Activity-Negotiation skills- Push / Pull Activity


A quick simple but powerful activity that shows there are two ways to get others to do what we want them to do, we can either push them and in that case we will definitely get resistance or we can pull them or in other words convince them with our point of view, explain the reasons and tell them why we want them to  take this action and consequently expect lower or no resistance.

Time/15 Minutes

Directions and set up 

Ask half the class to exit the room for 2 minutes. While they are out debrief the remaining group to pair up with each of their colleagues when they re-enter the room and to ask his/her partner to raise their arms in front of them  so that their palms are facing them.


Round 1

Participants start pushing their partners without any explanation to try and get them to go to the opposite side of the room,  so instinctively their partner will start resisting.


Round 2

Each participant has to ask his/her partner very gently  and give them a reason why they want them to accompany him/her to the other side of the room so his / her partner will willingly go without any resistance.


What's the point? 

There are two ways to influence people PUSH as we have seen from this simple activity. If we push others into what we want them to do, they will instinctively resist.


Discussion & Debrief 

It's human nature , we instinctively resist if we are forced to do something without understanding the reason behind it. This activity clearly shows this practically and it was very clear in the first round when participants started pushing their partners without any explanations , instinctively their partners started to resist them. Alternatively on round 2 when each participant explained the reason why he wants his/her partner to accompany them to the other side of the room there was no resistance at all.