Presented By: Andrea Kurth Mary Meldrum Karen Zech Fast, Fun Ways to Start a Meeting Humor



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Facilitator’s Toolkit of Openers, Icebreakers and Energizers:




Presented By:
Andrea Kurth

Mary Meldrum

Karen Zech

Fast, Fun Ways to Start a Meeting
Humor:

Easy (and quick) ways to start a meeting:



  • Cartoon at every person’s place, or displayed on a screen

  • Edible treat like a happy face cookie

  • Read a short humorous piece

  • Funny thought of the day

  • Members take turns bringing in the ‘joke of the meeting’

  • Add a quote to your agenda


Name Tag Ideas

  • Add a Droodle (by Roger Price), (pg. 35), which is a ‘borkley-looking sort of drawing that doesn’t make any sense until you know the correct title.’ People then get together with people that have the same Droodle and try to figure out what the illustration is, everyone can participate because there are no right answers. You can show each Droodle on the screen and invite people to tell you what they see. You can then make the point that there is no one ‘right way’ to see things; we view the world according to our own experiences and perspectives.

  • Put your name and: Include the city your from, favorite childhood game or toy, three numbers that are significant to you and the reason, significant first you have had in the past year, my name is NOT, 3 things about me (2 of which are true), something positive about me that people in the room probably can’t tell just by looking, something I could use some help with, something I know quite a bit about, rename your job in layman’s language.


Where Do I Sit?

Each table has a reserved sign on it. Some examples include:


  • Reserved for chocoholics


  • Can sing ‘my bonnie lies over the ocean’

  • Had a hole in their sock yesterday

  • Like to eat prunes

  • Can juggle and do magic acts

  • Eats breakfast every morning

  • Don’t know how they got their first name

  • No longer have birthdays

  • Could run a better meeting

  • Would rather be golfing

  • Sing in the shower

  • Like people

  • Never fall asleep at meetings like this


Involvement Tips

  • Have individuals write one question they want answered about the topic of the class on a 3x5 card. Then, revisit the question at the end of the class and have their classmates answer the question.

  • Use chips to control talkers. Each person receives 3-5 chips, each worth up to 1 minute of floor time. When you want to speak, you turn in a chip. When chips are gone, you cannot speak.


Conflict Management Tips

  • Post each position on a flip chart, with two charts per idea (one pro and one con.) Have participants silently post their ideas on the appropriate flip chart. Each idea must be no more than 5 words in length. Each person can spend no more than 1 minute at a flip chart.

  • Have the class choose criteria they will use to make a decision. Then, evaluate ideas against each criterion.

  • When two people disagree, ask each person to reflect the opposite position using active listening. Continue reflecting until the other person agrees that they fully understand the position.

  • When there appears to be an agreement, confirm with each class member.

  • Never take sides, instead suggest a way for the team to overcome this roadblock.



Icebreakers and Warm-Ups

  • Create a flower- Each person puts one petal on the flower, on which is written something important about them. If we can find something we all have in common, that goes in the center.

  • Dates on the Penny- Give out pennies and look at the dates. Go around the room and share something that occurred for you in the year that is on the penny. It can be something about your education or it can be just about life. You’ll need a good collection of pennies with varied dates.

  • Skittles- People grab one, there is a guide by color: Yellow, something you’re doing this summer; Green, something about work; Red, an adventure you have had in education, etc.

  • Gingerbread People- Hand out gingerbread people, who have a question on each of their body parts: what gives you indigestion (stomach), what drives you crazy (head), what you love (heart), what you bring (one leg), what you want to let go of (hand), what you want to take away (one hand). Each person takes a turn introducing themselves and answering the questions. They can write them in and post them all, with their names on the gingerbread people.

  • Draw Your School- Either a picture or a floor plan, show challenges, strengths, personalize the school by what you think makes it special. Share pictures.



Source:

Energize Your Meeting with Laughter, By Sheila Feigelson and ‘Results Through Training’, www.RTTWorks.com


Spider Web

Objective:

Teambuilding and value of team members


Materials Required:

Ball of Yarn

Approximate Time Required:

10-15+ minutes depending on size

Procedure:

Have everyone make a circle. One person starts with the end of a ball of yarn and says something positive about another person as they throw them the ball. After everyone has received the ball facilitator begins discussion about activity.


Discussion

  1. Point out how everyone is connected and we are all a team.

  2. Have small groups hold up their portion of the web (i.e., administrators, secretaries, teachers)

  3. Have all of group hold up their portion of the web and talk about the group as a team and the value of each person in the group. Without every member of the team we would not be able to reach our goals.



Source:

Varied sources



I’m Glad I’m Here

Objective:

To start the training session with a positive and humorous opening.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

10 minutes
Procedure:

Immediately after the introduction, tell the group that you’re glad to be there also. To prove that go around the room asking, “If you weren’t here today, what would you be doing that you’re glad you don’t have to do?” Keep the answers light and fast moving.



Source:

Sue Hotchkiss, City of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ



What Kind of Employee Are You?

Objective:

To encourage new employees to make advance decisions about the type of person that they intend to become inside the organization.


Materials Required:

Three glasses and the tablets described below, and a towel for clean up.


Approximate Time Required:

5 minutes

Procedure:

Fill three glasses about three-quarters full of water and place them on the tale in view of all participants. Place two aspirins in the first one. Suggest that the lack of any overt response is analogous to a ‘do-nothing’ employee.

Place two Bromo Seltzers in the second glass. Note that this type of employee has a great burst of initial enthusiasm but quickly loses it.

Place two Alka Seltzers in the third glass. Note that this type of employee produces a relatively strong but stable output (and hence is the most desirable)

Discussion Questions:
Source:

Unknown


Taken from The Complete Games Trainers Play by Edward E. Scannell and John w. Newstrom

Arm Folding Exercise

Objective:

To demonstrate one’s innate resistance to change or to being changed.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

5 minutes
Procedure:

Ask the group to fold their arms in front of them. Tell them that they should not glance down to identify which arm rests on top of the other. Then ask them to quickly unfold their arms and refold them the opposite way (i.e., if the left arm was initially on top, it should now be underneath the right arm).


Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did you find this awkward? (It was a change from years of old habits.)

  2. How does it feel in this new position? (Uncomfortable)

  3. If even this slight physical change may have some built-in resistance, what implications does this have for more substantial physical and intellectual change?


Source:

Unknown


Taken from The Complete Games Trainers Play by Edward E. Scannell and John w. Newstrom






Icebreaker Interviews

Objective:

Introductions


Materials Required:

Pen and paper


Approximate Time Required:

3-6 minutes


Procedure:

Pick a partner and do a quick interview with them and report back to the group. Find out their name, one unique thing about the person, one thing they have in common, the person’s favorite movie, the person’s favorite book, and the person’s favorite food.


Source:

Carolyn Ashton



Team Work

Objective:

Working together to achieve a goal.

Materials Required:

Pipe cleaner, paper, toothpicks, string and tape.


Approximate Time Required:

15-30 minutes


Procedure:

4-5 people per group. Using the materials provided each group is asked to construct a shelter out of the items given to them. The shelter had to withstand a direct hit from three tennis balls coming at it from above.


Discussion:

Stress the importance of working together to accomplish a similar goal


Source:

Sherry Fulton, adapted from Dr. Swain’s workshop “Communication and Teamwork”



Four-of-a-Kind

Objective:

Acknowledging and utilizing similarities and differences between team members.


Materials Required:

8” x 10” white poster board with the outline of a smaller black frame placed about an inch from the outside edges of the poster board (one for each group), colored markers


Approximate Time Required:

20-35 minutes


Procedure:

Divide the group into groups with four people each. Give each group the poster board and at least one colored marker. The group discusses four ways all four members are alike-searching for similarities that are not obvious. They then write or draw things that represent the four similarities in the middle of the black frame. Each member identifies one way they are different from the other three. Each person writes their first name and their difference on one outside edge of the poster board. Each small group then reports to the larger group their similarities and differences


Discussion Questions:

  • Are all the people in the group the same?
  • Are there any similarities within the group?


  • What are some broad categories of differences between people in this group?

  • Why is it important for us to understand how we are different AND similar from other people?

  • How can we utilize differences and similarities to make our group more effective?

  • How can we celebrate differences in our group while also highlighting similarities?


Source:

Steve Wagoner


Tower Building

Objective:
Materials Required:

Manila envelope with one letter sized piece of cardboard stock, various sizes and weights of paper, three plastic straws, three pipe cleaners, and tape of equal amounts (one envelope for each group).


Approximate Time Required:

20-25 minutes


Procedure:

Tell the large group they are going to participate in an activity on the leadership skill called managing. During the activity they will have the opportunity to practice managing resources in groups while working together on a team project. Divide the group into small teams of three to five members. Give each small group a large envelope with the supplies. The teams’ goal is to work together within their small groups to build the tallest tower possible with available resources. With the exception of attaching their structures to a sturdy surface (table top or floor) the towers must be free standing. They have 10 minutes to construct their tower. Encourage them to utilize all of the resources they are given and to involve all group members in the building process.


Discussion Questions:

  • How did each team decide to build their tower the way they did?

  • Were there any changes in the design of their tower that greatly changed the height of it?

  • What roles did team members’ play in the process?

  • How did teams resolve conflict or disagreements in the process?


  • What lessons about making group decisions can be learned from this activity? What about working together on a team for a common goal?

  • What could be done differently within each team to build taller towers next time?


Source:

Steve Wagoner


Follow the Leader

Objective:

Fun intro for decision-making and leadership.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

5-15 minutes
Procedure:

A person is chosen as ‘it’ and leaves the area while the rest of the group designates a leader. Players then sit in a circle and go through a series of motions. ‘It’ stands in the middle and tries to discover who the group leader is. All the player follow the leader’s motions: clapping, itching, stamping feet, pounding legs, waving, etc. being careful not to watch the leader directly. When ‘it’ correctly guesses the leader, a new ‘it’ is chosen, a new leader is designated, and the game continues.


Source:

Unknown


Elephant, Palm Tree, Monkey

Objective:

A fun way to loosen things up.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

5-15 minutes

Procedure:

The players stand in a circle, close enough to touch the person next to them without straining. One person is ‘it’ and stands in the center. ‘It’ points to a different player and calls out ‘elephant,’ ‘palm tree,’ or ‘monkey.’ For elephant, the person pointed at crosses their arms out in front of them forming a trunk, while the players to each side cup their arms toward the center person, forming large ears. For palm tree, the person pointed at raises their arms straight up, while the players to the side do a hula dance. For monkey, the center person holds his nose and puffs out his cheeks. The players to the right and left scratch their armpits.

After calling out a position, ‘it’ watches to see who the last person is to respond correctly. That person becomes ‘it’ and trades places with the person in the center. If everyone responds at the same time, play continues and ‘it’ points at another person.

Option 2: The person in the center stays ‘it’ the entire game. When someone is called out (instead of ‘it’) they are out of the game. The last three are the winners.

Discussion Questions:
Source:

Amy Bunselmeyer



Question Mixer
Objective:

To get to know others in the group.


Materials Required:

Question cards (enough for each participant)

Possible Questions:


  • If you could describe yourself as a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?

  • If you could be a building in the State of Illinois, what building would you be and why?

  • If you could travel anyplace in the world, where would you go and why?

  • If you could be a professional sports star, what sport would you play?

  • If you could give your parents one gift, what gift would you give them?

  • If you could go on a date with anyone, who would you go out with?

  • If you were dying and had one last meal, what would you eat?

  • Who makes the best French fries?

  • Who is your favorite President and why?

  • Are you a morning person or a night person? What time did you wake up this morning?

  • What is your favorite book and why?

  • What is your favorite restaurant and why?

  • If you had to work at Disney World, what job would you have?

  • If you could be anyone in the world for one day, who would you be?

  • If you died tomorrow, what would you like people to remember about you?

  • What is your favorite flavor jellybean? Do you just eat them or do you separate by flavor first?

  • If you could have a super power, what power would you have and why?

  • If you could travel to any era of history, where would you go and why?


Approximate Time Required:

    1. minutes

Procedure:

Stand the group in two lines facing each other, about arms length apart. Everyone should be across from a partner. When the facilitator says “go” the partners should take turns asking each other the question on their cards. Both partners should answer both questions. When the facilitator says “switch” the partners should switch cards. The line on the right should rotate over one person with the person on the end rotating to the left line to face their new partner. The person on the opposite end of the left line should join the right line. When the facilitator says “go” the partners should ask each other their new questions. Continue playing until your time limit for play is up, or everyone has talked with everyone else in the group.

Option 2: Do not put the group in lines but allow them to mix up around the room to find their own partners.

Source:

Amy Bunselmeyer



Scrabble

Objective:

Fun activity to get participates moving and thinking.


Materials Required:

One letter of the alphabet written on a card.


Approximate Time Required:

5 minutes


Procedure:

Each player is given a card with one letter of the alphabet on it. At a signal, everyone mingles until the leader shouts “Scrabble!” Everyone then has to scramble to become part of a word made of the letters they are carrying. Ask that they form at least a three letter word.


Source:

Cathy Deppe



Telephone Pictionary

Objective:

To emphasize how things can change over time or get misconstrued.


Materials Required:

Paper and pencil for each person, a sketch of something


Approximate Time Required:
Procedure:

Direct the group to form a line. Explain the procedure to the group. Hand the sketch to the fist person in each group. That individual tries to draw the same item or sketch. They pass their sketch to the next person. Each person is only allowed to see the sketch that was drawn immediately before they received it. They are not allowed to see any of the previous sketches. When the last person has drawn the item you compare it with the original. This could be done with two or more groups to introduce competition of finishing first as well as getting the drawing correct.


Discussion Questions:

  • Does the picture drawn by the last person look like the original?

  • Why might it not look the same?

  • How are the results of this game similar (or different) from the ‘telephone’ game?

  • What in our lives is similar to this?

Source:

Judy Taylor




Jumbled words charade

Objective:

Opener to activate the mind and present interest to the topic to be discussed.

Materials Required:

Words, which are cut into, single letters. Words should be related to the topic you will be doing that day.


Approximate Time Required:

10-15 minutes


Procedure:

Pass out the letters and have the players get together with the others in their group. The players try to discover first what the word is and then they are to act it out for the others to guess. For example, the group will get together with their individual letters and find they have: L, L, B, S, E, A, A, B. They put their letters down and take a look at them. Someone might suggest that the word is ‘baseball.’ This is correct, so they then act it out for the entire group.

Option 2: If you want the groups to be ones in which the participates are not already sitting together, put a number on the back of the single letter cards for each word. Then all the ‘ones’ will get together and so forth.
Source:

Adapted from Peggy Hampton



Human Chair

Objective:

Emphasizing teamwork.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

5-8 minutes

Procedure:

Everyone stands in a circle shoulder to shoulder. Everyone then turns to the right so they are facing the back of the person in front of them. Have them shrink the circle so that everyone is touching the person in front of them. Put your hands on the shoulder of the person in front of you. On the count of three slowly sit down on the lap of the person behind you. You should focus on helping the person in front of you sit on your lap. As long as everyone is helping the person in front of him or her, then everyone should be supporting the weight of everyone else. It may not happen on the first try, but conveys quite the feeling of success once it is accomplished.

Source:

Judy Schumacher




Outcomes Introduction

Objective:

An opener to help people clarify and focus on the outcomes they want from the course or session. Also helps them to get acquainted with each other.


Materials Required:

Pen and paper


Approximate Time Required:

10-15 minutes


Procedure:

Explain that they are going to clarify for themselves what they want from this course and then share it with each other. Think of some outcomes they would like from the course and write them down. Try to have at least four outcomes. They will then be moving around sharing their name, occupation, an outcome from your list (a different one to each person you meet), and a long term goal in life. They may copy someone else’s outcome if they like. When participants have each met with four other people call the group back together.


Discussion

Discuss the outcomes, stopping after a reasonable sampling of the group has been done.


Source:

Icebreakers and Energizers. The Conflict Resolution Network, PO Box 1016 Chatswood NSW 2057 Australia http://www.cmhq.org



Name Game

Objective:

Helps people get to know each other if they are unfamiliar with each other and is useful if they will be meeting long enough together to make learning each other’s names worthwhile.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

10 minutes

Procedure:

Arrange into a circle. Have them think of a word that begins with the same letter or sound as your first name (Friendly Fay, Careful Casey, etc.). The first person starts by saying the word to match his/her name. The next person repeats what the first person said and then adds his/her own word and name. This continues around the circle so the sixth person will be saying six name and word associations.

Source:

Icebreakers and Energizers. The Conflict Resolution Network, PO Box 1016 Chatswood NSW 2057 Australia http://www.cmhq.org




Mind Chatter

Objective:

To recognize and acknowledge mind chatter (the inner voice) and to practice controlling mind chatter and relax.


Materials Required:

Pen, paper, small trash bin


Approximate Time Required:

5 minutes


Procedure:

Explain that when new activities are started, we are often distracted by something on our minds. It may be something that happened today or something we must remember to do or other personal matters. Our minds tend to chatter about it and it is distracting. This activity will help focus our attention. Have them take about three minutes to write down any mind chatter they are experiencing. If it includes anything that they must do, write it at the top of the page. If it is nuisance chatter, write it at the bottom. When it is complete, tear the top (must do) from the bottom (nuisance). Explain that they can put away the must do list in their bag and then gleefully throw the nuisance section into the trash.


Source:

Icebreakers and Energizers. The Conflict Resolution Network, PO Box 1016 Chatswood NSW 2057 Australia http://www.cmhq.org



Change Leadership

Objective:

Motivating new leadership and bringing new ideas.


Materials Required:

13 brightly colored ‘balls’ of paper with a word written on each one (see below).


Approximate Time Required:

10 minutes

Procedure:

Session facilitator anonymously sits in the back of the room. When introduced, facilitator stands up and announces “those who purposely sat in the back of the room were now in the front of the room.”

Then throw out wadded up ‘balls’ of brightly colored paper and tell the group if they caught one to throw it to someone else. They were to keep throwing the ‘balls’ around until told to stop. If they were caught with one of the balls they come to the front of the room. They then open up the balls to find words written on them in big letters. Next they are given three minutes to arrange the words to form a sentence. The correct answer is “If you do what you always did you’ll get what you always got.”

Source:

unknown


Forced Choice

Objective:

Opener for participants to become aware of some of the key concepts they will be addressing during the session and their feelings toward them.


Materials Required:

Signs which read ‘Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree.’


Approximate Time Required:

20-25 minutes


Procedure:

Each corner of the room is labeled with one of the four signs. The facilitator lists statements related to the content of the workshop on a flip chart-one per page. These statements should be clear and strong assertions that will likely provoke a range of opinion. One at a time expose the group to these statements and ask participants to go to the corner that represents their opinion. Once there they find others who share that opinion and they are given five minutes to discuss the statement and their views. The facilitator then asks for a report from each group and relates their opinions to the course content. The next statement is shown to the group and the participants again move to the corner of their choice and repeat the process. Use 3 or 4 such statements (they might represent common misperception about the topic) and by the end of the exercise participants have engaged with most of the other group members in a fun way.


Source:

unknown


What’s Important

Objective:

To emphasize that everyone one can make a difference in the world.


Materials Required:

Pen and paper (optional)


Approximate Time Required:

5-10 minutes


Procedure:

Have participates take the quiz or just read this straight through.



  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.


  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

  4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

  6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headlines of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies, awards tarnish, achievements are forgotten, accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here is another quiz. See how you do on this one:


  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

  6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier? The lesson. The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
Source:

Unknown


Forced Change
Objective:

Showing how people feel when change is made in different ways.


Materials Required:

Pencil and paper or whiteboards


Approximate Time Required:

15-20 minutes

Procedure:

Break the group into small groups of four or five and five them an introductory exercise (could be on the content being presented, discovery questions, or just an introductory ice-breaker, but make sure it involves interaction). Tell them they have 10 minutes. Then after they’ve gotten a good start on it (about half the time used up-let them get thoroughly involved and invested in the exercise), arbitrarily stop them and reassign the groups, mixing up the participants to separate groups, making sure that a great number of them have to get up and move to new tables (you might make up some kind of lame reason why this is necessary why this is necessary, but don’t allow discussion of the reason) and have them immediately continue with the new group in the time they have left-don’t extend the time.

Then when you call time and ask the small groups to report, instead of actually having the whole group process the activity you had them originally do, have them process how they felt when you introduced the change on their group and unsettled them. Done well, this exercise can effectively introduce a lively discussion of what it feels like to have to endure an unsetting change that disrupts the status quo. Next, arrange all the participants into a circle facing inward or in pairs. Have them look over the other participants to see how they look. Next have them turn outward and change three things about themselves. They will have fun with this and you will see some pretty cool changes. Have them turn inwards and ask if anyone notices the change. You will get some giggles and all will be having fun.

Now tell them to turn outward again and make five additional changes. They will complain and you can exhort them with phrases like “my last workshop had no problem doing this” or “come on, use your creativity.” Say things that manager would say in implanting change in a program. The mood of the group will change dramatically and they will complain and get mad. Once you have them make the five changes turn inward and have a discussion on how they felt this time versus the last time. This is how it feels to undergo change too rapidly and without commitment.

Source:

Unknown



TEAM Puzzle

Objective:

Getting participations thinking about teamwork, cooperation, and problem solving.


Materials Required:

Get three different children’s puzzles, which all have similar colors and are odd shapes (no corners, with about 48 pieces in each).


Approximate Time Required:

15-30 minutes


Procedure:

Get three different children’s puzzles, which all have similar colors and are odd shapes (no corners). Take a few pieces from puzzle #1 and put them in #2. Take a few pieces from #2 and put them in #1. Then divide #3 in half and distribute the pieces between #1 and #2. Now you have #1 in its box with a couple of pieces from #2 and half of #3. Puzzle #3’s box is set aside and not used. Introduce the activity with the group all together. Ask question like the following. “What is a puzzle?” “What are strategies you use to assemble a puzzle?” Continue this introduction discussion as long as needed. You’ll easily be able to adapt this introduction to your needs. At this point avoid processing. This comes later. Next divide the group up into two groups and give each group a puzzle (#1 or #2). Tell them the task is to assemble their puzzles. You can introduce an element of competition if you like by saying there is a prize for the team that completes the task first. Obviously each box has pieces of the other puzzle so each group bears some responsibility of the completion of the other group’s puzzle. Together both groups must complete the third puzzle. After all three puzzles are completed, the group gathers in a circle around the puzzles and processes the activity.

Discussion:

Some topics that will likely come out during the processing are: the puzzles weren’t easily identifiable, each group had pieces of the other groups puzzle, how did they respond-did they exchange them freely or hoard them? What roles did members of the group take on? How did the groups approach the third puzzle (did they work together or assume it was the other groups responsibility?

Source:

Icebreakers and Energizers. The Conflict Resolution Network, PO Box 1016 Chatswood NSW 2057 Australia http://www.cmhq.org



Extended Nametags

Objective:

Getting to know other participants.


Materials Required:

5x8 inch cards (enough for each participant).


Approximate Time Required:

15-20 minutes


Procedure:

Distribute 5x8-inch cards. Ask each member to print his or her first name or nickname in the center of the card and directly under it the quality she or he most values in people. Then have each member write in the following corners: Upper left- a place where you spent your happiest summer or favorite place on earth. Lower left-the name of the person that taught them something important or their best friend. Lower right-the year they last spent three great days in a row or the year they went on a big trip. Upper right-three tings they do well or a goal they have for the future. Have the participants meet in triads. Explain that the triad will talk about the upper left corner of their card for 3 minutes, which means each person has one minute to talk. Ask them to keep track of their time and share equally. After three minutes have the triads give statements of appreciation, such as “You’re a lot like me when…” or “I like that you…” Have members form triads three more times and follow the same procedure for the remaining three corners of the card. At the end, form a circle and invite members to share something interesting or special they learned about a fellow member.


Source:

Unknown


The Pike (Hot Stove) Syndrome

Objective:

To illustrate to trainees that the limits to their use of the training content lie within themselves as much as externally.

Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

5-10 minutes
Procedure:

Relate the story of the northern pike, placed in one-half of a large aquarium, with numerous minnows unavailable to it in the other half of the glass-divided tank. The hungry pike makes numerous efforts to obtain the minnows, but only succeeds in battering itself against the glass, finally learning that reaching the minnows is an impossible task. The glass plate partition is then removed, but the pike does not attack the minnows. The same pattern of behavior can be viewed in a cat that jumps onto a hot stove (once). The subsequent behavior of the pike and the cat demonstrates the Pike Syndrome, characterized by 1) Ignoring Differences 2) Assumption of Compete Knowledge 3) Overgeneralized Reactions 4) Rigid Commitment to the Past 5) Refusal to Consider Alternatives 6) Inability to Function Under Stress.


Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some examples where people you know have exhibited the Pike Syndrome?

  2. How can we help others (or ourselves) break out of it?

  3. In what ways is it useful?


Source:

Eden Ryl, Ramic Productions’ film entitled “Grab Hold of Today.”



What’s Your Name

Objective:

To let new participants become acquainted with several of their colleagues in a fun and informal way.


Materials Required:

A whiffle ball for each group


Approximate Time Required:

5-10 minutes

Procedure:

Divide the participants into groups of six-eight people. Ask them to stand, forming a circle for each separate group. Each group is given a whiffle ball (or something similar) and as it is tossed from one person to another, the receiver simply calls out his or her first name and throws it to another in the circle. Continue the process for three-four minutes or until you feel each person knows the names of the other people in the group.

Source:

Wayne Shannon, Nashville, Tennessee




Transmitting Information

Objective:

To demonstrate that information transmitted loses much of its content when passed through “channels.”


Materials Required:

A short article from a magazine or newspaper


Approximate Time Required:

10-12 minutes


Procedure:

Take any recent article (only 2-3 paragraphs) that is not currently “in the news.” Divide the group into teams of four or five people each. Tell them to count off so that each person is identified in sequence. Ask those numbered as #1 to stay in the room and all others to move outside the room. Then tell those remaining that you’re going to read them a story; they should not take notes, but merely listen to it. After you’ve read the story (with no questions allowed), ask the #2 to return to their tables, where the #1s will repeat the story to them. Then the #3’s are brought in and hear the story from the #2’s while the #1’s observe. Continue the sequence until all have participated. Then at random have some the number 5’s repeat what they heard.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Of the initial story, how much was lost in respective transmittals? How much embellishment took place?

  2. What errors or differences were observed as the story passed among the group members?

  3. How could we have increased both the facts and the understanding of the story? How do we get feedback in real world incidents?


Source:

Unknown


Taken from The Complete Games Trainers Play by Edward E. Scannell and John w. Newstrom

How Observant Are We?

Objective:

To demonstrate that people are often not too observant about ordinary things.

Materials Required:

A non-digital watch


Approximate Time Required:

5 minutes


Procedure:

Ask someone in the group if you may borrow their watch for a moment (make sure it is non-digital). Tell that person (after you have the watch) that you would like to test his or her powers of observation, and ask the entire group to silently play along with the individual whose watch you are using. Tell the individual to assume that the watch was lost and you found it. But, before you u return it, you want to make certain the watch can be identified as being theirs. Some sample questions include, “What is the brand name?” “Roman or Arabic numerals?” “All 12?” “Does the watch have the date and or the day on it?” “Is there a second hand?” etc. If the group is silently responding as the volunteer attempts to vocally answer the questions, the point is more easily made. Most people cannot totally and accurately describe their own timepiece, even if they look at it dozens of times a day.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Besides me, who else flunked this test? Why?

  2. Why aren’t we more observant? (time pressure, lack of concern, taking things for granted, etc.)

  3. Have you seen incidents where people have overlooked commonplace things and problems may have resulted?


Source:

Unknown


Taken from The Complete Games Trainers Play by Edward E. Scannell and John w. Newstrom


Mind over Matter

Objective:

To demonstrate that the power of the mind is such that mental suggestion can actually cause physical movement.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

5 minutes

Procedure:

Ask the group to clasp their hands together with the two forefingers extended parallel at a distance of 1-2”. Tell them to study their forefingers and imagine there is a tight rubber band around them. Now state in a deliberate tone and at a slow speed, “You can feel that rubber band bringing your fingers closer… and closer… and closer…” The smiles and laughter of at least half your audience will tell you they are getting the message and their fingers are closing together. Experience indicates that half to two-thirds of a group will respond accordingly.

Discussion Questions:


  1. What prompted your fingers to move?

  2. Have you observed other incidents where mental suggestions have prompted action?

  3. For those whose fingers remained motionless, what were you doing to counteract the rubber band?


Source:

Unknown


Taken from The Complete Games Trainers Play by Edward E. Scannell and John w. Newstrom

Legitimizing Levity
Objective:

To stimulate people’s creativity about the subject at hand through humor.


Materials Required:

None
Approximate Time Required:

15 minutes
Procedure:

Briefly introduce or provide an overview of a topic. Outline the key points to be covered, but don’t get into any details. Before getting specific on policy, procedures, or recommendations about how to do something, ask the participants to brainstorm all the humorous or impractical ways of achieving the desired goal.

For example, if the seminar is on time management, participants may offer suggestion for saving time (using it more efficiently), such as:


  1. Cut your phone cord.

  2. Shorten the front legs of your office’s visitor’s chair so guests will feel uncomfortable and leave sooner.

  3. Burn all the first pieces of mail to arrive daily.

  4. Have pizza deliver lunch to you in your office.

  5. Get an unlisted phone number.

Once everyone has had a few good laughs, you can make the transition to your regular, more serious agenda.
Source:

Varied, including Alan Lakein



THROW AWAY YOUR TROUBLES

Objective:

To enable participants to get several responses to an individual problem or concern.

Materials Required:

Paper, pencils, empty boxes or containers

Approximate Time Requirement:

Minimum four-five minutes; expanded as time is available


Procedure:

This exercise can be used at almost any time during a training session. For programs over a half-day in length, this activity can be used intermittently during the course. Announce that participants will now have a chance to “throw away” their problems. Have ach person think of a question, problem, or concern about the topic being addressed. (If s/he cannot think of a relevant item, an problem is OK.) After participants write out their anonymous particular problems ask them to crumple up the paper and throw it in a container (a box or receptacle that will be placed in the center of the room.) For larger groups, have several containers around the room. Be sure not to use regular waste baskets unless they are empty!


After all papers are in the receptacles, ask any person to pick out a crumpled paper and toss it to anyone in the room. Whoever catches it opens the paper and reads the problem aloud. A 3-person team is formed (one on each side of the “receiver”.) The tam is given a “30-second timeout” to discuss possible solutions or answers. During this time, the rest of the group is asked to jot down 2-3 answers or responses.
The team gives its responses followed by others in the group who can assist.
Repeat the process as time permits.
SOURCE:

Unknown.
THE PIG PERSONALITY PROFILE


Objective:

To be used as an ice-breaker or a tool to improve participant interaction.


Materials Required:

One sheet of paper and one pencil per participant


Approximate Time Requirement:

5-10 minutes

Procedure:

The Pig Personality Profile is short and simple. Give students the following instructions: “On a blank piece of 8 ½ x 11 paper, draw a pig. Don’t look at your neighbors’ pigs. Don’t even glance.” Say no more. Do not explain the purpose of the exercise. Give the students just three minutes or so to complete their drawings, then explain in a tongue-and-cheek fashion how their pig drawings are a useful test of their personality traits.

If the pig is drawn. . .


  • Towards the top of the paper, you are a positive, optimistic person.

  • Towards the middle of the paper, you are a realist.

  • Towards the bottom of the paper, you are a pessimist and have a tendency to be negative.

  • Facing left, you are traditional, friendly, and good at remembering dates, including birthdays.

  • Facing forward (or angled forward), you are direct, enjoy playing “the devil’s advocate”, and neither fear nor avoid discussions.

  • Facing right, you are innovative and active, but do not have a strong sense of family, and you are not good at remembering dates.

  • With many details, you are analytical, cautious and distrustful.

  • With few details, you are emotional and naïve, care little for details, and are a risk-taker

  • With four legs showing, you are secure and stubborn, and you stick to your ideals.

  • With less than four legs, you are insecure or are going through a period of major change.

  • With large ears, you are a good listener. The larger the ears, the better listener you are.

You can end with the comment: “I won’t attest to the accuracy of the results, other than to guarantee some laughter and amusement.” Somehow, do make sure that students understand that it is not a serious test of personality traits.


Source:

Gordon Cotton



Trainer, Marine Atlantic Inc., New Brunswick, Canada

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