Tips for creative talking pieces

While past newsletters have included tips on talking pieces, this is the first one to talk about stuffed animals, their symbolism and how they help people broach difficult topics.

Tips for Creative Talking Pieces:

  • Use talking pieces that not only have a significance in the conversation, but that also offer symbolic representations to deepen the context.
  • Explore the use of uncommon talking pieces that have a place in the organizational culture. This could be photographs, books, colour swatches, etc.
  • If you are working in a cross-cultural context, find out what animal archetypes might be most appropriate to use as talking pieces and their unique meanings in that culture. 
  • Ensure that you include neutral talking pieces for those who may be uncomfortable using something else.

Here are some animal puppets with possible corresponding symbolism:

o   Lion for courage and bravery

o   Dog for loyalty

o   Owl for wisdom

o   Fox for cleverness

o   Giraffe for higher perspective

o   Monkey for humour

o   Turtle for patience and consistency

o   Rabbit for quick thinking

o   Bear for strength, hibernation, protectiveness

o   Elephant for strength and memory

o   Wolf for team work or lone wolf for independence

o   Porcupine for self-preservation

o   Moose for gentleness

o   Beaver for industriousness

o   Cat for curiosity

o   Bumble Bee for spreading ideas

o   Zebra for unchanging