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Check-in exercise – Paint the portrait

About the excercise
  • Purpose

    Presentation and check-in of participants who don´t know each other, in a playful, iterative way involving feedback Suitable for less than 30 participants

  • Material

    Pen (preferably a felt pen in color), paper and sticky tape


First round:
1. Form pairs
2. At the same time everyone places their pens on their papers
3. Draw your partner for 30 seconds without looking at the paper or lifting the pen

Second round:
1. Pause for 30 seconds and give each other feedback, e.g. you want more hair, or eyebrows etc
2. Based on the feedback given, improve your first portrait for 30 seconds – this time being allowed to look at the paper and lift the pen.

Presentation round:
Everyone writes their name on the portrait of themselves. One person at a time puts up their portrait on a dedicated wall, presents themselves and answers a question relating to the topic of the day. For example - when we have agile foundation training, we ask them to talk about their experience of agile.

Reflection and takeaway:
- A fun way of getting to know everyone’s name and facilitators will get all the names on the wall and a portrait to remind you of who is who

- Allowing everyone to speak up and feel that they are part of the group, thus feeling more confident to continue talking during the day

- People often feel a loss of control and cannot help themselves from looking at the paper/cheating, why is that?

- Some people won´t draw a face, only a circle for the head, maybe because they are afraid of being laughed at or feeling a sense of failure. Perhaps you can use this as an example if you talk about psychological safety and the fail-safe environment?

- The portrait will probably give you a sense of the group and their level of openness, can they reflect about it themselves?