team

Appreciation Train

This exercise is useful for bringing groups together, to create interpersonal bonds, and to build trust. Participants stand opposite each other and have 30 seconds to give appreciative feedback to the other person. The group rotates until everyone has given feedback to everyone else. It is often used as part of wrap-up activities, to create an energized feeling to leave with.

  1. Step 1:

    Introduce the exercise by explaining that this is a fast and fun method of giving appreciative feedback. Everyone will give feedback to everyone else in the group, and the feedback will be positive: What I appreciate about you is…

    Explain that it’s a slightly tricky process to get right, but that if they follow the instructions it should go smoothly.

    Facilitator notes

    This is a fast, loud, and fun exercise, which will leave participants excited and energized. It’s also logistically harder than it sounds. We recommend testing the lines and chain concept beforehand to make sure you are confident that it will work.

  2. Step 2:

    Split the group exactly in half and put the halves in two lines, with each person facing a partner in the other line. If you have an odd number of people then one person should stand at one end without a partner.

  3. Step 3:

    Call one line Left and one Right. Explain that the people on the left will have 30 seconds to give feedback to their partner. You will shout SWITCH, they will then switch and the partner on the right will give feedback to the partner on the left.

    Remember that they should start their feedback with: What I appreciate about you is...

  4. Step 4:

    When both lines have given feedback you will shout MOVE. Everyone takes a step to their left, and should be facing a new partner.

    It is useful to imagine the two lines as a chain, with the people at the end of each line moving round to the other line. If done properly, everyone will have partnered and given feedback to everyone else.

    Depending on the number of people in the group, you will find that sometimes there may be a person standing at one end, or both ends, with no partner. This always happens. Ask them to stand and reflect for a moment, before moving to their next partner the next time you say move.

  5. Step 5:

    When everyone has finished bring the group back together for a short discussion about how they felt giving and receiving feedback.

    If for any reason people missed giving or receiving feedback, you can invite them to do this after the session.