SERIOUSLY FUN ACTIVITIES FOR TRAINERS, FACILITATORS, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANTS, AND MANAGERS.
Our mission statement, copyright notice, and cast of characters.
What do your participants want?
Playing card games with photographs.
Adding words to pictures.
Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training
A one-day workshop in New York City in October.
A multipurpose trivia activity.
An Interview with Kerry King
Thoughts from an experienced sales trainer.
Dodgeball Review by Kerry King
Eighty Tweets about Goals
More about goal setting.
All Cracked Up by Tracy Tagliati
You can make a point without breaking the egg.
From Brian's Brain
Give Yourself a Hand by Brian Remer
A link to the latest issue of Brian's newsletter.
Win before you lose.
Opening Lines by Tracy Tagliati
Where do you begin?
It's All in the Name
A summary of your responses.
SERIOUSLY FUN ACTIVITIES FOR TRAINERS, FACILITATORS, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANTS, AND MANAGERS.
To increase and improve the use of interactive, experiential strategies to improve human performance in an effective, efficient, and enjoyable way.
Author and Editor : Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan
Assistant Editor : Raja Thiagarajan
Associate Editors: Jean Reese and Tracy Tagliati
Contributing Editors: Brian Remer
Editorial Advisory Board: Bill Wake, Matthew Richter, Samuel van den Bergh, and <type your name here>
The materials in this newsletter are copyright 2012 by The Thiagi Group. However, they may be freely reproduced for educational/training activities. There is no need to obtain special permission for such use as long as you do not reproduce more than 100 copies per year. Please include the following statement on all reproductions:
Reprinted from THIAGI GAMELETTER. Copyright © 2012 by The Thiagi Group, Inc.
For any other use of the content, please contact us ( email@example.com ) for permission.
To sign up, or to donate and help us continue this newsletter, please see the Online Newsletter page on our website ( http://thiagi.com/pfp.html ).
Thiagi believes in practicing what he preaches. This is an interactive newsletter, so interact already! Send us your feedback, sarcastic remarks, and gratuitous advice through email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!
What wishes do participants have for your training session? Which of these wishes do the most participants share?
Here's an opening activity that helps the participants to generate a list of wishes, discuss them, and identify the highest-priority wishes.
Each participant writes a personal wish for the training session. Later, the participants exchange these wishes and identify the highest-priority wishes by comparing them two at a time.
To generate a set of wishes for the training session and explore their relative importance.
Maximum: Any number
Best: 15 to 30
15 minutes for the activity
5 minutes for debriefing
Identify two mediators. At the beginning of the activity, randomly select two participants to act as the mediators. Tell them that you will explain their task later.
Ask participants to come up with wishes. Invite participants to think of things they wish for the training session. If necessary, give a couple of examples such as these:
Listen to one or two examples from the participants.
Ask participants to write a wish card. Give each participant a blank index card. Ask each participant to select the most important personal wish for the training session and write it on the card. Instruct the participants to work independently and keep their wish statements brief and legible. Also, tell the participants not to sign their card or write their name. Announce a 2-minute time limit for this task.
Brief the mediators. While the participants are busy writing on their cards, explain what the mediators will be doing: During the activity, when two participants cannot decide which of the two wishes will be more appealing, they will bring their cards to one of the mediators. This mediator will review the cards, listen to the players, and quickly select one of the two. While waiting for indecisive players to approach them, encourage the two mediators to talk about their wishes for the workshop and try to predict which wishes are likely to be the popular ones.
Exchange the wish cards. After 2 minutes, ask the participants to stand up, hold their wish cards with the written side down, walk around the room, and exchange the cards with each other—without reading any of the cards. Stop this exchange after about 30 seconds.
Explain the goal. Tell the participants that while all the wishes are important, you are going to conduct an activity to locate the ones that appeal to most people.
Ask participants to pair up and select. Tell the participants to pair up with each other and show their wish cards, briefly talk about them, and decide which wish is likely to be more popular among the people in the room.
Explain what to do after the selection. The participant who had the wish card that was not selected should cross out the wish and copy the selected wish on the other side. Each of the two participants should pair up with someone else and repeat the discussion and selection process.
Explain how mediation works. If a pair of participants could not decide which wish has higher popularity, they should go to a mediator. Both participants should take turns to briefly present their case to the mediator. This mediator should listen to the arguments and quickly decide which wish is likely to be more popular.
Explain what happens after the mediation. The two participants who presented their cases should give their wish cards to the mediator and go to the Mediator's Area. The mediator should ask the player with the unselected wish to cross it out and copy the selected wish on the other side. Both players now continue to pair up with new participants and play as before.
Explain what happens when the same wish appears on two cards. When this happens, the two players discuss the importance of the wish while they wait to pair up some other person who becomes available.
Explain what happens when the wish on the back of a card is not selected. When this happens, the player with this card joins the mediator and discusses the relative importance of different wishes for the workshop.
Conclude the session. Announce the end of the activity after a suitable time (depending on the number of participants). Randomly select different players to read the wish on their card. Ask the rest of the players to join the reader if they have the same wish on their card—or if they feel that the wish is more important than the one they have on their card.
Discuss the selected wishes. Review the selected wishes, one at a time. Ask and discuss the following types of questions:
Recently, I have been playing with cards that have photographs on them. Working with my brilliant friend Glenn Hughes, we have designed 40 different training games that can be played with photo cards. You can read one of them (called Captions) in this issue.
I have reviewed four sets of commercially available photo cards:
Published by the Center for Creative Leadership, this collection of 216 images is available letter size ($380), postcard size ($340), and playing card size ($32). Grounded in research and practice, this tool is accompanied by a revised and updated Facilitator's Guide ($25) that provides a method for supporting collaborative, creative conversations about complex issues through the power of images.
The ImageSet ($325) contains 200 photographs that can move conversations forward, get people engaged, and help spark new ideas. A User Manual included with the set gives an overview of VisualsSpeak's method along with specific examples of how to use it with team building, goal setting, conflict resolution, coaching, and intercultural communications.
PicTour Imagine ($120) is a photo deck of 64 images, designed to stimulate new thinking and different perspectives. I bought my copy at the annual conference of the Creative Problem Solving Institute held recently in Atlanta. Primarily intended for use in the innovation process, these visual metaphors can also provide ice breakers, closing activities, and stimuli for story writing.
Produced by my friend Glenn Hughes, these photo cards are available in two sizes: 88 picture postcards ($99) and 54 playing cards ($49). These striking images travel well, inspiring excellent conversations. You can combine the photo facilitation deck with the photo provocation deck to create 50 activities for individuals or teams. Full disclosure: We plan to sell Glenn Hughes card decks through our online store.
Whether you purchase any of these ready-to-use products or create your own photo cards, you will find them to be a powerful tool. Have fun playing with them.
Captions placed under photographs attract people's attention and focus on the key elements. This game rewards players who have a talent for writing effective captions.
Players independently write a caption to go with a randomly selected photograph. A non-playing judge selects the best caption.
To create a meaningful and memorable caption for a photograph.
Larger groups can be subdivided into groups of 3 to 7. Supply each group with 10 or more photo cards.
2 minutes for each round (and one round per player).
Appoint a Timekeeper-Judge (TKJ). Select one of the participants at each table to take on the role of the timekeeper-judge (TKJ). Just to reassure the other participants, explain that everyone will have a turn being the TKJ during the subsequent rounds.
Display a card. Ask the TKJ to pull out a random card and place it in the middle of the table, photo side up.
Write captions. Ask the players to write a meaningful and memorable caption for the photograph within the next 60 seconds. Ask the TKJ to keep track of the time and stop the players at the end of 60 seconds.
Select the best caption. After 60 seconds, ask the players to take turns to read the caption they have written. After all players have done so, ask the TKJ to select the best caption and give its author the photo card. Remind everyone that the judge's decision is final and she does not have to explain her selection criteria.
Continue the game. Ask the next player to take on the role of the TKJ and repeat the same procedure. Continue the game until every player has had a turn to be the TKJ.
The selected photograph showed a cluster of people waiting at a railway station. Here are the captions from the six players:
If you were the TKJ, which caption would you have selected?
No paper and pencil? Ask each person to announce the caption (without duplicating any previous statement).
Want a tougher challenge? Select two random cards. Ask the players to come up with a caption for this pair of photographs.
Thiagi will be designing and delivering his one-day workshop on interactive training techniques.
In the morning session of this two-part workshop, you will learn how to design a variety of effective and engaging training activities. In the afternoon, you will learn how to conduct these activities to ensure the recall and application of new skills and knowledge.
Here are the basic details about this workshop:
Trainers, facilitators, instructional designers, performance consultants, and managers.
This workshop is designed and delivered by Thiagi. No bait and switch.
Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training
October 30, 2012. 9:00am-4:00pm (8:30am check-in).
Courtyard by Marriott, Upper East Side, 410 East 92nd Street, New York, New York, USA. ( http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/NYCMH-Courtyard-New-York-Manhattan-Upper-East-Side )
How well do you know the states of the USA? The 5 x 5 matrix below contains three pieces of information (the capital, a famous native, and a place to visit) associated with each of six randomly selected states. Your task is to identify the odd item that does not belong to any of these six states.
|Richard Nixon||Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago||Minute Man National Historical Park||Frankfort||George Wallace|
|US Military Academy, West Point||Montgomery||Alabama||Everglades National Park||Massachusetts|
|Kentucky||Disneyland||Woody Allen||US Space Camp, Huntsville||Carl Sandburg|
|Boston||Springfield||Abraham Lincoln Birthplace, Hodgenville||John F. Kennedy||New York|
Check the solution.
You can use this puzzle format for testing your participants before or after your training session, for providing practice exercises, or for creating follow-up mailers. In addition to the eight sets of three pieces of information in our sample puzzle, you can use the same format to present 12 paired sets of information or six sets of four pieces of information or four sets of six pieces of information. In each case, you will end up with an extra square containing an unmatched item for the solvers to discover.
Here are some examples of paired sets of information that you can use in this puzzle: technical terms and their definitions, acronyms and their expansions, concepts and examples, countries and languages, function keys and their functions, and model numbers and retail prices.
Kerry King has been in the field of Training and Development since 1994. She has extensive experience in design, delivery, and management of training. Over the course of her career, Kerry has primarily focused on Sales Training and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with various roles in this demanding profession. Kerry's enthusiasm for immersing her participants in the learning experience through relevant games and activities makes her classes highly energizing, engaging, and fun. Kerry is currently finishing her CPLP certification. She can be reached at email@example.com .
TGL: Kerry, what is your specialty area?
Kerry: I have been in the training industry for almost 20 years—yikes! I have worked on both sides of the classroom in design and facilitation. Most of my experience has been in the area of outside sales, focusing on business-to-business sales along with all of the skills that go with it.
TGL: How did you get into designing and using games?
Kerry: My interest in games arose as a result of sitting through dull training sessions with no creativity or interaction. I was losing my mind! And those were the training sessions that I was attending to learn to become a trainer. This is why I have always loved using creative activities in my training from my early days of integrating Trivial Pursuit for reviews to more advanced review games. The mistake that I was making was doing all of the work myself, which is exhausting. Once Thiagi taught me that the best trainer is the lazy trainer, I really hit my stride.
TGL: How do your participants respond?
Kerry: Sales people are apprehensive of most training events as it takes them out of the field, and they cannot make money when they are out of the field. Games help them engage quickly into the content and forget (at least for a short time) about the field. Games also tap into a salesperson's innate competitive spirit. The key is to ensure that the games are relevant. If they are not, then you have a big challenge on your hands.
TGL: What types of games do you use most frequently?
Kerry: I try to make each of my training sessions unique so that the participants do not get bored. I tend to use games mostly for review situations, but I try to integrate them in every logical place.
TGL: What is your prediction about the future of games?
Kerry: With the change in our workforce dynamics, games will continue to become more integral to the success of training. Millennials want a different learning experience and we need to provide it.
To review the training topic and to generate (and answer) questions.
15 to 40 minutes.
10 to 30
Organize two teams. Divide the participants into two teams. Ask the members of each team to come up with a team name.
Write review questions. Give five blank cards to each team member. Ask team members to write a review question (and the answer) on each card. Ask each team to collect the review cards from its members, remove duplicates, and get ready to ask—and answer—questions.
Explain the object of Dodgeball Review. The goal of this game is to eliminate opposing players by getting them “out” by asking a question that stumps them or by correctly answering a question presented by an opposing player.
Start the game. Ask all participants to stand.
Explain how the game is played. Explain these rules in your own words:
Determine the winning team. The first team to eliminate all members of the opposing team wins the game.
Want to simplify scheduling? Play the game for exactly 10 minutes. The team with the most players standing when time is called is the winner.
Don't want to penalize players for writing easy questions? Change rules so that you can only get “out” by answering a question incorrectly.
The unmatched item is Everglades National Park.
Here are the six states, each with three additional pieces of information:
The participants watch as the facilitator squeezes an egg without breaking it. Later, the facilitator cracks the egg to prove it is raw.
To demonstrate how we manage stress in our lives.
One or more
2 minutes for the activity.
3 minutes for the debriefing.
Conduct the first demonstration. Raise your arm so that it is visible to all the participants. Make it dramatic by rolling up your sleeves so that your hands are visible to all participants. Pick up an egg and ask the participants to watch what you are doing. Squeeze the egg and explain that the egg did not crack because there was consistent pressure all around.
Conduct the second demonstration. Show that the egg is raw by cracking it a clear glass or dish.
In your own words ask the participants why did the egg not crack when it was squeezed on all sides, but cracked easily when it was hit against the side of the glass?
Continue the debriefing discussion to relate this demonstration to real-world examples about how we manage stress in our personal and professional lives.
We can manage small stresses all around us. However, when a large stress impacts on one area of our lives it can be too much.
When we live a balanced life, relief on one side cancels out the stress on the opposite side.
Want to encourage more participation? Provide an egg and a dish for all the participants to follow along while you demonstrate the activity.
Conducting an online learning session? Record your demonstration on video and embed it in your presentation.
The human hand was the catalyst for brain evolution and even enabled us to learn to stand erect. This month it provides inspiration for dealing with the people and ideas that interfere with our ability to manipulate the environment to our own satisfaction. Power Tip: Look to opposition as a source of strength and precision.
Read more in the June 2012 issue of Firefly News Flash: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2012/June%202012.htm .
TicTac is an online game that is especially useful for reviewing training content.
When you begin the game, the screen shows a 3x3 grid with a category (or a topic) displayed in each of the nine cells. When you click a category, a question pops up. If you type the correct answer, the cell is marked with an “X”. If your answer is incorrect, an “O” appears on the cell.
As in the game Tic-Tac-Toe, your objective is to get three Xs in a straight line. When that happens, you win.
If you get three Os in a straight line (by repeatedly typing incorrect answers), you lose the game.
Play our sample game European countries : http://thiagi.net/tgl/wgs/8934/ . You can play the game repeatedly. Every time you play again, you may get different categories and questions, arranged in a different order.
In these days of continuous partial attention ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_partial_attention ), it can be challenging as a facilitator to grab our participants' attention. The best time to use attention-grabbing techniques is during our opening comments.
Which opening technique do you most often use to engage your participants?
(The poll opens in a new window.)
What opening technique do you use and why do you think it's effective?
(The survey opens in a new window.)
You may include your name along with your response, or if you prefer, keep it anonymous.
Last month we asked you to select the word that you prefer for referring to the people who attend your training sessions. Here's how you responded:
(Percentages reflect 183 votes received by June 28, 2012.)
We also asked why you prefer this word. Here are some of your responses:
Response #7) I work in a company, and student sounds too much like school, and learner sounds too much like training. Participant implies attendance AND interaction via participation.
Response #3) I use the word “learner” as it is the key word used in many of the adult learning literature.
Response #2) I like “participant” because it reinforces that learning is active, not merely receptive. Learning is a lot like starting a fire by rubbing sticks together. The learning fire is kindled by the spark that comes from rubbing two ideas together.
Thanks for your responses.
Several months ago, I wrote about a basic type of learning called multiple discrimination that requires you to differentiate among different stimuli and to provide the appropriate responses.
If you have to memorize vocabulary items, technical terms, people's names, or part numbers, the traditional way is to drill yourself using flashcards.
Anki is an easy-to-use and powerful program that enables you to create, use, and share digital flashcards. You create your own deck of flashcards by typing questions (stimuli) and correct answers (responses). You can use images, audio, and video. You can specify how many items you want to review each day. When you do your review, you self-score your responses and decide whether the item was difficult, good, easy, or very easy. Depending on your rating, the item will be repeated soon or after an appropriate number of days.
You can learn more about Anki by watching the introductory video, reading the user manual, and reviewing the FAQs.
The program works on different computers and different operating systems. You can download the latest version by going to http://ankisrs.net/ . It's free, and we strongly recommend that you give an appropriate donation.