The Seven Words Method allows us to realise that we do not all associate the same representations with the same term. By clarifying the vocabulary used, the exercise develops a common language among group members.
Time needed: 15 to 30 minutes
- Seven Post-its per participant
- A space to display them
As a facilitator, you state the word the group will seek to explain during the exercise.
- Individual time (5 minutes)
Each participant notes the seven words (one idea per Post-it) that spontaneously come to mind in connection with the word to be explained. Even if the idea that comes up seems off-topic, it doesn’t matter!
- Sharing and Convergence
Everyone puts up their Post-its. You help the group gather words that are exactly the same, reconcile words that look the same, and identify isolated words. The core language elements are the ones that come up often/that have been used several/many times.
- Depending on the time available, you can apply this technique to three, four or five words.
- It is possible to use images or metaphors instead of words.
- This method is used in social psychology to study the social representation (SR) of a group on a given object. In a small team, it is of interest but not significant. On the other hand, at an organisational level, it can provide a thought-provoking way of looking at things.