Back-2-Back Drawing

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Demonstrating the proper sitting technique for the Back-to-Back team building activity

Group Size


  • Clipboards
  • Blank Paper
  • Pencils
  • Drawing Templates - Paper with one shape each, such as a six-pointed star, a snowperson, a spiral . . .

Set Up

  • Have group divide into pairs
  • Each pair sits back-to-back.
  • Give one person in each pair the clipboard and pencil.
  • Give the other person in each pair the template of a shape.


The individual with the template has to get her partner to draw an exact duplicate of the shape on her sheet, using only verbal directions.

After they are done, the partners compare the provided shape with what was drawn.


  • Observer

To each pair, you can add one person to be the observer. After one round, change roles.

  • Progression

Have the group perform the activity more than once, with different templates.

  • The first time through the exercise the "drawing" person is not allowed to speak to the "direction giver."
  • The second time, the drawer is allowed to ask only yes/no questions.
  • The third time, the drawer can ask any question they like.
  • Face-to-Face

Allow each pair to sit face-to-face. The "direction giver" is not allowed to speak nor to show the template; she must get the drawer to recreate the template using only visual cues.

  • One "Direction-Giver"

In a large group setting, one person could be the direction giver; all the rest are drawers. No one else is allowed to speak as they try to draw the shape the direction giver is describing. Afterwards, have everyone compare their drawings.

  • Seven Errors

Prepare two illustrations that are the same except for seven minor differences. For example, one shows a man with a moustache, in the other picture, that person does not have a moustache. One picture shows a bee above a flower. In the other picture, the flower is there without the bee. Divide the group into pairs. Each pair sits back-to-back. Give each person in each pair a different of the picture. Each person is allowed to see only their own version. Each pair works together to discover the differences between their versions. They work on this by each one describing their picture to their partner. [Teampedia thanks John Donovan for clarifying this version of the activity.]


  • What was it like to give directions? How was it different when the drawer could ask questions from when she could not?
  • What was it like to receive directions?
  • What was it like not being allowed to ask questions?
  • Once you could ask questions, did that make the job easier? Why?
  • Why are the pictures different, when everyone heard the same message?
  • Do you think people communicate differently?
  • Do you think people receive or perceive the instructions the same? What should/would you do to clarify? What's stopping you from simply asking?
  • Do you know your teammates well enough to communicate effectively to get the same results?
  • If person x said to the group "ABC" would it be perceived the same as if person y also said "ABC"?

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