3 Truths and 1 Lie Opening Activity

November 3rd, 2008


“3 Truths and a Lie” is the most successful opener I have used in my technical & industrial product and service training sessions.

Participants in my classes are mostly men – service technicians, technical salesmen, etc. They are resistant at first, but this opener quickly takes the pressure off and allows me to get to know them and allows them to get to know each other.

3 Truths and a Lie
Class Size: any
Group Size: 4-6 participants
Time: 20 minutes

Method: Break the class into small groups of 4-6 people. Give each participant a piece of blank paper. Instruct them to fold the paper in half as you fold your own piece of paper in half and show the class.

Next, tell the class they’re going to write 4 facts about themselves on the top half of the paper – 3 should be true and 1 should be false. Repeat the instructions - each person write 3 truths and 1 lie about him/herself in any order on the top half of the paper.

Give the class 5 minutes to write 3 truths and a lie. While everyone is writing, write 3 truths and a lie about yourself. (For example: 1) I’ve never had a broken bone. 2) I’m an avid fisherwoman. 3) I speak Hungarian. 4) I have a pet rabbit. The lie is #2.)

At the end of 5 minutes, you go first. Share your 3 truths and 1 lie with the class. Instruct them to write your name, the statement they think is a lie, and why it’s a lie on the bottom half of their papers. Ask everyone for the lie and ask for a couple different explanations why. Then reveal the lie.

Now it’s time for everyone to share their 4 facts with their teams, one person at a time. The others in the group should write down their teammate’s name, the statement they think is a lie, and why they think it’s a lie on the bottom half of their papers. When everyone has written a guess, that person can expose the lie.

Debrief: At the end of 10 minutes, bring the class together for a large group discussion. Some questions to ask might be:

  • Did anything surprise you? What? Why?
  • Did you ever change your answer after you heard a teammate’s guess?
  • Were some of the statements given by different people similar? Why do you think that is?

Depending on time and group size, you may also want to go around the room and hear everyone’s names, companies, locations, and roles as part of the opener.

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2 Responses to “3 Truths and 1 Lie Opening Activity”

  1. jack on November 3, 2008 10:24 pm

    It’s fun when the statements reveal something fun or quirky about a person. For instance,

    1. I’ve eaten a Philly Cheese Steak in Philly.
    2. I’ve eaten Chicago pizza in Chicago.
    3. I’ve eaten Rice-a-Roni in San Francisco
    4. I’ve eaten Boston Clam Chowder in Boston.

    The lie is 4 – I have, in fact, had Rice-a-Roni in San Francisco.

  2. rencsi on November 10, 2008 12:36 pm

    Good point. This is why this opener can be used for people who already know each other, not just complete strangers. It can be more difficult to come up with 3 truths and 1 lie, but it can also be fun to stump your coworkers!

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