Actions Speak Louder
This activity is based on participants reading a series of statements and
deciding which statements apply to whom. This leads to a discussion on
how quickly people make judgments about one another, how accurate these
judgments are, and the effect of these judgments during the appraisal
This group activity can be used when covering the topic of stereotyping and
objectivity. It is most effective with individuals who have not met before or
who know only a little about one another. It can be used as an icebreaker. It
is an exercise that can stimulate a great deal of discussion.
To highlight how participants stereotype and make judgments
To examine the accuracy of these judgments
To examine the effect of stereotyping on the appraisal process
40 minutes
Flipchart and markers
Handout 1.1
Name badges
1. Before the start of the activity, write each of the suggested statements
from Handout 1.1 on separate pieces of flipchart paper. Hang each piece
of paper on the wall around the room.
2. Give every participant a name badge. At this stage of the activity, do not
state the objectives of the exercise.
3. Distribute Handout 1.1 and ask everyone to consider individually which
statement applies to whom. Allow a few minutes for consideration.
4. Ask everyone to write the names of the participants to whom each
statement applies on the appropriate piece of paper on the wall.
Individuals can write more than one name under each statement.
5. Review the activity by asking the group to comment on how they reached
their decisions. Ask why some participants felt that a particular statement
applied to certain individuals and others felt that the same statement did
not apply. Ask the group if the statements made about them were
50 Activities for Performance Appraisal Training
6. Explain the factors that contribute to why people stereotype one another.
Ensure that the following points are covered:
Past experiences
Personal values
Prejudices and biases
7. Ask the group to comment on the effect stereotyping can have on the
appraisal process. List answers on the flipchart, including points such as:
Lack of trust in the appraisal system
Unfair appraisals
Less effective team
Unmotivated team
Pay and promotional restrictions
Poor selection of individuals for new opportunities
8. Conclude the session by asking the group to consider the steps that can
be taken to avoid stereotyping. Ensure that the following suggestions are
Be continually aware of personal prejudices, values, and beliefs.
Base all decisions on factual evidence.
Keep an open mind. Never assume you know the answer before you
have asked the individual the question.
Allocate ample time to communicate with your team.
Reproduced from 50 Activities for Performance Appraisal Training
Wendy Denham and Jane Jestico, HRD Press, Inc.
Handout 1.1
These people hold left-wing views.
These people play a musical instrument.
These people drive a sports car.
These people are vegetarians.
These people own a dog.
These people are introverts.
These people have children.
These people are successful.

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