Broken Telephone/Broken Telegraph - A Classic
This may be the most widely known game/activity in the world. In part that's because it can be used as an icebreaker, energizer, and to teach communication and conflict concepts. Your probably know it but just in case, here's the detail.
One person is given a short sentence by the facilitator, or can write one down. He then whispers it into the ear of the next person, who in turn, passes it on to the next, and so on. There's no need to go beyond 15 people in the chain.
Then the last person is asked what she heard, and then the first person is asked what the original message was. Usually hilarity ensues as the two never match, and often change in fascinating ways.
Verbal exercise that can be used as a basis for discussion on issues like communication and conflict, or as an icebreaker or energizer, since it's always funny, but see the caution.
Anyone that can talk, including young children who love this.
Ideal Group Size
10-15 people should be in each chain, but you can have any number of chains. Ideal for a huge group exercise, for example, in an auditorium.
Time For Exercise
As little as five minutes, but depends on how you de-brief
Detailed Instructions If Needed
Additional Information if Available
The only problem with this exercise is if many participants "know" the game. It still works just as well, but it's not quite as funny or surprising. On balance, not a big problem. A classic.