Double Take

Double Take

We all tend to skip those things in life that are obvious and familiar. And we more than often read things so quickly that we skip key bits. This simple English exercise is a lot of fun to try on just about anyone, and never fails to get a double take. This is a solid conversation starter.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

You can show this to someone right off your mobile phone or you can e-mail it or you can simply print it out on paper.

This icebreaker is about what we miss out in life. We all have a story to tell how we overlooked a small detail or how we did not spot something at first glance. If you want to demonstrate a point at how attention to detail is everything, then “Double Take” works well.

If you are trying to mentor someone or if you are coaching people at the office about the finer points, then this is a good exercise. The details are always important and we must not be so sure that we can see the bigger picture, or, the smaller familiarities as in this case.

Lend me your ears

Get your Double Take out in view either on your phone or on a computer printout.


Do you think you have good attention to details? Can we try something?


Do you have double vision?


When is the last time you took an English test? I have a little challenge for you to try – it will get you thinking.

Seal the Deal and Reveal

There will be those occasions where people do spot the double “the” words. If that is the case you can complement them on how super sharp they are.

In most cases though people do not see the extra “the” that appear in the block of text.


This really got me. When I first read it again it took me a few moments to spot the extra words, quite surprising. How long did it take you before you spotted it?


I can put it on your phone and you can try it on the next person. I am sure whoever you show it too will be just as surprised. It really gets one thinking about what we are missing on a daily basis.

Some extra lines to possibly use

  • Sometimes seeing double can get you in trouble. I'm just trying to help keep you sharp.
  • You seeing double? It's a bit early for drinks isn't it?
  • I guess you don't need extra words to make a point.
Anticipated responses and retorts

Did you also miss the extra words when you first saw this?

I miss them even now.

Does everyone you show this to miss those extra “the” words?

Just about… well, yes actually.

How comes that works?

That is a good question. Go and look at – they might be able to give us a hint.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to demonstrate a point to someone.
  • This is a good one-on-one tool for when you are leading someone in the office. Especially in a mentoring capacity.
  • For showing someone how attention to detail is everything.
  • This works well in team building scenarios – it helps get people thinking, and talking.
Where to use it
  • office
  • mentoring sessions
  • with new staff
  • with friends
  • great in a class room with students
Getting ready
Items required
  • a printout or the icebreaker on your mobile phone
  • this is as easy as it gets – just whip out the piece of paper or fire up your mobile phone.
Training required
  • None, zilch, nada, babkas.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • May lead to dizziness – sometimes people just can’t see the double “the” words and it drives them crazy.

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

a piece of paper with the text printed on it or your mobile phone with the text

size size

a piece of paper or your mobile phone in your pocket

durability durability

if you get the paper all crumpled up you can always print it again

source source

smart folk in London

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

this is best as a one-on-one tool

possible health risk possible health risk

don’t show this to a drunk guy – it may just get their head spinning

reusable how many times you can use it

once per person you show it to

training needed training needed


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