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Sync Claps

This circle exercise is simple, but challenging and very effective for generating focus and alignment in a group. Participants stand in a circle and send a clap around the circle. Each clap involves two members of the group clapping their hands at the same time. The group tries to move the clap around the circle faster and faster with as much synchronization as possible. The exercise gets even more challenging when the “double clap” is introduced and the clap can change direction.

  1. Step 1:

    The group stands in a circle.

    Facilitator notes

    Step 3 is very challenging for unfocused, stressed or very new groups. If the group struggles to pass the clap in step 3, consider using the opportunity to debrief by asking the group: “why was it such a challenge to pass the clap when the task became more complex? What would you need as a group to master it?”

  2. Step 2:

    One person starts (person A). They turn to the person next to them (person B) and the two clap at the same time, while making eye contact, as synced as possible. Person B then turns to person C and they clap at the same time. The clap continues like this around the circle. The group should try to pass the clap more and more quickly with as many perfectly synchronized claps as possible.

  3. Step 3:

    When the group has mastered the above, introduce the double clap. When a pair claps twice, the direction of the clap reverses. This presents a challenge, as pairs must non-verbally agree whether to clap once or twice. The group must be highly focused and attentive to each other for the clap to continue smoothly around the circle in this step.