Playing With Communication Portrayal Game Session Facilitation Guide
Introduction Portrayal is a high-energy, social interaction game where players attempt to describe, draw, and evaluate wacky images. Portrayal can be played in groups of three or more people.
Team Building / Training Goals • Portrayal can be used to demonstrate several themes in effective communication in a humorous and engaging way: • The curse of one-way information flow – how feedback completes the communications loop • The impact of diversity on communication • “Hearing” the forest and the trees – extracting both details and “the big picture” from messages
Team Building / Training Goals (cont’) • Portrayal provides relevant segues for groups to discuss real-world analogies of various game features. • What are some of the communication challenges that face your organization? • What are some strategies for overcoming these challenges? • By discussing these issues in the context of a gaming session, participants are more likely to provide opinions and not feel threatened. • Participants develop additional sense of camaraderie. This isn’t “business as usual”.
Anatomy of a Portrayal Game Session • Have a table and chairs available for each game. • Three or more people can play the game. It is easy to have multiple games going at the same time to keep teams small and total play time short. • You may print important slides from the presentation to hand out, if you do not have a laptop/projector to show them electronically. • Not including set up, review of rules, and any formal discussions during play, expect that the duration of a game is about five minutes per player. E.g. a game with six players will take about 30 minutes to finish. • Review the agenda and goals for the activity with the group. If the timeline is strict, be sure to make players aware of this and make occasional announcements as your planned endpoint approaches. In most cases, playing the game is secondary to the follow-up discussion, so be sure to allow time for that. • Make sure each player has score sheets and a pencil. Ensure that the other game components are all present. • Review the rules with all players before beginning. Feel free to make use of an actual game to demonstrate a typical round to the audience. • Monitor player’s progress and keep things moving throughout the game. Be accessible to answer questions, but don’t rely on them to indicate uncertainty. As a facilitator, do not hesitate to “butt in” and ask probing questions or simply observe the action close-up. • At the appropriate time before, during, and/or after game play, review the presentation materials and encourage discussion around the topics or questions that pertain to the goals of the session. • Snacks during the session never hurt . They do wonders to bolster morale during the session and promote participation. • Consider giving the games to winning players as a prize at the end of the session. • At the conclusion of the session, seek feedback about whether the stated goals of the session had been achieved.
Portrayal Rules in a Nutshell • Official Rules Available Here • In each round, one player is the “portrayer” and the rest of the players are “artists”. • The portrayer selects a scene card and inserts it into the concealment folder without reading the 10 criteria on the card. • The portrayer rolls the die to choose the “golden criteria”; it’s worth three points. • The portrayer reads the title and the card and then starts the timer. • The portrayer has 90 seconds to describe the image on the scene card using any words he/she wishes, but no gestures. • The artists attempt to draw the image based solely on the portrayer’s description; they cannot ask questions or provide feedback to the portrayer. • At the end of the 90 seconds, the artists all exchange drawings. • The portrayer reads the criteria on the scene card one by one and each artist determines if the image they are judging meets the criteria. • The artists receive one point for each criteria met (three for meeting the golden criteria). The portrayer receives one point for each criteria that at least one artist’s drawing satisfies. • After scoring, players may see the actual image and review each other’s drawings. This “art show” will generate quite a few laughs. • The next round begins and a new player becomes portrayer.
Additional Suggestions • Feel free to modify the session slides to meet your specific goals for your team building session. • Be sure to review the notes for each session slide to get additional information about the slide and suggestions for how you may want to customize it. • Options for modifying the game rules to further explore the communication themes are offered in the slides notes.