- To allow people to get to know and appreciate one another better, through discovering both common and unique interests and experiences.
- To help level the playing field within a group through making human connections that aren't related to either organizational or power structures.
- To help people begin to be more comfortable talking and listening with one another.
- To begin to facilitate the process of people exposing something of themselves and their ideas to a group.
- But most of all -- to have some FUN!
In groups of three to eight (depending on how much time you want to devote to this exercise) have individuals take turns making three statements about themselves -- two which are true; one that is a lie.
After an individual makes their statements, the other folks in the group discuss among themselves which seem most plausible and what is most likely to be the lie. Once they come to some sort of consensus, the individual who made the statements not only tells which is the "lie" but also provides a bit more background about the "truths" as well as what made them think folks might have thought the "lie" was a "truth."
A group of three can easily do this in less than 10 minutes. A group of eight can take from 20 to 30 minutes.
This game works well with groups that are new to one another. It is often surprising how relative strangers can instinctively pick up the nuances between truths and lies based on very little information. The game also works well with groups that have been together awhile and think they know a lot about each other. The first person or two asked to make statements can find it pretty difficult, but after a couple of folks have taken a turn others typically find it easier to do. One way to help alleviate this and make the process run smoother is to alert a couple of people beforehand to begin thinking so that they can be somewhat more ready to volunteer. This type of a "plant" can make it much easier for folks who come later because they won't see someone "struggle" and get "uptight" about their ability to "perform." Another way to get around the difficulty the "first" folks have is to start it yourself.
This exercise can also be done "electronically" with groups that aren't physically located together, but have been "assembled" to work together on some task -- for example a cross-functional committee or a committee of a national association that has folks from across the country participating. It takes a little longer -- a group of seven I once participated in took a month of calendar time to do an e-mail version of this -- but it provided the same benefits.