This exercise is most often the first activity in a beginning level workshop after the usual logistics/history/check-in. Penny Wassman experiences it as an opportunity for people to build connection with one another. For me this exercise is most often the first activity in a beginning level workshop after the usual logistics/history/check-in. I experience it as wonderfully alive. It's also an opportunity for people to build connection with one another. It has worked well for a variety of different groups, whatever the age level, history or current life challenges. I usually use a flipchart or a whiteboard. The exercise has four parts: Part 1 (about 5 minutes)Ask participants within the large group to remember a recent time involving another person that they did not enjoy. I then ask, "What did you say to the other person that you now regret and/or what words did you think but did not express (or repress saying)?" (Simplify language for younger participants.) I then record up to ten different responses from participants in the group on flipchart paper. (Of course, these are "jackal" responses.) When the flipchart paper has several rich jackal responses, I usually tape it to a wall or somewhere easily seen by the group and tell them that I'll return to it in a few minutes. Part 2 (about 5 minutes)I ask the participants to form small groups (three to six people depending on the size of the main group). I ask each group to respond to the question, "What is important to you?" I mention that I'm looking for one-word responses. I usually give them a couple of examples (family or trust). I ask that one member of each group be the scribe for the group, to write down the responses. I give them about 5 minutes for this small group exercise. Part 3 (sometimes about 15-20 minutes)I then ask the small groups to return to their original whole-group seating arrangement. I ask each group scribe to share what their small group decided was important to them. As each scribe shares, I record responses on a large piece of flipchart paper. Invariably, the different groups are creating a very comprehensive needs list (sometimes, depending on group size and creativity, up to 40 or so words). If words are repeated by different groups, I acknowledge them but don't write them down a second time. Once the list is complete (all smaller groups have shared their discoveries), I point out that what they have created is, in NVC terms, a list of human needs/values. I mention that it's interesting to me that we all know these needs and values. (After all, they created an amazing list in 5 minutes!) Clearly the needs and values are natural to us, but when the going gets tough--when we're challenged or unhappy or angry etc.--it's all too easy for us to revert to life-alienating thinking and speaking. At this time, I point to the flipchart paper listing the jackal phrases they had created earlier. I then spend a little time talking about the universality of human needs. It's fun to point out that different groups in very different circumstances in different parts of the world create similar needs lists. I also mention how the things that are really important to us (needs) have abstract qualities. Needs are not really concrete at all. Even when we talk about family, we're really talking about love, sharing, comfort etc, This can often be a natural segue into the spiritual aspect of NVC and so on, whatever I wish to share about needs. It's also been fun for me to ask the group during this time, given the lists they created, what they imagine needs to be. Some of their input has often been quite insightful. Part 4 (sometimes about 15-20 minutes)I then point to the list of jackal phrases and say something like, "If needs are so natural to us (after all you compiled your list in 5 minutes), why is it that when the going gets tough, we so often revert to life-alienating thought patterns and language like these phrases?" This question then leads me naturally to a discussion about disconnects (conditioned or habitual behaviours and language like diagnosis, demands, deserve, denial of responsibility, etc.). Both the needs list and the list of jackal phrases are left visible to the group for the duration of the workshop and often referenced. Sometimes a group member will request a copy of "their needs list" — participants are often delighted with their own creativity.