Activity: Pair Observations

The following activity is from Get Loud: Youth Engagement Workshop Guide by Adam Fletcher.

Materials: None
Space: Enough for people to work in pairs.
Time: 25 minutes

1. Introduce this activity by saying this exercise shows us how little we perceive even when we are supposedly paying focused attention on someone. Have the group divide into pairs (Person A and Person B) and sit face to face. Person A asks person B the following four questions:

  • What is your name?
  • Where were you born?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What makes you sad?

When those questions are complete, switch and have Person B ask Person A the same questions.

2. After all pairs have interviewed each other, have them sit back to back. Then the facilitator should ask the
following four questions to everyone, one question at a time. Pairs should share their answers to each other out loud:

  • What color hair does your partner have? 
  • Does your partner wear glasses? 
  • What was your partner wearing?
  • What type of shoes does your partner have? 
  • When everyone is finished bring the group back together to discuss how many people got the right answers. You may change the interview questions to something that may relate more directly to the work of the group.

3. You can reflect on this activity by asking:

  • Were people able to answer the second four questions? Why or why not?
  • What does this tell us about how we listen and communicate? 
  • How do expectations affect communication?
  • How might one improve communication based on what you have learned from this activity?

Get your copy of Get Loud! Youth Engagement Workshop Guide at
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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