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Memory Wall

Object of Play

Employees are human beings, and every human being likes to be acknowledged. To appreciate employee contributions, celebrate their accomplishments, and build camaraderie among team members, a Memory Wall works wonders.

Number of Players

10–50

Duration of Play

45 minutes to 1.5 hours

How to Play

1. During the meeting, give each player markers, paper, tape, and a flat surface to draw on. Make sure you have usable wall space for display purposes.

2. Ask the players to survey the other players in the room and take 10–15 minutes to write down positive, stand-out memories of working together, learning from each other, or participating in some way in organizational life.

3. Once the players have written down a few memories, ask them to draw each memory on a different sheet of letter-sized paper. Tell them they can take 20–30 minutes to draw these “memory scenes.” They can partner with any person(s) involved in a memory to conjure up the details of that memory—visually or contextually.

4. When drawing time is up, ask the players to tape their scenes on the wall, forming a visual “memory cloud.”

5. As the meeting leader, first ask for volunteers to approach the wall and discuss memories they posted and want to share. When you’ve run out of volunteers, approach memories on the wall that catch your eye and ask for the owner to share the story.

6. Summarize the experiences and ask the players to take a moment to silently recognize and appreciate those who have contributed to their work life in a positive way.  Follow this game up with Happy Hour!

  • Optional activity: Have volunteer players approach the wall, select a memory, and try to guess who it belongs to. If they get it right, give them a door prize and ask the person whose memory it is to elaborate. If they get it wrong, open it up to the audience to guess whose memory it is. Give door prizes to multiple people if more than one gets it right.

Strategy

The Memory Wall isn’t a game of strategy, but of appreciation. The only rule is that players should recall and draw positive, uplifting memories—nothing offensive or negative.  And there is a general guideline about drawing the memory scenes: players should be discouraged from judging their drawings or the drawings of others. Tell them that the activity is designed to share anecdotes and stories—not win a drawing contest. The images are there to illustrate the scenes and, absolutely, to provide good-natured humor.

If you see a player who seems to be having trouble pulling up a memory, ask open-ended questions to bring one to the surface. And when someone has shared a memory at the memory wall, you can ask others to raise their hand if they share that memory and can offer a unique perspective. You also can make the memory wall specific to a project or milestone by drawing a large-scale visual representation of that project or milestone and asking players to recall memories related to that aspect of their work.

The source of the Memory Wall game is unknown.

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