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Thread: Practice Exercises

  1. #1

    Default Sample Exercises for Practice Groups

    Flexibility with the Number of Questions Asked Per Minute


    This exercise was first run at the London Clean Language Practise Group in February 2004.

    The exercise derived from filming a number of facilitators asking CLQ’s for 30-60 minutes and noticing that they averaged between 0.5 and 2.5 questions per minute.

    The aim of the following exercises is to extend your ability to ask a number of CLQ’s outside your natural range - both below and above.

    The evening is very much facilitator focussed.

    Of course, the way a client answers will affect the results, but the exercise works anyway, and shows just how much the facilitator can influence the speed of the interaction.

    Exercise Set-up

    Groups of 3.

    Client works with real topic, and answers as naturally as they can within the spirit of the exercise.

    (1) Keeps track of the number of questions asked.
    (2) Notes the various means the questioner used to ask so few or so many questions

    Facilitator starts each session with "And What would you like to have happen?"

    Exercise 1
    How few questions can you ask in 10 mins? (aim for less than 10).

    3 x 10 mins each, followed by 10 mins group modelling how facilitator asked so few questions.

    - Speak slowly
    - Use the full syntax
    - Recap extensively and backtrack often
    - Leave response-inviting pauses
    - Use nonverbal requests for more information
    - Write down what client says after they have said it
    - Repeat back ending with an up intonation but don’t ask a question
    - Ask questions of words that are likley "the tip of an iceberg of knowledge".

    Return to large group.

    Exercise 2
    How many questions can you ask in 10 mins? (aim for more than 20)

    Change round the client-facilitator pairings from exercise 1.

    3 x 10 mins each, followed by 10 mins group modelling how facilitator asked so many questions.

    - Speak quickly
    - Shorten syntax
    - Just say "And?"
    - Ask questions of single words
    - Interrupt in client pauses, or when they breathe
    - Interrupt nonverbally with gestures to their Landscape
    - Ask your question the moment the client finishes speaking
    - Ask questions which client can likely answer simply and specifically (e.g. "And where is ....?")

    Return to large group.

    Large Group Feedback
    • * Collect examples of the variety of ways people extended their natural range.

      * What were your internal responses to going outside your natural range?

      * What did you learn about your own natural pace/rhythm for asking Q’s?

      * Finally, when you have extended your natural range of asking Q’s, that’s like what?
    [On the night, the average number of CLQ's in 10 minutes ranged from 2 to 35!]

    Penny Tompkins
    Last edited by forumadmin; 04 June 2007 at 08:31 AM.

  2. #2

    Default London CLPG: Directing Attention to a Kind of Content

    Directing Attention to a Kind of Content

    I first used this exercise at the London Clean Language Practise Group on 5 March 2003. It's much easier to do than to explain how to do it.

    James Lawley and I designed the exercise to enable the:
    • Questioner to hone their skill of inviting the Focus (client) to attend to a particular aspect of their Metaphor Landscape as defined by one of seven fundamental categories of information (kinds of content).

      Cardholder to pay attention to the Focus' information so that they (a) can hold up a relevant card, and (b) know if the Focus' next answer contains the class of information required.

      Focus to get whatever personal insight they get. They just answer normally (although shortish answers are preferred to give the Questionner more opportunity to asks questions!)
    • 1 set of 'category cards' per 3 participants
      1 '9 + 3 Basic Clean Questions' sheet per person
      Flip chart/Handout with outline of activity
    Overview 1.5 hours in total
    • Introduction & Purpose - 15 minutes
      Whole group demonstration - 15 minutes
      (Facilitator selects the Category Card, each group member asks at least one question)
      Exercise in 3’s, 15 minutes each round - 45 minutes
      Report back to whole group - 15+ minutes
    Category Cards [each one printed on a separate A5 card]:
    • Form/Attribute
      Convert to Metaphor
      Moving Time
    Exercise in 3’s: Cardholder/Questioner/Focus - 15 minutes per round

    Cardholder and Questioner sit so that the Questioner can see the Cardholder but the Focus cannot.

    1. Questioner asks Focus ‘And what would you like to have happen?’

    2. Focus answers

    3. Cardholder selects a card for the kind of content they want the Focus to self-model.

    4. Questioner asks a question that directs Focus’ attention to the kind of content specified on the card.

    5. Focus answers.

    6. Cardholder changes card if Focus answered with the kind of content on the card, but keeps the same card if the Focus does not.

    Cardholder to show each card at least one for each Questionner.


      And is there anything else about (that) [x] ?
      And what kind of [x] (is that [x]) ?

      And where/whereabouts is [x] ?

      And that's [x] like what?

      And is there a relationship between [x] and [y] ?
      And when [x], what happens to [y] ?

      And what happens just before [event x] ?
      And then what happens ? / And what happens next ?

      And where could/does [x] come from ?

    • And what would you/[x] like to have happen ?
      And what needs to happen for [x] to [intention of x] ?
      And can [x] [intention of x] ?

    Advanced version

    - Add other categories, e.g.
    • Perceiver
      Recap Only (Accumulate perceptions)
      Backtrack to Focus' original Desired Outcome

    - Add 'specialised clean questions'

    - Add rule that the Questioner cannot use the same question twice to invite Focus to describe the required category of content.
    • e.g. If the category is Relationship,
      the first time that card is shown the Questioner may ask:
      "And is there a relationship between 'dog' and 'bone'?"

      Say the client answers:
      "Yes, the dog is worrying the bone."

      and the Cardholder holds up Relationship again,
      the Questioner could ask:
      "And what kind of 'worry' is that 'worry'?"

      because 'worry' defines the relationship between 'dog' and 'bone', asking for attributes of the relationship invites the Focus to describe that 'worry' relationship.

    Penny Tompkins

  3. #3
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    Default London CLPG: Variations on 'And What Would You Like To Have Happen?

    London CLean Language Practise Group

    5 May 2004

    Variations on 'And What Would You Like To Have Happen?'
    'And what would you like to have happen?' is the question that turns Symbolic Modelling from a pure modelling process (finding out how 'what is' works) into a change process (finding out how 'what is' can change). Like all Clean Language Questions it can be asked in a variety of ways, for a variety of purposes, and with a number of variations. Tonight we will explore those variations and hopefully you'll discover that this question is even more versatile than you might have thought.

    The Purpose of the evening is to ask as many variations of the 'And what would you like to have happen?'' question as you reasonably can and to notice the client's response.

    And what would you like to have happen? requests clients to specify a desired outcome and invites them to begin self-modelling. Asking this question has a number of benefits:
    • Most importantly, it directs the client's attention towards what they want or need so that they describe what they think, feel or intuit about the desired change.

      Whatever the client answers will provide information related to their beliefs about the process of change.

      Even if the client answers "I don't know" they will still have considered the question, and in the process of considering they will have nonverbal responses.

      Very often the client's response to this question is a microcosm of how they expect to resolve their issue in the future, or how they have tried (unsuccessfully) to solve their problem in the past, or how they are 'stuck' in their problem in the present.
    Any of these responses give you an opportunity to begin constructing a model of their Metaphor Landscape.

    'Standard' Variations:
    • And what would you like to have happen ?

      And what would [symbol's name] like to have happen ?

      And when ... what would you/symbol like to have happen ?

      And what would you/symbol like to have happen now* ?
    * "now" can be replaced by other time frames such as "in this session" or "during this workshop" or "in the remaining 10 minutes" etc.

    Other Variations:

    NOTE: These questions have been formulated to extend your skills in asking variations on the 'And what would you like to have happen?' question, not all of them are squeaky clean.

    Most of the following words in bold can be placed either before or after the 'And what would you/symbol like to have happen?' (AWW y/s LTHH?) question:

    e.g. And while ... WW y/s LTHH? or And WW y/s LTHH while ... ?
    • And is there anything else you would like to have happen?

      And even when ... WW y/s LTHH?

      And WW y/s LTHH next ?

      And WW y/s LTHH after ... ?

      And WW y/s LTHH before ... ?

      And WW y/s LTHH since ...? (causal and/or sequence)

      And WW y/s LTHH throughout ... ?

      And during ... WW y/s LTHH?

      And then WW y/s LTHH?

      And now that ... WW y/s LTHH?

      And given ...WW y/s LTHH?

      And WW y/s LTHH instead?

      And WW y/s LTHH rather than ...?

      And WW y/s LTHH in addition to ...?

      And besides ... WW y/s LTHH?

      And though ... WW y/s LTHH?

      And in spite of ... WW y/s LTHH?

      And WW y/s LTHH to ... ?

      And WW y/s LTHH for ...?

      And WW y/s LTHH with ...?

      And WW y/s LTHH until ...?

      And WW y/s LTHH outside/inside ...? (when in/out has been mentioned)[list:3693db1ade]
      e.g. I can't go outside.
      And when you can't go outside, WW you LTHH inside?
    And within [container metaphor] WW y/s LTHH?
    • e.g. There are limits to what I can achieve.
      And within those limits, WW you LTHH?
    In preparation for the following exercises, handout out a list of variations (standard and other) to each person.

    EXERCISE 1 - In the whole group:

    Person A writes a statement of a problem (with several sentences of description) on a flip chart.

    Another person in the group picks one of the variations of the question (see the above list) and uses A's problem statement as a basis for asking their question.

    A considers the answer but does not reply.

    The next person in the group picks an unasked variation and uses A's problem statement as a basis for asking their question.

    A considers the answer but does not reply.

    Continue round the group until all variations on the list (and anymore that you can think of) have been asked.

    Only when the exercise is finished does A briefly report on their experience.

    EXERCISE 2 - In pairs (5 minutes in each role)

    A writes a current problem/difficulty for them in one sentence and then says it to person B.

    B picks one of the variations of the question and uses A's statement as the basis for asking that question.

    A answers the question.
    A repeats the current problem/difficulty statement.

    B picks a different variation and asks it of A's original statement.

    A answers this question.
    B and A continue until they have asked/answered 6 different variations of A's original statement.

    After they have answered 6 questions A reports briefly on their experience.

    Swap roles.

    EXERCISE 3 - In 3's (15 minutes in each role)

    Person B starts by asking person A 'And what would you like to have happen?'

    Person A answers.

    Person C asks one of the variations on the list using A's answer.
    If it does not seem reasonable to ask A any of the variations then ask another Clean Language question until one of the variations can be asked.

    A answers all questions.

    B asks the next (variation) question.

    The role of facilitator passes between B and C every time one of the variations is asked.
    Any of A's answers can be used to formulate a variation question.

    After 15 minutes swap roles.

    NOTE: The aim is to make the session as naturalistic as possible while asking as many variations as possible. The key purpose is for the facilitators (B and C) to practise asking the variations, not necessarily for the 'client' to have a life-changing experience!

    Whole group debrief.
    designed by James Lawley
    Last edited by JamesLawley; 02 November 2007 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Remove visible html code

  4. #4
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    Default Adjusting In Response To ...?

    Practice Group Activity

    (The Practice Group held in Bath on 10 August 2006 was attended by 10 people who practised something similar to what follows. I designed the detailed instructions below after the event.)

    Purpose: To discover what specifically a client does or says that triggers a facilitator to adjust what they do and say in response to the client's particular behaviour and language.

    Preparatory whole-group activity:

    i. Each participant answers the following question (but does not answer out loud): What are you experiencing now?

    ii. Go round the circle and ask each participant in turn: And when you are experiencing that now, what would you like to be experiencing?

    iii. Each participant answers aloud and the rest of the group considers how they would respond to each answer, and notices if there was anything about what the participant said or did that influenced their choice of response. Leave a few moments for contemplation between each participant (people can jot down their thoughts if they want). No one comments until everyone in the group has answered.

    iv. Short group discussion about what participants noticed.

    Note: The aim here is to see if participants can identify whether they are asking questions in a 'standard' manner, or whether there is something idiosyncratic about what the participant says or they way they they say it which affects how the facilitator responds. And if so, what is that something and in what way does it influence.

    Exercise: Groups of 3 - Facilitator, Explorer, Observer. 3 rounds of 20 minutes each, 1 hour in total.

    1. Facilitator asks: What are you experiencing now?
    Explorer answers: xxx
    Facilitator asks: And when you are [xxx], what would you like to be experiencing?
    Explorer answers: yyy

    2. Facilitator silently notes if there was anything idiosyncratic the Explorer said or did which influenced their choice of:
    (a) their next question or direction, and
    (b) how they asked the question or gave the direction (including how the Facilitator used their gestures, gaze, etc).
    The session continues with the Facilitator silently noticing what is influencing them to adjust their questions to this particular Explorer in this particular moment.

    Observer pays attention to the relationship between what the Explorer says and does and what the Facilitator says and does in response, to see if they can spot any adjustments by the facilitator in the moment. (More experienced observers can look for patterns of adjustments.)

    3. Stop after a maximum of 15 minutes. Facilitator, Observer and Explorer each report what they have noticed.

    4. Change roles after each 20 minutes.

    In the debrief, participants reported that facilitators adjusted their behaviour in response to:
    - Explorer feedback, e.g. "Could you give me a minute." Facilitator waited until the they were sure the Explorer had finished processing.

    - 'Age' of perceiver, e.g. Facilitator asked very simple questions with a gentle voice of as if they were talking to a young 'Child Within'.

    - Un-resourcefulness of Explorer's CURRENT emotional state, e.g. Facilitator directed attention to something more neutral ("I'm angry" - "And what kind of 'I' could that 'I' be?")

    - Resourceful state (CURRENT or DESIRED), e.g. Facilitator directed attention to that state by using the basic developing questions which hold time still, and avoided questions which might bring the Explorer out (i.e. more cognitive-type questions such as: "And is there a relationship between?"; "And what would you like to have happen?"; or questions that move time, such as: "And where could than come from?"; "And what happens next?").

    - The typical qualities of the Explorer's DESIRED state, e.g. slow down and lower tone for "calm" / speed up and raise tonality for "excited".

    - A symbol is inside Explorer's body, e.g. Facilitator slowed delivery of questions and used full syntax to give Explorer time to access feelings or sensations.

    - The Explorer's metaphor for a state, e.g. Facilitator asked questions in a sharper tone in response to the statement "I want a sharper mind".

    - The Explorer's description of multiple states, e.g. Facilitator used a different voice tonality for each state as a way to mark out and distinguish between the states and keep clear which was being referred to.

    - Perceived 'permissiveness' required by Explorer e.g. Facilitator chose "And what could happen? rather than "And then what happens" and "And where could that come from?" rather than And where does that come from?".

    - The logic of information, e.g. the Facilitator made up a question to fit the logic.

    - Where and what the Explorer was attending to in the moment, and especially when the Explorer moveed their attention, to where, and to what, e.g. the Facilitator followed the Explorer's attention (or asked about the change of attention "And what happened just before you said ...").

    - The Explorer's meta-comment on what was happening for them e.g. "blah, blah, blah, what's really important is xxx, blah, blah, blah" - "And is there anything else about xxx?")

    - The movement of the Explorer's body e.g. the Facilitator physically matched the Explorer's movement enough to gain and keep rapport, but not enough to take on more than a little of their state.
    Last edited by JamesLawley; 12 August 2006 at 05:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    Extending the vocal range of your delivery of Clean Language

    From extreme trance-inviting to completely conversational.

    The overall purpose of this activity is to support a facilitator to be able to use the nonverbal aspects of their delivery to greater effect. This activity presupposes a familiarity using Clean Language and especially with the 'full syntax'. It is about how you ask the questions.

    The idea is that by practising the 'extremes', you will extend the range you are your comfortable with. Even if you never use the extreme trance-inducing style, the way you regularly use Clean Language should be improved. And at the other end, maybe you'll find it easier to slip a few Clean language questions into your everyday conversations.

    Activity 1 - Using extreme trance-inviting Clean Language

    In 3’s. Three rounds of 10 minutes per round, 30 minutes in total.
    Client topic: A sense of self

    Facilitator outcome: to keep extending delivery toward trance-inducing end of spectrum.

    Observer role: to encourage facilitator to go further with their trace-inducing delivery without interrupting the process
    (e.g. by only saying “more rhythm” or “slow down” or “more emphasis” or “full syntax” etc.)
    To make facilitator’s delivery more trance-inducing:
    ° Use the full 3-part syntax: And ............. And when .............. [Clean question]?
    ° Slow down your delivery
    ° Leave pauses
    ° Enunciate and emphasise words
    ° Use a lyrical tonality (e.g. as used by traditional story-tellers)
    ° Use definite gestures and eye pointing to the location of their symbols in their space
    ° Put attention on their interior experience (particularly inside their body)
    For more on 'the full syntax' see pp. 58-66 of Metaphors in Mind.

    Activity 2
    - Using completely conversational Clean Language

    In 2’s. 10 minutes per round
    Aim for ‘facilitator’: To use as much Clean Language in as conversational a style as possible
    (as if you are having a chat down the pub).

    ‘Client’ topic: An interesting experience.
    (Do not to speak for too long without letting the facilitator ask a question.)
    To make your delivery more conversational:
    ° Use ordinary tonality
    ° Use minimal syntax and selective repeating back
    ° Your clean questions do not have to be perfectly clean, e.g.
    And what would you like to have happen? = What would you like?
    And what happens just before? = What happened before?
    And is there anything else about that? = Anything else/Anything more?
    ° Add a few extra padding words, e.g. ‘Oh really’ (keep to as few as possible)
    ° Use personal pronouns occasionally e.g. ‘Tell me, what kind of ... is that?’
    ° More use of tenses (maintaining their timeframe)
    ° Interrupt as would in an everyday conversation.
    See our article : ‘Clean Conversations: Remaining Clean-ish in everyday settings’ at:
    Last edited by JamesLawley; 18 March 2010 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Formatting

  6. #6
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    Using the Full 3-part Syntax

    This is an introductory activity designed to improve familiarity with using the ‘full three-part syntax' of David’s Grove’s Clean Language.

    In Metaphors in Mind (p.58) , Penny Tompkins and I define the full syntax as:
    "The full syntax of Clean Language has three parts: to acknowledge the client’s way of perceiving, to orientate their perception, and to request them to examine that perception for new information:
    And [client’s words]. And when/as [client’s words], [clean question]?
    The overall purpose of the syntax is to encourage the client to go through the process of generating and self-modelling their symbolic perceptions again and again"
    For more on 'the full syntax' see pp. 58-66 of Metaphors in Mind.

    In particular, the aim of this activity is to put attention on the ‘middle part’; the ‘And when ......’ part and to notice how the client words selected help to set the context (frame) the following clean question.

    Groups of 5: 1 client and four facilitators

    Start with the client answering ‘And when you are at your best that’s like what?’
    or something similar, the client might as well be accessing a desirable state while providing answers )
    Fac 1: And [select all or some of client’s words]
    Fac 2: And when [select all or some of client’s words chosen by Fac 1]
    Fac 3: [asks Clean Language question about what Fac 2 has selected]
    Client answers
    Fac 4: And [select all or some of client’s words]
    Fac 1: And when [select all or some of client’s words chosen by Fac 4]
    Fac 2: [asks Clean Language question about what Fac 1 has selected]
    Client answers
    Fac 3: And [select all or some of client’s words]
    Fac 4: And when [select all or some of client’s words chosen by Fac 3]
    And so on
    The facilitators should try to get into a rhythm so that the delivery of the syntax seems seamless to the client.

    [If you are already experienced using the full syntax then you can extend the activity by (a) using parts 1 and 2 of the syntax to 'backtrack' to various parts of the client's landscape and (b) experimenting with what can go in the 'And when ......' part]

    After about 6 rounds change client.

    Then, when you are familiar with the above format change to:
    Fac 1: And ... And when ... [CLQ]
    Client answers
    Fac 2: And ... And when ... [CLQ]
    Client answers
    and so on
    This activity was run at the Sydney Practice Group, 18 March 2010.

    Once you are familiar with using the full syntax you can practice how you deliver it with the exercise at
    Last edited by JamesLawley; 19 March 2010 at 09:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Glastonbury, England

    Default which modality?

    Hi James,

    This is a very useful practice exercise for Symbolic Modelling, thank you for sharing it. It is not the whole Grovian Clean Language, though.

    David was very clear that space has a different delivery (awake) from metaphor (trance), and emergent knowledge again different (syncopated like African drumming), and I have discovered again that momentum and analogue forms require both different deliveries to match the form of the work.

    I'm presently working on a form relating to questions in the structures of poetic old English ... it is revolutionary in the depth and power of effect - I recommend reading Tolkien's "Sigurd and Gudrun" for an idea of the effect - although the wording sequence is modernised, losing some of the impact possible, it is still a great start to thinking of new ways of asking questions for more instant and holistic relevatory effects within the client's system.

    love Steven

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