Time Travel

In this interactive storytelling activity, each participant reads the piece of advice given to her or him. Participants make up a story that involves the successful application of this piece of advice to a personal project. Later, they pair up and share their stories with each other.


To imagine (and share) the long-term results of applying a piece of practical advice.


Minimum: 4

Maximum: 50

Best: 12 to 30


30-45 minutes

Supplies and Equipment

  • A deck of Practical Advice Cards
  • Countdown timer
  • Whistle


Obtain the cards. Prepare a set of cards, each containing a piece of practical advice. You should have at least one card for each participant.

Alternatively, we recommend the use of our ready-made Practical Advice Cards. We sell decks on more than 25 soft-skill topics. Each deck contains 52 cards, each with an evidence-based piece of practical advice.

Here are some sample pieces of practical advice from five different decks:

  1. Building Trust. Admit your mistakes as soon as you become aware of them.
  2. Change Leadership. Appeal to hearts and minds. Create change-related messages that unite ideas with emotion.
  3. Coaching for Performance. Take notes either during or immediately after the coaching session.
  4. Critical Thinking. Be skeptical about the “everyone-does-it” argument. The stupidity of crowds sometimes exceeds the wisdom of crowds.
  5. Feedback Techniques. Give feedback, not advice. If the other person asks for advice, start a collaborative problem-solving conversation.


Distribute the cards. Give a practical advice card to each participant. Ask each participant to read the advice printed on his or her card.

Ask the participants to apply the piece of practical advice to a personal project. Ask the participants to select some aspect of their current situation and decide how to apply the advice from the card to this project. Announce a 2-minute time limit and blow the whistle at the end of 2 minutes.

Invite the participants to project themselves into the future. Ask the participants to imagine that 5 years have passed. They have successfully completed the personal project with significant positive results. Ask each participant to connect the practical advice from the card to his or her fame and fortune 5 years from now. Announce a time limit of 2 minutes and blow the whistle at the end of this time.

Invite the participants to create a short story. This story should incorporate each participant’s 5-year projection. The plot of the story should emphasize how the practical advice changed his or her life. Encourage the participants to come up with a story that begins with an initial problem, proceeds through a project that incorporates the advice, details the ups and downs of this project, and dramatically ends in a successful conclusion. Tell the participants to make sure that it is a positive story in which they live happily ever after. Announce a time limit of 3 minutes and blow the whistle at the end of this time.

Ask the participants to present their stories to a partner. Ask each participant to find a partner. Tell everyone to imagine that they accidentally met each other after 5 years. They are comparing notes about the consequences of applying the practical advice on their card. Instruct the participants to take turns telling their story. Encourage the storytellers to be enthusiastic and to embellish their success. Encourage the listeners to congratulate their partners. Suggest a 2-minute storytelling period for each partner. At the end of the first 2 minutes, blow the whistle and ask the partners to switch the roles of the storyteller and listener. After another 2 minutes, blow the whistle again and announce the end of the storytelling period.

Ask the participants to find a new partner and repeat the process. Suggest that participants share their stories with new partners. Encourage the partners to embellish their stories with new and exciting details. Remind the listeners to exaggerate their pleasure at their partner’s success. Impose a 2-minute time limit for each story.

Conclude the activity. Repeat the storytelling sessions to suit the available time. Ask the participants to nominate the best storytellers and have these people present their stories to the entire group. Remind the participants that they have an opportunity for making the story come true by applying the practical advice from their cards.