Facilitation Quick Tips: Shoulder Tap
By Cody Sigel, MPH, CHES | May 10, 2017
Health Education Training Coordinator, ETR
Looking for an activity to close a training? Here’s one that provides a lovely way for participants to reflect on the impact they've made on others in the training group, and the impacts others have made on them. Everyone leaves feeling warm and fuzzy!
Title: Shoulder Tap
Setting: In-person training event
Time: 20 minutes, depending on the size of the group. For groups of 20 and fewer this can take as little as 10 minutes. You may adjust it to suit your needs.
- To review successes of the training.
- To reflect on participants' personal impacts on others during the training.
- For participants to reflect on the impacts others have had on them.
Best Used: As a closing activity to a training event.
Preparation: Read through the statements for the activity (see below). Adapt for your group if you wish.
- Reflect on the training experience. Let participants know that the group is nearing the conclusion of its time together. Recap some of the successes of the training. Highlight ways everyone in the room has learned from one another and taken part in each other’s learning and growth as trainers.
- Introduce the activity. Explain that the group is going to do a fun closing activity that will allow them to share how others have affected them. It also offers them a chance to see the impact they have made on others.
- Divide the large group into smaller groups. Use a simple strategy that allows you to create four small groups out of the large group. The small groups do not need to group together physically at this point. Ask participants to remember which group they belong to.
- Form a circle. Have all participants stand in a large circle facing outwards (so they cannot see others). Once everyone is in place, ask participants to close their eyes.
- Explain how the activity works. Tell participants that you will be reading a series of three statements to the people in the first group. Those individuals will be invited to open their eyes and walk around the room, tapping the shoulder of the person or persons who are being described in a given statement. Members of the other groups will continue to stand in the circle with their eyes closed. This process will be repeated for each of the four groups in turn. Check to see if there are any questions.
- Start the activity. Invite Group 1 to open their eyes, step out of the circle and get ready to tap shoulders. Read the first statement (see below). Allow time for all participants to finish tapping before moving to the second statement. Do this until three statements have been read. Thank Group 1 and ask them to return to their places in the circle and close their eyes. Repeat in turn with Groups 2, 3 and 4.
- Complete the activity. Thank everyone for participating. Acknowledge the depth of impact each person in the room has had on others. If you wish, take a moment to ask participants what it was like to “be tapped.” What was it like to be a “tapper”?
- This person has helped me see a new perspective.
- This person has a wealth of experience.
- This person made me smile.
- I hope to stay in touch with this person.
- I think this person is making a real impact.
- This person is going to make a great trainer.
- I learned something new from this person.
- This person did an awesome job in the practice session.
- This person has a fantastic attitude.
- I am happy I met this person.
- This person has inspired me.
- This person has great hair (or a great bald head)!
Cody Sigel, MPH, CHES, is a sex education specialist and the Health Education Training Coordinator with ETR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.