SERIOUSLY FUN ACTIVITIES FOR TRAINERS, FACILITATORS, PERFORMANCE CONSULTANTS, AND MANAGERS.
Our mission statement, copyright notice, and cast of characters.
Thiagi Goes Down Under in March 2013
Workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Rotating players, reversing roles.
You knew it all the time.
The Art of Innovation
Dimis Michaelides on the magic of innovation.
From Brian's Brain
Procrastinate for Productivity by Brian Remer
A link to the latest issue of Brian's newsletter.
Framegames by Thiagi
50 percent off.
Employee Engagement Drivers
How to win hearts and minds.
Trust in the Training Room
Do you trust your trainer?
A summary of your responses.
The Arm Twist
Why can't you do it?
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 2013 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 © 2013 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!
John Loty and Associates Pty Ltd are proud to announce a Thiagifest in Australia in March 2013.
Here are the dates of 3-day workshops in three different cities:
For more information, or to register, visit
We have successfully used this roleplay activity to explore various interpersonal skills for the past 10 years. This activity involves all the participants in one-on-one conversations. It also rotates the roleplayers and reverses their roles.
To persuade skeptics about the effectiveness of training games and activities.
Divide participants into two teams and assign the roles of skeptics and change agents to these teams. Conduct a brainstorming session within each team to get ready for a roleplay. Conduct two sessions of one-on-one roleplays. Reverse the roles and repeat the process. Conduct debriefing discussions within teams and across teams.
Best: 12 to 20.
If you have larger numbers of participants, divide them into groups of 12 to 20 and conduct the activity with each group.
30 to 50 minutes.
Divide the participants into two equal-sized teams. If you have an odd number of participants, make the left-over participant an observer.
Assign the role of skeptics to one team. Explain to the team members that they are resistant to the use of games and other types of training activities. Ask them to brainstorm a list of objections to the use of these activities. Announce a 3-minute time period for this brainstorming session.
Assign the role of change agents to the other team. Explain to the team members that they are enthusiastic about the use of games and other types of training activities. Ask them to brainstorm techniques for persuading the skeptics. Announce a 3-minute time period for this brainstorming session.
Arrange the change agents in a circle, facing out. Tell them that each change agent is about to participate in a roleplay with a skeptic.
Have the skeptics pair up with each of the change agents. The skeptics will form an outer circle, facing in and getting ready for a conversation with a change agent.
Conduct a roleplay discussion. Invite the participants to begin a one-on-one discussion between the change agent and the skeptic. Encourage the participants to stay in their role and respond to each other.
Rotate the skeptics. After about 2 minutes, blow a whistle and ask the skeptics to move one space in the clockwise direction. Invite the new pairs of participants to begin another round of discussion.
Prepare for a change of roles. After about another 2 minutes, blow the whistle and ask the members of the two teams to gather in separate locations. Announce that there will be additional roleplays with the roles reversed: Change agents will assume the role of skeptics (and vice versa) during the subsequent conversations.
Conduct another round of brainstorming. Ask the new skeptics to think back on the statements used by the earlier skeptics and select the most resistive and pessimistic ones. Also encourage them to come up with their own ideas for expressing their skepticism. Encourage the new change agents to share the best practices used by members of the other team during the previous round. Encourage them to brainstorm additional techniques for persuading the skeptics. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this brainstorming activity.
Conduct another round of roleplay. After 3 minutes, blow the whistle to announce the end of the brainstorming session. Ask members of the new change agent team to stand in a circle, facing out. Ask the new skeptics to pair up with each change agent. Invite each pair to have a conversation in their new roles. As before, rotate the skeptics after a 2-minute period.
Conduct a team debriefing. Blow your whistle after two round of conversations. Ask the two teams to regroup in separate locations. Tell the teams to discuss their experiences and come up with a list of effective techniques for persuading skeptics to accept training activities. Remind the participants to focus on working effectively in the role of change agents--and not in the role of skeptics. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this discussion.
Pair up and share ideas. After 3 minutes, blow the whistle and ask the members of the two teams to pair up with each other. Encourage the participants to pair up with someone they had not talked with during the earlier rounds. Ask each pair to share their techniques for persuading skeptics. Walk around the room and listen in on different conversations.
Conclude the activity. After about 3 minutes, blow a whistle and assemble all the participants. If you had an observer, ask this person to share his or her thoughts about what persuasion techniques worked effectively. Add your own recommendations on what to do and what not to do to overcome the objections from skeptics.
Very often when people learn something new, they assume that they knew it all along. This way of thinking is called the hindsight bias.
Participants receive one of two proverbs that contradict each other. Later, they are asked to come up with examples and explanations to prove that the proverb that they received presents an obvious truth.
To demonstrate how hindsight bias works.
Maximum: Any number
Best: 10 to 30
3 minutes for the activity
3 minutes for the debriefing
Prepare proverb cards. Select a pair of proverbs that contradict each other. Here are some examples:
Write one of the selected proverbs on a card and write the opposing proverb on another card. Repeat this process, alternating between the two proverbs, until you have enough cards to give one to each participant.
Distribute proverb cards. Give one card to each participant. Make sure that equal numbers of participants receive one of the two proverbs that contradict each other.
Explain the task. Ask each participant to read the proverb on his or her card and think of examples and explanations that would support the proverb. Announce a 2-minute time limit for this independent activity.
Ask participants to present their thoughts. At the end of 2 minutes, blow the whistle. Read one of the two proverbs and invite any participant to present suitable examples and explanations to prove that the proverb contains an obvious piece of truth.
Repeat the process with the opposing proverb. Read the other proverb. As before, ask a volunteer to share examples and explanations in support of this proverb.
Ask for more examples. Invite the participants to present more examples and explanations in support of either proverb.
Point out that the two proverbs contradict each other. Explain that logical thinking would lead us to believe that both of them cannot be valid at the same time.
Explain hindsight bias. Suggest that once we accept a principle we feel that we know it all along.
Discuss situational validity. Present this statement from Niels Bohr: The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. Discuss how it is possible for two contradictory principles to be valid under different contexts.
Invite more examples. Ask the participants to share other pairs of proverbs that contradict each other.
Dimis Michaelidis is a colleague and mentor of mine whom we interviewed in the March 2010 issue of TGL.
Watch him explore the 12 elements of innovation in this TEDx Gramercy talk:
Pay particular attention to how he skillfully integrates magical effects in his presentation.
If you are impressed and inspired, check out Dimis's book, The Art of Innovation.
In some situations, procrastination might be a good approach. Gain insight about the chronically To Do-challenged people in your life or find out how to get more of your own stuff done by doing other things. Power Tip: Set an alarm when surfing the web to bring you back to reality on time.
Read more in the January 2013 issue of Firefly News Flash: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2013/January%202013.htm .
One of Thiagi's classic books, Framegames by Thiagi sells for $55 (plus $7.50 for shipping).
This month, TGL readers can get a copy of the book at half price: $27.50 (plus $7.50 for shipping).
This offer is valid only during the month of February. Order your copy by February 28, 2013.
To take advantage of this discount, visit our online store. Order the book and type TGL-FEB in the coupon code box when you check out.
We will give you a 50 percent discount on the price of the book.
We will add $7.50 per book for shipping to USA addresses. If your address is outside the USA, the shipping charge will be higher. We will email you how much it will cost before we ship the book to you.
Framegames by Thiagi collects six different framegame booklets:
Framegames by Thiagi
Discounted price: $27.50 each
Shipping to USA addresses: $7.50 for each book
Shipping outside USA: We will email shipping costs for your approval
Valid until: February 28 2013
Coupon code: TGL-FEB
Link for ordering: http://www.thiagi.biz/product_p/fg7.htm (opens in a new window)
Employee engagement involves intellectual and emotional commitment that produces sustained high-quality performance on the job.
For this issue, we have created an online Hangman game ( http://thiagi.net/tgl/wgs/8945/ ; requires Adobe Flash) with a list of factors that increase employee involvement.
How many of these factors can you guess correctly?
You can play the game repeatedly. Each time you play you will get items arranged in a different order.
Trust between the trainer and the participants is an important factor that contributes to the effectiveness of training.
Which of the following factors is more likely to increase your trustworthiness as a trainer?
(The poll opens in a new window.)
How can you increase your trustworthiness as a trainer?
(The survey opens in a new window.)
You may include your name along with your response, or if you prefer, keep it anonymous.
In the January 2013 issue of TGL we asked you to identify a major similarity and a major difference between customer service before sales and after sales.
We thank the readers who posted their responses. Here are a few of these responses:
Similarity: The customer expects good service.
Difference The seller may not realize that the customer's perception of the process can forever gain him/her a loyal customer or lose that person to a competitor.
Similarity: Both involve serving the customer.
Difference: When the service takes place.
Similarity: Listening and responding to needs.
Difference: Customers are often abandoned after the transaction.
Similarity: Active listening.
Difference: Providing information vs. providing support.
Thanks to everyone who responded.
This survey is still open. Feel free to add your comments by visiting the survey page.
We have posted our new video jolt on YouTube. You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0OzjsewJXs .
This video lasts for 2 minutes and 11 seconds.
The video features a test that I use at the beginning of my workshops. You will probably fail the test. But don't worry. Your experience will help you to learn an important point.
The learning point in the video is that you need to observe the trainer's behavior as well as listening to what the trainer is saying.
Enjoy the jolt and let me know what insights you come up with.
Gamification involves adding game elements to nongaming contexts in order to attract and engage the attention of customers and employees, to change their behavior, and to solve problems.
Gamification uses multifaceted strategies such as points, badges, levels, leader boards, chance elements, and rewards to cater to participants' competitive streak and their desire for status. Concrete rewards for achieving goals are sometimes used. However, the game elements tend to sustain the player's loyalty, frequency of play, and intensity of effort.
The Gamification Wiki website ( http://gamification.org/ ) contains a definition of gamification and a discussion of 24 different game mechanics. It also provides links for examples, books, videos, and presentations. The examples are drawn from different industries such as entertainment, environment, government, and health and fitness.
If you want to explore gamification, we strongly recommend several visits to this web site.