The World of Work Project

The Disassociated Word Game (Energizing Activity)

The word disassociation game is a simple energizer in which participants try to say a word that’s totally disassociated from the word the person before them said.

Summary by The World of Work Project

The disassociated word game

This mentally challenging energizer game works well for small or medium sized groups and doesn’t need any physical activity to be fun. It also doesn’t need any preparation.

The activity

The facilitator or team lead starts this activity by getting the participants to line up in a circle. They can be standing, sitting in a circle or just sitting around a table.

These words might be deemed associated…

The facilitator then explains that they will start the game off by saying a word. The person to their right then needs to say another word, of their own choice, that has no associations with the lead-off word. The game continues in order with each person trying to say a word that has no associations with the word the person before them said.

Each time a word is spoken the participants say either “Yay” if the word passes the test or “nay” if there’s an association.

If enough people say “nay” and the facilitator deems there to be an association, then the person who spoke the word steps out of the group or drops out of the circle and the game continues.

The winner is the last person remaining, and they are awarded a nominal prize by the facilitator.

Learning More

Team building and ice-breaking activities are very important. They help build trust in teams and help progress team maturity. They can also reduce the risks of social threat and improve interpersonal awareness.

Being able to deliver them is a helpful facilitation and meeting skill. A few specific activities we’ve written about include: Weekend Chairs, Birthday Ordering, Vegetable Introductions, Two Truths and a Lie, and the Questions Cocktail Party.

Laughter and play are also great ways to help build a team. You can learn more about how playfulness helps teams in our podcast on the subject:

The World of Work Project View

This is a simple activity that requires no preparation or physical activity and which can still be quite fast paced, fun and energizing. It’s a good activity to be aware of and use as a fallback if a group becomes a bit stale and needs a boost.

Like all of these activities, you need to tailor your approach and expectations to the group you are facilitating.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is based on our experiences facilitating workshops and events. There are no specific references for it.


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