SERIOUSLY FUN ACTIVITIES FOR TRAINERS, FACILITATORS, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANTS, AND MANAGERS.
Our mission statement, copyright notice, and cast of characters.
My Favorite Manager
How to be liked by everyone.
And then there was one.
Interactive Cryptogram by Raja Thiagarajan
Help us beta-test a program by solving a puzzle.
Two new card games.
Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training: A 2-day workshop
Improve your interactive techniques.
Thiagi Workshops Outside the USA
Around the world with Thiagi.
Pieces of Advice
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From Brian's Brain
Exponential Growth by Brian Remer
A link to the latest issue of Brian's newsletter.
More from Brian
Boredom Busters: Boosting Engagement in Meetings and Trainings by Brian Remer
A 1-day workshop.
A summary of your responses.
Check It Out
An antidote for PowerPoint poisoning.
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: Tracy Tagliati and Jean Reese
Contributing Editors: Brian Remer and Matthew Richter
The materials in this newsletter are copyright 2014 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 © 2014 by The Thiagi Group, Inc.
For any other use of the content, please contact us ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for permission.
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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 email@example.com . Thanks!
This activity uses the modified version of the Who and Why framegame from the March 2014 issue of TGL as the basic structure.
Participants work individually, assuming the roles of three different people and brainstorming their perceptions of three most favorite managers and three least favorite managers. Later, they work with a partner (and still later, in teams) to prepare a list of dos and don'ts for improving employees' perception of a manager's style.
To identify behaviors and characteristics of managers that enhance their image in the minds of their employees.
Best: 15 to 30
20 to 45 minutes
Ask the participants to select three employees. Tell the participants that they are going to undertake a thought experiment. Ask each participant to think of three employees. Encourage the participants to make sure that these employees are as different as possible from each other in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and educational background. Tell the participants that these people could be real employees or imaginary characters.
Ask the participants to identify positive behaviors and characteristics of managers. Instruct the participants to work individually and assume the role of one of the three employees they selected. Ask them to make a list of responses to this question:
In the perception of this employee, what behaviors and characteristics of managers will make him or her feel positive?
Ask the participants to repeat the same thinking assignment in the roles of the other two selected employees. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Ask the participants to identify negative behaviors and characteristics of managers. Explain that you are going to repeat the activity—but work in the opposite direction. As before, instruct the participants to assume the role of one of the three employees. Ask them to make a list of responses to this question:
In the perception of this employee, what behaviors and characteristics of managers will make him or her feel negative?
Ask the participants to repeat the same thinking task with the roles of the other two employees. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Distribute playing cards. Give a random playing card to each participant. Make sure to distribute equal numbers of black and red cards. (If you have an odd number of participants, you will end up with one more person who has either a red or a black card.)
Pair up with a partner. Ask the participants to pair up with someone who has a card of the different color. If one participant is left over, ask him or her to pair up with you.
Discuss positive and negative management factors with the partner. Ask the participants to share the positive behaviors and characteristics they had identified in the first thought experiment. Ask them to also discuss the negative factors. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Form a team. Blow a whistle at the end of 3 minutes. Ask the participants to say “Goodbye” to their partners and to form a team of three to five people who have playing cards of the same color (red or black).
Prepare a checklist. Distribute a sheet of flip-chart paper and a felt-tipped marker to each team. Instruct the team members to share their ideas and to prepare a list of do's and don'ts for a manager to improve the employees' perception. Announce a 5-minute time limit for this activity.
Review lists from other teams. Blow the whistle at the end of 5 minutes. Ask the teams to attach their posters on the wall with pieces of masking tape. Invite the participants to review the posters from the other teams to discover common items and unique ones. Announce a 3-minute time limit.
Discuss the items from the posters. At the end of 3 minutes, blow the whistle and assemble the participants for a debriefing discussion. Conduct this discussion by asking questions similar to these:
The name of the game refers to the repeated reduction of a number of cards to a single card. The participants compare pairs of cards, select the better one, and repeat this procedure until only one card remains.
This game uses a deck of Practical Advice Cards.
Each card in a deck of 52 Practical Advice Cards contains an actionable guideline related to a specific topic. We currently have more than 20 different ready-to-use decks of cards for sale on topics such as trust building, coaching, interviewing, customer service, facilitation, feedback, innovation, leadership, listening, managing globally, motivation, presentation skills, teamwork, and training. You can find them in our online store at http://www.thiagi.biz/category_s/1833.htm .
We'd love to sell you the cards, but you don't have to buy them. You can create your own cards by writing different pieces of practical advice on blank index cards. If you want to be more efficient (and effective), you can ask the participants to generate their own cards, mix them up, and conduct the game.
This game requires one card per player.
Participants pair up and compare the pieces of advice on the two cards they have. In each pair, the participant with the better card keeps it; the other participant returns his or her card to the facilitator. The participants with cards continue pairing up with each other and comparing cards. The game continues until only one cardholder remains with the best piece of advice.
To comparatively review the pieces of advice on different cards and to identify the best piece of advice.
Maximum: Any number
15-30 minutes, depending on the number of participants
One Practical Advice Card for each participant.
Brief the participants. Select any two cards and read the piece of advice on each of them. Ask the participants to compare these pieces of advice and to select the better one. Encourage the participants to talk to each other and to discuss the costs and benefits associated with implementing each piece of advice. After a suitable pause, select the card with the better piece of advice based on the inputs from the participants.
Distribute Practical Advice Cards. Ask each person to take a random card and review the piece of advice printed on it.
Ask the participants to pair up and compare their cards. Tell each participant to pair up with another participant. Ask the members of each pair to review the pieces of advice on the two cards they have. Encourage the participants to discuss the relative merits of the two cards and to select the card with the better piece of advice.
Give instructions to the cardholders. Ask the participant with the better piece of advice (“the cardholder”) to hold on to the card and to pair up with another cardholder.
Give instructions to the facilitators. Ask the participant with the other card (“the facilitator”) to give back his card and help the cardholders to continue the activity. Ask these facilitators to spot cardholders in different parts of the room and to pair them up. Also ask the facilitators to help speed up the review process and to select the card with the better piece of advice.
Continue the activity. Ask the participants to continue reviewing pairs of cards and selecting the one with the better piece of advice. As the game proceeds, the number of facilitators will increase and the number of cardholders will decrease. Encourage the mobs of facilitators to actively help the cardholders to review the pieces of advice and to select the card with the better one.
Conclude the activity. The game will come to an automatic stop when only one cardholder remains, holding the card with the best piece of advice. Ask for a drum roll and ask the remaining cardholder to read the piece of advice. Encourage the participants to reflect on this piece of advice and to implement it at the next available opportunity.
Would you like to have some fun, and help us beta-test a program?
Check it out at http://thiagi.com/p632spring2014/tgl-2014-04/. Please try it out, and tell us what you think by using the comments link below.
If you are unfamiliar with cryptograms, we recommend our explanation from the October 2006 issue of TGL.
A hint for this puzzle
A lot of talent lies dormant in your workplace that is capable of coming up with innovative ideas for improving products, procedures, productivity, and profits. You can leverage hidden talent not only by training employees how to be creative but also by training managers how to lead innovation by encouraging people to generate ideas, collect and evaluate these ideas, and implement them.
Working with Dimis Michaelides, the best-selling author of The Art of Innovation, we have designed two decks of cards, each with several different games, on the topic of leading innovation. We are launching these card games with a hefty discount.
This collection of games features a deck of 52 cards, each with a piece of practical advice related to leading innovation in the workplace. The advice on each card is self-contained, evidence-based, useful, and usable. The pieces of advice are not based on any single book or any single model for leading innovation. Instead, they are based on our analysis of several books, research reports, case studies, online forums, conference sessions, and interviews with subject-matter experts.
While you can read the advice on each card and implement it at work and home, what makes this training tool effective and engaging is the collection of 20 different games. These games can be played by different numbers of people (from 1 to 100) and last for different periods of time (from 10 minutes to 52 weeks). The deck comes with a copy of the game manual. You can also download a PDF version of the manual.
The Practical Advice Cards deck and game manual sells for $49.95. Order before April 30, 2014 and you will receive a $10 discount. You can purchase the Leading Innovation PAC game for $39.95 (plus $9.50 for shipping) in our online store. No need to enter a coupon code—as long as you order before April 30, you'll get the discount automatically.
This is a different system of card games on the same topic. A deck of fluency cards contains four different types of cards. Spades cards contain a category associated with leading innovation. Clubs cards contain a pair of concepts associated with leading innovation. Hearts cards contain a single concept associated with leading innovation. Diamonds cards contain a roleplay scenario associated with leading innovation.
You can use the Fluency Cards to play different games. The object of the game is to win as many cards as possible within a specific period of play. To win a card, you have to perform a specific task associated with the card better than the other players. To win a spades card, you have to come up with a list of items that belong to the category printed on the card. To win a clubs card, you have to come up with one important difference and one important similarity between the two concepts printed on the card. To win a hearts card you have to draw a picture that is directly related to the concept printed on the card. To win a diamond card you have to act out appropriate behaviors in a roleplay related to the scenario printed on the card.
The Fluency Cards deck and game manual sells for $49.95. Order before March 31, 2014 and you will receive a $10 discount. You can purchase the Leading Innovation FC game for $39.95 (plus $9.50 for shipping) in our online store. No need to enter a coupon code—as long as you order before April 30, you'll get the discount automatically.
Want to save more? Buy the Leading Innovation combo, which contains one PAC and one FC deck and game manual. Ordinarily this combo sells for $89.95 (plus $9.50 shipping). Order before April 30, 2014 and you will receive a $20 discount. You can purchase the combo for $69.95 (plus $10.00 for shipping) in our online store. No need to enter a coupon code—as long as you order before April 30, you'll get the discount automatically.
This cryptogram is about puzzles. Try to locate the world “puzzles” in the message.
Here is our upcoming workshop in Washington, DC. This will probably be our last public workshop in the USA this year.
WHAT: Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training: A 2-day workshop
FOR WHOM: Trainers, facilitators, instructional designers, performance consultants, and managers
HOW MUCH: Regular registration rate: $1099. As a reader of the Thiagi GameLetter, get $150 off by entering coupon code TGL-WS14 when you register online.
Hyatt Regency Crystal City
2799 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202
Telephone: (703) 418-1234
More information: Review the detailed brochure (1.3M PDF)
Trainers can use puzzles for teaching thinking skills. Puzzles can also be used for reviewing lectures and reading assignments.
Thiagi is conducting public workshops outside the USA. Check our online calendar at http://thiagi.com/calendar/ for details.
Every day, Thiagi tweets ready-to-use pieces of practical advice on HR topics such as coaching, creativity, customer service, feedback, leadership, listening skills and management.
Here are some pieces of advice tweeted during March that were retweeted frequently:
Be a life-long learner. Keep on learning new skills, using new skills, and improving new skills.
You are not a lecturer who covers the content. You are a facilitator who helps the participants discover the content.
Present training content before an activity as briefing, during an activity as coaching, and after an activity as debriefing.
Join the thousands of people who follow @thiagi on Twitter.
Even when problems develop quickly out of our control, we can make them worse by our shortsighted actions. Learn more about the nature of exponential growth along with some specific suggestions to avoid its negative impact.
Power Tip: Are problems piling up? Work on them steadily, one at a time, in small bites.
Read more in the March 2014 issue of Firefly News Flash: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/March%202014.htm .
Do you want to increase engagement and improve productivity in your next meeting?
Learn more about fun and inexpensive ways to make your meetings productive and your trainings more memorable from award-winning facilitator and game designer, Brian Remer of The Firefly Group. Sign up to attend Boredom Busters: Boosting Engagement in Meetings and Trainings.
April 24, 2014 in San Jose, CA
April 25, 2014 in Emeryville, CA
Facilitated by Brian Remer of The Firefly Group ( http://thefirefly.org/ )
In the March 2014 issue of TGL we asked this poll question:
Do you conduct training webinars?
Twenty-six readers responded, 17 of them saying, “Yes”.
As a follow up to the poll, we asked this open question:
What are some frequent complaints about training webinars?
Here are some interesting responses:
Thanks to everyone who responded.
This survey is still open. Feel free to add your comments by visiting the survey page.
If you are tired of lengthy lecture presentations featuring unlimited collections of slides, PechaKucha (or Pecha Kucha) is just the thing for you.
The idea behind this technique is very simple: Your presentation is structured around 20 slides, each displayed for 20 seconds. The total time is 20 x 20 or 400 seconds, which works out to 6 minutes 40 seconds.
PechaKucha has spread all around the world. Many corporations and professional organizations have enthusiastically adopted this approach. The 2014 annual conference of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) features a PechaKucha session (and I am presenting as a part of this session). I have also been incorporating PechaKuchas in several interactive lecture presentations.
Learn more about this technique by visiting the “official” website:
There are several useful examples of PechaKucha on YouTube, many of them explaining how to create and use your own PechaKuchas. Here are my favorites: