2-10 people

Although people spend countless hours in training sessions, reading orientation manuals, and playing corporate e-learning games to learn the ropes of their new positions, the truth is that most employee knowledge is acquired through social experience. Campfire capitalizes on our innate storytelling tendencies by providing a platform and a setting for sharing work stories - tales of trial and error, failure and success, competition, diplomacy, and teamwork. Not only does Campfire serve as an informal training game, but it also uncovers similarities (and differences) in people's perceptions and experiences. This session can be adapted for use as a warm-up, icebreaker, or deepening session, wherever storytelling can benefit your group or team.

Workshop steps


Prior to the meeting, come up with 10-20 trigger words or phrases for initiating the storytelling session and jot them down on sticky notes. Propose storytelling themes that emphasize positive or neutral stories, such as successful partnerships, incredible collaborations, initial days at work, business trips, projects, client interactions, inspiring moments, growth opportunities, and so on.


Place the sticky notes in a visible area of the meeting room, ensuring all participants can see them and have access to markers and additional sticky notes. Inform the group that this is a "campfire" setting for informal company training, where they are encouraged to share stories with each other. Direct their attention to the "wall of words" and give them 1-3 minutes to review the words and think of a related story. To initiate the storytelling session, remove one word from the wall, place it in a nearby space, and share your own introductory story.


Request a volunteer to carry on the activity by taking another word from the wall and placing it beside your word. This initiates the sticky-note "story thread."


Before the initial player starts their story, have them read their chosen word out loud. Then, tell the other participants to pay close attention to the story and write down a word or phrase on a sticky note that brings to mind a similar work-related story. If nothing in the player's story stands out, they can take a sticky note from the original "wall of words."


Once the first player finishes their story, request another volunteer to come forward and either put up their own sticky note or pick one from the "wall of words." Have them read the word out loud and then share their story.


Continue with this method until the participants form a snake-like "story thread" that serves as a record of the campfire discussion. Utilize your sound judgment to decide when to conclude the storytelling session. Prior to "extinguishing" the fire, inquire if the players have any insights, lessons, or concluding remarks they'd like to contribute.


Approach As the meeting leader, your main goal is to promote the exchange of work-related stories. If there's a pause in the conversation, direct the employees to the "word wall" or ask someone to share a "random" story. Feel free to contribute your own stories that are inspired by the participants' tales. Allow the discussion to touch on less positive or neutral subjects if it helps the team release tension, but be ready to handle any issues that arise and ensure the meeting ends on a positive note. The purpose of Campfire is straightforward yet impactful. It fosters communication, highlights the similarities and diversity among employees, and capitalizes on the natural inclination for employee training to occur through casual conversations. People enjoy sharing stories, so it's likely that the participants will continue discussing their experiences even after the meeting concludes. This activity was influenced by Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence (Rethinking Theory) by Roger Schank and Gary Saul Morson.

Need help with this workshop?

Anna Lundqvist portrait
Anna Lundqvist
UX Designer and AI Ethics Strategist guiding innovative product development and educational workshops
Eddy Salzmann portrait
Eddy Salzmann
Design lead and team culture enthusiast driving products and design processes
Ola Möller portrait
Ola Möller
Founder of MethodKit who has a passion for organisations and seeing the big picture
Hire us