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The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate the difference between facilitation and manipulation. Facilitation is helping people get to where they want to be. Manipulation is getting people to be where you want them to be. An additional learning point is that same tools and skills can be used for both manipulation and facilitation.

Choose one of the court cards (Ace, Jack, King or Queen) from an ordinary pack of cards and, using a small piece of Blu-tak, stick the card on the flip chart with the card’s back towards the class. Ask for a volunteer to come and help you with this experiment. The following is a script of what might happen if you had chosen the Jack of Diamonds as the card.

‘In a pack of cards there are four suits: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades. Please name two of them.’

‘Hearts and Diamonds.’

‘OK, name one of Hearts and Diamonds.


‘OK, so that leaves Diamonds. In Diamonds there are four court cards — Ace, King, Queen and Jack — name any two.’

‘King and Queen.’

‘OK, so that leaves Ace and Jack of Diamonds. Name one of those.’

At this point turn over the card that you selected earlier.

The trick to this is to accept what the volunteer says when the selection is correct, and to get back on track by saying: ‘...and that leaves...’ when the selection is not what you want. It is important to say ‘name’ a suit/card rather than ‘choose’ or ‘select’.

The Sixth Vegetable (another facilitation exercise)

Facilitation Icebreakers

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