T4T - Afflictions/Consequences

Why? Trainers often ask about the use of "handicaps" or "consequences" used during an experiential activity.  Most of the time, they are looking for a greater variety of less-than-desirable results for participants to endure after making a mistake.  Less often is it a question of ethics.

Why use afflictions as part of the training activity? Some of the strong beliefs of experiential activities come from the speed and clarity of consequences.  if "this" happens then "that" is the result and I should learn to do "this" differently next time.

Afflictions also make good use of metaphorical learning. I do not walk around the office with a blindfold over my eyes, but I do often become "blind" to situations because of my behavior.

Afflictions or consequences need to be the result of some action done by a team or an individual. Don't exasperate participants by pulling handicaps from the air to impose upon them without a clear reason. If a group is doing well, don't inflict some terrible something on them just because.  Afflictions are tools that you should use wisely and with purpose.

The following are several afflictions for those trainers who want to add to their tool kit.

The Senses

Blind- Particpant put on a bandana so he cannot see.

Partial blindness - Participant puts on a bandanna so he cannot see out of one eye.  It causes the person to lose depth perception, however, they can see what is happening.

Tunnel Vision - Participant wear coke-bottle glasses or glasses with side-blinders.

Mute - Participant cannot speak

Deaf - Participant cannot hear. Place headphones and small cassette player on a participant with the music turned up loudly.



Little Caesar's Disease or Double Talk - Participant says everything everything twice twice.

Whiner - Participant says everything in a whiny voice.

Contra Language - Everything the participant says is the opposite of what they mean.

Banana Language - After each word the person says the 'banana'.

Weatherman's Speak - Everything the participant says is in the terminology of what a weather mean might say during his forecast.

Opera - THe participant can say anything as long as it is sun to a tune (ex. Mary Had a little lamb.)

Jeopardy - Everything they say must be in the form of a question.  (This is great for directive participants.)


Start Over - The group stops their progress and begins the activity again.

Loss of time - For each mistake or "rework error" the group loses some portion of time they have to finish the problem.

Body Usage

Confusion - Participant is instruction to walk backwards wherever he goes.

Unstoppable urge to hold the back of the neck - Participant places hands on the back of his neck and keeps it there.

Attachment Disorder - One participant keeps hold of another participant during the activity.

Little Brother - Everything one participant does or says is duplicated by another person.

Paralysis - Participant stiffens a leg or arm and may not bend it.

Loss of Limb - The participant acts as if a part of his body is no longer there (arm, leg, hand, etc.)


For original write up purchase the book Executive Marbles and other Team Building Activities. By Sam Sikes. Pg. 40 - 42. 

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