Presence exercise: 1 2 3


• Helping participants to become more present
• Practice listening and awareness skills
• Introducing improvisation fundamentals


In pairs participants count to 3 alternating between each other who says the next number.
Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Number of participants: In pairs
Game flow:

Ask the group to divide in pairs and face each other. Let them count to 3 each person contributing the next number. Demonstrate using a volunteer. It should look and sound something like this:
A: 1
B: 2
A: 3
B: 1
B: 3 ect.

Have the participants do this for a while. Stop them and tell them to replace 1 with a sound. So instead of saying one they have to make a sound. This same sound is repeated every time.

It might sound something like this:
A: boink
B: 2
A: 3
B: boink
A: 2
B: 3

Again, allow participants a brief time to go through the new action. Then, stop the participants and have them replace the number 2 with a physical move like a wave, clap or a jig. Let them do it for a while and then for the last round let them replace 3 with a random word. The last round would then look and sound something like this:

A: boink
B: (jig)
A: flower
B: boink
A: (jig)
B: flower

Debrief questions:

• What was interesting about the exercise?
• What did it feel like counting like this?
• What made it difficult?
• If you would have to do it again what would you do differently to make less mistakes?
• What influence did this exercise have on your relationship with your partner?


This is a very easy exercise and yet people struggle with it a lot at first. Often people try to do it better by planning ahead and anticipating what their next number will be. This results in them not listening to their partner totally losing the flow. In actual fact the easiest way to play the game is to just be present in the moment and listen to your partner and just respond. All you need to know is what comes after 1 and 2 and 3. How easy is that? These are the fundamentals of improvisation and collaboration. Be present, listen and contribute by building on your partner’s contribution.

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