description of activity

The group of participants are sitting in a half circle one empty chair is positioned in the centre of the semicircle (this is the hot seat).

Trainer is describing the activity and rules:

One of the learners volunteers to seat on the empty chair (hot chair). However, to break the ice the trainer themselves will start by sitting on the hot chair themselves, and either would have to remember all named observations or ask one of the participants to do so (if there are two trainers delivering the training the second can make notes).

The rest of participants are invited to make observations of the person on the hot seat about their origin, profession, background, qualities, hobbies, etc. – any aspect that could help to 'define' what kind of person is sitting on the hot seat. Meanwhile, the person in the hot seat and is not allowed to answer or react on the statements of the others.

The trainer has to take notes of the contributions. When there are no new  contributions from the participants, the round closes.

Now the person on the hot seat can tell and correct or add to the characteristics that have been attributed to them and how they felt about been judged based on their appearance.

The Trainer facilitates this following their notes and points out how internalised experience and prejudice, and media shapes how we see people around us  and how we prejudge each other

Feedback round of the participants afterwards. As long as participants are happy to experience the situation of sitting on the hot chair trainer starts new rounds.

Trainer might decide to run the activity 5 people I know and I (dis)like as it complements this activity.


Feedback round on the experiences of being the described person or/and the describing person show if they are aware of  mechanisms of stereotypes, attribution and misattribution, perception and charisma, body language and non-verbal communication.

information on the activity

This activity will show participants the mechanisms of stereotypes, attribution and misattribution, perception and charisma, body language and non-verbal communication. Participants get to know each other (and a bit themselves).

Learners will be able to identify

Adequate and inadequate media reporting and discuss the impact it has on audiences/readers perception of migrants, ethnic/religious minorities, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, women, youth and senior citizens. (positive/negative examples to be listed in a working sheet)


A room with chairs for each participant.






Introduction + one person on the seat + feedback round: 15 minutes max




This is a good activity for the introduction round and if participants don’t know each other well. Important is that the person has to be voluntarily choosing to be the one sitting on the hot seat and being eyed from the group.

Trainers have to be aware that people on the seat could be exposed to the danger of sensitive and embarrassing situations. Because of that could be not appropriate activity in cultural very diverse groups.

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