Light, Medium, Heavy


To encourage the participants to make personal statements.


15 to 20 minutes


Stimulus cards. These cards contain words or phrases that the participants talk about. Create your own packet of about 20 cards to suit your participants and your topic.

Paper and pencil for keeping sco re

Example: Here are some of the stimulus words that we used in a workshop on teambuilding: lemonade, followers, income tax, freeloaders, my role, groundrules, goal, waste of time, computers, budget, beeper, midnight, window, money, short people, and leadership. Note that some words are related to the topic and some are irrelevant; some are bland and some are potentially embarrassing.


3 to 7. If you have more participants, divide them into roughly equal-sized groups of 3 to 7 and have the groups play in a parallel fashion.

Flow of the game:

  1. The stimulus cards are shuffled and placed face down in the middle of the table.
  2. The first player picks up the top card and reads the stimulus word. This person now has to make a personal statement related to the word that reveals something about himself or herself. This statement should not take more than a minute.

    Example: Greg picks up the card with the stimulus word lemonade and says

    When I was about 9 years old, my mother always asked me to get lemonade for my grandfather. I used to spit in the glass before getting the lemonade because I guess I didn't like my grandfather. When he died recently, he left me a lot of money. I feel very guilty about what I did during those lemonade days.

  3. After the statement, each of the other players holds up 1, 2, or 3 fingers to indicate how personally revealing the statement was. A light or flippant statement gets 1 point. A heavy, emotional, embarrassing statement gets 3 points. Other statements belong to the medium category and get 2 points. Different players may hold up different numbers of fingers. The speaker counts the total number of fingers and writes it down on his or her scorecard.

    Example: The four other players found Greg's statement schmaltzy. They all gave him 3 points, for a total of 12.

  4. If a player does not want to talk about a particular stimulus word, he or she can pass, getting no points for the round. The next participant may then use the skipped card, or pick a new card.
  5. The activity continues with the next player picking up a new stimulus card. All players keep track of their total scores.
  6. Depending on the available time, the activity may end after the third, fourth, or fifth round. Make sure that everyone has an equal number of turns.