative.
Fun, movement-based name-game ideal for familiar groups.
Rapid & highly-interactive greeting exercise for groups.
Useful Framing Ideas
It is said that everyone of us has been blessed with a unique voice – no one else sounds exactly the same as our own voice. But how well do you know and listen to the voices of other people around you? This next exercise will test your ability to distinguish between many different voices…
It is said that when someone is unfortunate enough to lose access to one of their senses, such as vision, the sensitivity of one or more of their other senses increases, such as their hearing. Observe what particular senses you rely on most in this next activity, you may be surprised by the result…
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 playful, blindfold group initiative:
Initially, were you concerned it would be difficult to find your neighbours? Why?
What were some of your first ‘observations’ as everyone started to locate their neighbours?
What helped you find your neighbours in the circle? What didn’t help?
As your sight was impaired, what other senses were used to assist you?
If you had to choose, which one sense would you be willing to live without? Why?
The inspiration for Izzat You?, and many more no-prop group initiatives, was sourced from the following publication: