Teambuilding Activity: Human Knot
A collaboration exercise in which participants, acting as an extension of a rope, must tie a knot in a designated part of the rope.
This activity promotes:
- Team building
- Being self-directed
- Making agreements
- Raising the bar
- Physical contact
- Insight into leadership
- And who knows what else
Below are the instructions:
Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Participants: 8 or more
Indoor and outdoor
- 1 long rope of 10 meters
- 1 small piece of rope
Position all participants on one side of the rope.
1. Line up the group along a rope that has been laid out in a long line.
2. Divide the group into two equal subgroups and have each subgroup move to one end of the rope.
3. Instruct each participant to hold onto the rope and not let go throughout the entire exercise.
4. As the trainer, tie a sample knot (of your own choosing) in the small piece of rope and instruct the group to tie the same knot in the section of the rope between the two subgroups. The group can choose their own approach to achieve this goal.
- Start with an easy knot and then introduce a more difficult one.
- Let the group come up with their own knot and set a goal (do they set the bar high for themselves or not?).
- Perform the exercise while group members are only allowed to communicate non-verbally.
- Assign one or two group members as coaches (not holding the rope).
What happened? (This question seeks factual behavior)
In this exercise, it is important for participants to closely observe the knot in the sample rope. When tying the knot, participants are forced to crawl through and over each other, requiring physical contact. There is a chance that one or two participants will take an active leadership role, while the rest of the group may become passive. This can be a point of discussion during the debriefing. Also important is who takes the lead and how this happens.
What effect does it have on the group if the set goal is not achieved within the given time? If desired, you can repeat the task after the debriefing, allowing the group to have another chance to achieve the goal.
What will you, or the group, take away from this?
Whenever there is physical contact, it is necessary to ensure that it is "safe." As the trainer, you will need to assess this.