Knot or No-Knot

Knot or No-Knot

Knot or No-Knot Negotiation Activity

If facilitated correctly, Knot or No-Knot is a very powerful exercise for practicing negotiation and argumentation skills.

Out of sight of the group place a length of rope on the ground in a pile. The rope is about 20′ long and you can use a two color rope to make it a little more difficult.

Ask your group to gather around the rope. The object is for the group to decide whether, when they pull the ends of the rope, it will be knotted or not.

Challenge your group to achieve consensus on whether the rope will end up in a knot, or in a straight, untangled line. Allow a minute for your group to study the rope, but do not allow them to touch it.

When ready, ask your group to stand to the left if they believe a knot will form, or to the right if they believe the rope will untangle itself. Usually, one or more participants have a strong opinion one way or the other.

Expecting two groups to form, invite each person to speak with someone from the other side in an effort to convince them of their viewpoint. If they choose, allow every person the opportunity to change their minds.

Indeed, as you start to pull the rope ends slowly, invite people to swap sides at any time.

Upon pulling the rope and discovering that there is no knot, invite your group to reflect on their process to make a decision.

You can do so much with this exercise. It’s very telling when it comes to conflict resolution.

See also  Two Dollar Game
Moment of Reflection
  • Did you change your decision?
  • How hard was it to change your mind? How did it feel?
  • What steps did your group take to achieve ‘consensus?’ Was their true consensus?
  • How did each person feel once the rope had been pulled?
  • What types of leadership were displayed during the exercise? How effective were these styles?
  • What is necessary for a group to achieve consensus on any issue?

The topics of this publication: interactionsnegotiationargumentationmake agreements

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