The Week 1 T&D tool, the Listening Skills Quiz, was about assessing how well people listen. This week’s tool, the Community Quilt, is more about hearing: did the listener hear what the speaker intended? The Community Quilt is a group activity that can be used for a variety of purposes. Read the instructions for administering the activity, then get a group of co-workers, family members, or friends together and try the activity with them (this activity will have more impact if you have a larger group). Simply read the instructions aloud to the group; do not answer any questions and ask them to keep their eyes closed until you tell them to open them. If all goes well, the end result will look something like the attached photo.
The quilt in the picture was produced by a group composed of two college departments that had just been merged. People were nervous about changes that would have to be made as a result of the merger. A facilitator conducted the community quilt exercise as an ice breaker/team building activity for the first staff meeting of the merged group. After debriefing the activity, the facilitator asked everyone to write on his/her sheet one action he/she was willing to take to help improve communication in the newly merged group. The words and phrases you see on the sheets are the commitments made. The staff members assembled the quilt and tacked it to the wall, where it stayed for the rest of the staff meeting.
If possible, take a picture of the quilt produced by your group and post it with your response. Was your group surprised by the results? What did you learn in conducting this activity? How do you think a T&D professional could use this tool?
Community Quilt Instructions