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YLT-Paper Folding

It can be hard to get a message across when not everyone has the same information. Challenge yourself to make your communication as clear as possible and make something out of paper!

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  • What is the process of effective communication?  
  • What are some best practices of effective communication?  
  • What are the implications of non-verbal communication, including appearances?  
  • Are you capable of effectively communicating? Why or why not?  
  • How might communication be considered a process and not a product? 


  • Try to use your effective communication skills to help everyone to achieve a common goal: a well-folded piece of paper. 
  • To start, everyone will need a sheet. The pieces of paper need to be the exact same size and shape (22 cm x 28 cm is a good size). You are going to do paper folding, but with your eyes closed. 
  • Have one person be the one to give instructions. Everyone else should close their eyes and follow along with what they are being asked to do. You can talk the audience through a specific activity (e.g. a paper snowflake or cootie catcher), or just give a random series of instructions.  
  • You should aim to have at least 10 different instructions. For example, 1. Fold the paper in half. 2. Fold the lower left corner over the upper right corner. 3. Turn it 90 degrees to the left. 4. Fold it again. 5. Rip a half circle in the middle of the left side. 6. Etc. It is best to do at least 10 different instructions. 
  • When you finish, everyone should open their eyes and unfold their paper.  
  • Compare everyone’s papers – what is the same? What isn’t? 
  • Have someone else give instructions and see if everyone can wind up with the same folds and rips in their paper at the end! 


  • What do you know now that you did not know before?  
  • How were the results so different, when everyone was given the exact same instructions?  
  • How did everyone make their first folds?  
  • How did people interpret ripping a piece of paper?  
  • Why was it hard to complete the activity with your eyes closed?  
  • How clear were the instructions? How could they have been more clear?  
  • What did this activity show you about leadership? What do you need to remember when giving instructions? 

Keep it Simple

If folding paper sounds a little hard, start by creating a drawing while having someone describe what you’re supposed to draw They can’t tell you what it is (e.g. “draw a snowman”), and should just describe what they see (“draw two circles, one on top of the other”). You can either do this in pairs and sit back to back, with one person drawing and the other describing, or you can have everyone listen to one person describe. It’s easiest if you make (or print) some simple drawings ahead of time that can be described and recreated! 

Take it Further

This is the time to get creative! Try to make a paper craft using origami!