You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.

Margaret Atwood (*1939)
Canadian novelist and environmental activist

You might be familiar with the offline version of this storytelling game “Once upon a time”: As facilitator you start a here we are story: „Once upon a time, in a land far away, three friends got together and saw on the horizon…“. Then you pass on to one participant who has to continue the story.

Objective of Once upon a time

Familiarization and fun.

Setting a topic: Adopt the begin into the desired direction, e.g. for team building: “Once upon a time there was a group of eight people. They encountered a problem with…”


Basically, none – unless you want to share a transcript of the story. Then you might use software like Dragon Dictate to transcribe the story told and convert it into a document for further sharing.


10–15 min

5 Debriefing – if wanted! Sometimes its good to let the story speak for itself. In other cases you want to take it up.


Either you as facilitator or a designated participant starts a story with “Once upon a time…”. Set a topic or theme, which aims at the following session, if required. Of course, you can use this also only as a fun exercise. However, it would be a pity for the time invested to let pass the opportunity and not to influence the creative process towards a desired outcome.

After his line of text call the next one on the virtual stage (go randomly, so they all stay focused). Continue until everyone has contributed – or the story is round. 

You can also use topics or themes of the online event. It can be useful for later purposes as well as group dynamics to have someone to record the story and share later with everyone. 


Anytime. However, “Once upon a time” is especially useful to prepare your audience for following challenges.

Depending on the group you might also find these useful:

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