Gifts I can give my community:

A simple guide to discovering people’s gifts!

The gifts of the head, hand and heart exercise can be adapted in many ways. Below are some ways that people have used the exercise although, feel free to be as creative as you like in using the exercise to generate conversations between individuals, with groups or the larger community.

Overview of the gifts:

  • Gifts of the Head (Things I know something about and would enjoy talking about with others, e.g., art, history, movies, birds).
  • Gifts of the Hand (Things or skills I know how to do and would like to share with others, e.g., carpentry, sports, cooking).
  • Gifts of the Heart (Things I care deeply about, e.g., protection of the environment, civic life, children).
  • Gifts of the Heel (Things I do to help me stay grounded and would like to share with others, e.g., meditate, walk, breathing exercises, hang out with friends)
  • Gifts of Human Connection (Things I do to stay connected to my community, e.g., join an interest group, visit someone, introduce someone I know to someone else with a similar interest)

After introducing the gifts, you could offer the following conversational approaches as a group exercise. Make sure you let people know how long they will have each (3, 5 or 10 minutes?):

  • In pairs, share with each other what your gifts of the head, hand and heart are. You won’t have to feedback what you discovered; this is just for you and your partner.
    • Note: you can unpack this exercise after everyone has had a turn by asking questions like, “How was that sharing conversation, for you?”, “Did anyone find any of them difficult (or easy)?”, “Can anyone see how this might be a useful soft entry conversation with new people in a team/group/community?”
  • In pairs, share your gifts with each other. As the listener, take some simple notes so you can introduce your partner to the larger group after the exercise. As the sharer, be careful to only share what you are comfortable with as your partner will be introducing you.

If you feel like getting more creative, you might like to try the following:

  • What you will need: a partner, a sheet of flip chart paper each, coloured textas, stickers – this activity can take from 20 minutes up to an hour; it’s up to your imagination and creativity!
    • In pairs, find a blank wall and post your flip chart paper on the wall, next to each other. Taking it in turns, stand with your back against the paper and the back of your hands up beside your head – the other person will use a marker to draw an outline of your torso, arms, hands and head then add some legs and feet (have fun with this). Stand back and brainstorm together what gifts the first person has – use the markers to write these gifts in the “head”, “hand”, “heart” and “heel” areas of the silhouette. Lastly, write the ways you can connect to community all around the outside of the “person”. Use colours, stickers and imagination! Move onto the partner’s outline and repeat.
  • In pairs, share your gifts for the allotted time. After that time, join up with 2-3 other pairs (or table groups) and discuss the top 10 gifts you have as a group, to offer the workshop. Write these on flip chart paper, share the list with the larger group and put them up on the walls around the room. This can be a good referral point throughout the workshop to remind people of the strengths in the room.


See also: Post Growth Institute example & Harvard College Social Innovation Collaboration example

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