Our mission statement, copyright notice, and cast of characters.

Brain Pick Activity
Big Changes
Managing organizational change.

Cash Game
Change Management
The title is misleading.

Counting and Spelling
Two things at a time.

Instructional Puzzles
Word Rebus
A word to the wise.

Say It Quick
Problems, Pressure, Pie! by Brian Remer
Pay attention to details.

Miniature Metaphors by Brian Remer
Mighty messages come in tiny packages.

Every Little Detail by Brian Remer
In praise of micromanagement.

Let Experience Be Your Teacher by Brian Remer
GURU: Ground, understand, revise, use.

Paris Workshops
Thiagi and Tracy in Paris
With Bruno Hourst and Patrick Dorpmund.

Singapore Workshops
Thiagi and Tracy in Singapore
With Stannis Benjamin.

Single Topic Survey
Do You Languish or Flourish Under Stress? by Tracy Tagliati
Reaction to stress.

Survey Results
Instructional Motivation by Tracy Tagliati
Summary of your responses.

How To Make an Effective Presentation in 99 Seconds
Bend Your Brain with Thiagi and Tracy.

Check It Out
The Wordplay Website ( )
Have fun with words.





To increase and improve the use of interactive, experiential strategies to improve human performance in an effective, efficient, and enjoyable way.

Editorial Roster

Author and Editor : Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan

Assistant Editor : Raja Thiagarajan

Associate Editor: Jean Reese

Contributing Editors: Brian Remer and Matthew Richter

Editorial Advisory Board: Bill Wake, Matthew Richter, Samuel van den Bergh, and <type your name here>

Copyright Info

The materials in this newsletter are copyright 2010 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 © 2010 by The Thiagi Group, Inc.

For any other use of the content, please contact us ( ) for permission.

Subscription Info

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Feedback Request

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 . Thanks!

Brain Pick Activity

Big Changes

In a brain-pick activity, participants interview people who share a common experience or background. (These people are called informants.) Participants interact with these informants—and with each other—to collect and organize useful information.

This activity uses people who have undergone major organizational changes. Participants interview them to come up with a list of guidelines for coping with change.

Key Idea

There are as many informants as there are teams. Each team is assigned a specific question related to coping with organizational change. Each informant is interviewed by different teams, each asking a different question. At the end of the interviews, each team prepares a set of practical guidelines and shares it with the other teams.


To effectively cope with major changes in the organization.


Minimum: 9
Maximum: 60
Best: 20-30


15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of teams and the complexity of the topic.




Prepare a list of questions related to coping with organizational change. Select one question from this list for each team.

Here is a sample list of questions:

  1. What was your reaction when you first heard about the change? Looking back, how could you have reacted better?
  2. Did you have negative feelings about the change (such as guilt, fear, anxiety, anger, betrayal, or hopelessness)? How did you cope with them? How could you have coped with them in a better fashion?
  3. How did the change affect you personally? What were the advantages and disadvantages? Were you able to objectively analyze the costs and benefits? How could you have done a better job?
  4. What were some of the questions that you had when the change was announced? How did get answers to these questions? How could you have done a better job of getting answers to the questions?
  5. How did your family react to the organizational changes? How could you have presented the information to your family in a better fashion? How could they have provided you with more support?
  6. Were you ready for the change? How did you prepare for the change? How could you make yourself ready for the next change?
  7. What support did you receive from your colleagues and your managers? How could you have obtained better support?
  8. Did some new opportunities arise for you as a result of this change? Were you aware of these potential opportunities at the beginning of the change?
  9. What were some of your loses as a result of this change? How did you cope with them? How could you have coped with them in a better fashion?
  10. Do you feel betrayed by your organization? How did you regain your trust in your organization?
  11. How long did it take for you to bounce back from the change? What could you have done to make yourself more resilient and bounce back faster?
  12. What new professional skills did you have to learn after the change? How quickly and effectively did you learn these skills? How could you have done better?
  13. Do you feel more secure in your job after the change? If not, what plans do you have for coping with the next change?


Organize teams. Divide the participants into three to six teams, each with three to 10 members. Seat each team around a table.

Select the informants. Ask the members of each team to talk about organizational changes they had undergone. Based on this discussion, ask each team to select an informant who appears to have effectively coped with a major change recently. Announce a suitable time limit for this selection process.

Brief the informants. Invite all the selected informants to come to the front of the room. Give them individual copies of the list of questions. Ask them to think back on the organizational change they underwent and prepare suitable answers.

Brief the teams. Assign a question to each team. Explain that the team members will interview different informants (including the person selected from their team) using this question. The goal for the team is to come up with a set of practical guidelines for effectively coping with organizational change based on the responses from different informants. Emphasize that teams should take comprehensive notes during the interview.

Conduct the first round of interviews. Send an informant to each team. Ask the team members to interview this informant focusing on the question given to them. Announce a suitable time limit. Ask the teams to get started on the interviews.

Repeat the process. At the end of the assigned time, blow the whistle to conclude the interviews. Send each informant to the next team. Repeat the interview process. Continue with more rounds of interviews so each team interviews all different informants, one after the other. (Each panel member is interviewed by each team on a different question.)

Prepare a list of guidelines. Ask members of each team to compare their notes from different interviews. Ask them to summarize the key points into a set of practical guidelines for effectively coping with organizational change. Ask them to focus the specific area related to the question they asked. Announce a suitable time limit.

Coordinate team presentations. At the end of the assigned time, blow the whistle to conclude the guidelines listing activity. Ask each team to present its list of guidelines to the entire group. After all teams have made their presentations, conduct a brief discussion of the ideas.


Not too many informants are available in the group? Prior to the activity, select a panel of outside informants with effective experiences in coping with major organizational change.

Game Plan for Big Change

Here's a quick-reference summary of the game:

Step Facilitator Participants
Preparation (10 minutes) Prepare a list of questions related to coping with organizational change.
Organize teams (3 minutes) Divide participants into three to six teams, each with three to 10 members. Introduce yourself to the other members of your team.
Select informants (3 minutes) Ask participants to discuss major organization changes. Ask each team to select an informant. Describe a major organizational change that you participated in. Help the team select an informant.
Brief the informants (3 minutes) Give the list of questions. Ask them to get ready for the interviews. Study the questions. Prepare suitable answers based on the organizational change you participated in.
Brief the teams (3 minutes) Assign a different question to each team. Ask teams to get ready for the interviews. Study the question. Plan how to interview different informants.
Conduct the first interview (5 minutes) Send an informant to each team. Interview the informant, focusing on the question assigned to the team.
Repeat the process (6 minutes) Conduct several rounds of interviews so each informant is interviewed by each team using different questions. Ask the same question of different informants. Take notes.
Prepare guidelines (5 minutes) Ask participants to prepare a set of guidelines on how to effectively cope with organizational change. Analyze answers to the interview questions from different informants. Summarize the key points as a set of practical guidelines.
Coordinate team presentations (3 minutes) Give instructions to different teams and keep time. Help your team present its list of guidelines. Listen to the guidelines from the other teams and take notes.

Cash Game

A cash game is a special type of simulation game that involves actual cash transactions. Cash games are not gambling games. Nor do they focus on accounting procedures or financial management. Instead, they explore interpersonal skills and concepts. These games use cash because it effectively brings out our natural behaviors and emotions.

Here is a modified version of a cash game that was first published in April 1998.

Change Management

The “change” in the name of this game refers not to social, organizational, or personal change, but to the coins jingling in your pocket or handbag. The key idea in this game is that the person who uses the most coins to add up exactly to $3.17 receives a $50 bill.


To explore the value of individual contributions to a team.

Learning Points

Concepts: Inter-team competition, individual contributions, team member resources.
Procedures: Negotiation, coalition formation, collaborative planning, teamwork, tight deadlines, profit sharing.
Contrasts: Cooperation vs. competition, individuals vs. teams, costs and values.


15 minutes for the activity and 15 minutes for debriefing.


Minimum: 10
Maximum: 100
Best: 15-30




Select the Regulators. Ask the participants who do not have any change with them to stand up. Depending on the total number of participants, select two to five of these people to help you conduct the game. Explain that they are the Regulators who will enforce the rules of game. Give copies of the handouts to the Regulators.

Announce a chance to make a big profit. Hold up a $50 bill and reveal that you are going to sell it for a mere $3.17.

Explain the restrictions. Ask the Regulators to distribute copies of the two handouts to each participant. Using your own words, explain these rules:

Explain the paperwork requirements. Walk the participants through the Purchase Offer Form, emphasizing that all incomplete and incorrect forms will be rejected. Explain that the total number of coins should correctly add up to $3.17. The form should also include all the names of the team members.

Start the game. Blow a whistle and announce the beginning of the game. Set up the countdown timer for 5 minutes and start it. Tell the participants that they have 5 minutes to complete and submit their Purchase Offer Forms to the Regulators.

Explain additional details. Use your own words to describe these details:

Monitor the activity. Make sure that the Regulators number each form according to the order of submission. Ask the Regulators to check the forms to ensure that the coins offered add up to exactly $3.17.

Give a 30-second warning. Blow the whistle when only 30 seconds remain. Ask the teams to submit their offers before the time expires.

Identify the winner. After 5 minutes, blow the whistle and stop accepting Purchase Offer Forms. Ask the Regulators to identify the offer with the most coins. In case of a tie, ask them to select the earliest submission.

Conclude the activity. Collect the coins from the winning team. Verify the number of coins and their total value. Congratulate the team and give its representative the $50 bill. Suggest that the team members wait until the end of the debriefing discussion before splitting their well-deserved profit.

Conduct the debriefing discussion. To make sure that the participants not only enjoy the game but also gain useful insights from it, conduct a debriefing session. Here are some sample debriefing questions that use our six-phase model:

How do you feel?

What happened?

What did you learn?

How does this relate?

What if?

What next?


Too many people without change? Randomly distribute some small change among participants before the start of the game.

Participants are planning to form one big cooperative team? Impose a maximum limit of five members in each team.


Rules and Regulations

  1. You purchase the $50 bill for $3.17.
  2. Only one $50 bill is available for sale at this special discounted rate.
  3. You must give the exact change in U.S. coins for the purchase.
  4. No one can leave the room to find change.
  5. The individual or team that uses the most U.S. coins to pay exactly $3.17 will receive the $50.
  6. If more than one team offers the same number of coins, the first team to do so will receive the $50 bill.
  7. To try to purchase the $50 bill, you must first submit a Purchase Offer Form with all the required details.
  8. All incomplete or incorrect forms will be rejected.
  9. If you recruit additional team members or if you plan to use more coins, you must submit a revised Purchase Offer Form.
  10. If your purchase offer wins, you must immediately pay the proposed number of coins that add up to $3.17. Upon verification of the number and total value of the coins, you will receive the $50 bill.


Purchase Offer Form

Number of Coins Value of Each Coin Total Value
____ pennies $0.01
____ nickels $0.05
____ dimes $0.10
____ quarters $0.25
Grand Total

Team Members



Counting and Spelling

Here's a jolt that can be conducted through an audio recording. It deals with the topic of multitasking.


Ask the participants to count by twos. Ask them to spell a word. Later, ask them to combine the two activities, alternating between counting and spelling.


To explore limitations of multitasking.


One or more.


2 minutes for the activity and 2 minutes for debriefing.


Audio recording and playback equipment (found in most laptops).


Prepare an audio recording of the instructions found under the Flow section below.


Record and play back these instructions:

Can you count by twos (like two, four, six, and so on)?

Count aloud by twos from two to twenty. Go ahead.

(Pause for 10 seconds.)

Stop. Here's the next task.

Spell aloud the word “simulation”, one letter at a time. Go ahead.

(Pause for 10 seconds.)

Now combine the counting by twos and spelling the word “simulation”, alternating between the counting and spelling tasks like this: two, S, four, I, and so on.

Go ahead.

(Pause for 20 seconds.)

This activity is a simulation of multitasking. If somebody timed your counting by twos and spelling of the word “simulation” separately, the total time will probably be less than the time it took you to perform the combined task.

Also the number of errors is likely to be greater when you perform the combined task.

What does this have to say about the advantages and limitations of multitasking?

Of course, we should not be generalizing from this contrived experiment.

Under what conditions do you think multitasking is likely to be faster and more accurate than when performing the two tasks separately?

Think about it.


Don't want to record the instructions? Just read the instructions. Or narrate them in your own words.

Want to use a more relevant word? Instead of the word “simulation”, use some other more relevant word.

Instructional Puzzles

Word Rebus

A word rebus is an arrangement of letters and words that cryptically represent another word, phrase, or common saying.

Here's an example:


Solution to this rebus: Repeat after me.

Get it?

Types of Word Rebuses

According to, there are different types of word rebuses. You may use these types to create your own word rebus puzzles.


The example shown above uses the positioning of words. You can position two words to represent after, before, above, below, in and other such prepositions.

Here's another example of a word rebus that uses positioning:


(See below for the solution to this and the other rebuses.)


You can use text color to suggest a word.

Here are a couple of examples:

  1. BELT
  2. BERET


You may point to a specific word in a collection of words by using an arrow or by underlining.

Here are a couple of examples in which a word is emphasized:

  1. AID ←


You can change the style or size of the font to suggest a word.

Here are a couple of examples:

  2. I AM you


The direction in which the letters are printed (down or back, for example) may suggest missing words.

Here are a couple of examples:

  1. C
  2. DEEF

Partial letters or words

You may hide parts of letters or words to suggest missing words.

Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Top of the word MORNING
  2. ECLI


1. Repeat after me 2. Reincarnation 3. Black belt 4. Green beret 5. First aid 6. Second amendment 7. Bold action 8. I am bigger than you 9. Countdown 10. Feedback 11. Top of the morning 12. Partial eclipse

Using Word Rebus Puzzles

If you attended our webinar series, you'd know that puzzles could be used in training in three different ways:

  1. To teach specific types of thinking skills such as creative thinking, lateral thinking, logical thinking, or critical thinking.
  2. To review a lecture or a handout by having participants solve a puzzle that summarizes the content.
  3. To explore interpersonal skills and concepts by incorporating an appropriate puzzle in a simulation game.

Here's an example of a simulation game with an embedded word rebus puzzle:

Distribute a handout with these nine word rebus puzzles. Ask the participants to solve them independently. Tell them not to help one another.


After 3 minutes, ask everyone to stop and have each participant count the number of puzzles that she has solved.

Go through the handout, one item at a time, and ask the participants to shout out the answer. Usually one or more participants give the solution to each item. If there is a tough item that nobody has solved, skip it.

Count the total number of items solved by the group as a whole. Ask how many individuals have independently solved that many items.

The participants easily figure out the learning point: The group is smarter than any of its individual members.

(Solutions: Quit following me, good afternoon, Jack in the box, you are under arrest, split second timing, abridged dictionary, almost there, listed in alphabetical order, and no u-turn)

Say It Quick

Reprinted from the July 2010 issue of Firefly News Flash by permission of the author.

A shorter version of this article appeared in the February 2009 issue of TGL.

Problems, Pressure, Pie!
by Brian Remer

This issue of the Firefly New Flash suggests we look at what's small to inform our view of the big picture —beginning with this story in just 99 words.

Problems, Pressure, Pie!

My wife makes pies. I roll out the crusts. It's tricky to get a perfectly round, thin circle of dough. Any imperfection in the edge of the ball of dough gets worse under the rolling pin. Every tiny crack, under pressure, gets magnified into a huge gash. My early pie crusts looked like Norwegian fjords!

Experience has taught me to cut off the “peninsulas” and patch them over the “chasms” as I go along—before they become too exaggerated.

When the pressure's off, pay attention to the details so they don't become big problems later on.


Reprinted from the July 2010 issue of Firefly News Flash by permission of the author.

Miniature Metaphors
by Brian Remer

As a youngster, perhaps you owned or admired a charm bracelet—a collection of tiny figures that represented people, places, events, or activities that were important to you. Each minute figure was invested with special meaning and recalled emotions or an element of your identity. The charm bracelet was more than a pretty object on your wrist. It had meaning.

You can capture this tangible sense of meaning and harness it for learning with Miniature Metaphors Processing Treasure Chest. This collection of tiny charms comes in a pocket-sized tin convenient for travel or use in the field. Developed with outdoor experiential educators in mind, Miniature Metaphors are just as handy in the classroom or for teachers, facilitators, and group leaders on the go. Pull them out of your pocket after a meeting to process what went well. Open the tin to help your team brainstorm a solution. Hold one in your hand as you review the events of the day during your evening commute. Uses are as diverse as are the many diminutive shapes in the box.

Because they are small, Miniature Metaphors work best in small groups where people can easily see one another up close. That physical closeness could be an advantage in some group situations. It might invite a more intimate and personable sharing of views and ideas than might happen with a larger group in a larger space where people have to use a larger voice to convey their ideas. This up-close intimacy would be especially appropriate in counseling or coaching sessions.

Don't let the name fool you. Miniature Metaphors can deliver a mighty message! Learn more at Experiential Tools.


Reprinted from the July 2010 issue of Firefly News Flash by permission of the author.

Every Little Detail
by Brian Remer

Micromanagement, there's a lot of grumbling and eye-rolling about it in the workplace. Often, one person with some authority simply cannot let go of the details. In their concern about getting everything right they end up taking responsibility away from someone else and diminishing that person's authority in the process. Motivation suffers.

But if there's one place micromanagement might be justified, or even recommended, it is with oneself. For example, if I were able to apply the same critical eye and attention to the small details of my own activities that come easily when I review the actions of others, how different might things be? I might hand off a “cleaner” project to the next team member. I might raise a sensitive topic among colleagues without ruffling feathers. I might discover playful ways to improve relationships at home. I might see how simple daily choices impact the fallout from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Attention to this level of personal detail takes reflection and a degree of introspection that is neither valued nor promoted in our Twitter culture that demands instant reaction rather than delayed reflection. Yet, as one interpretation of the 99-Word Story this month suggests, when under pressure, our imperfections tend to become magnified. Attending to them early on only makes sense.

Using a Miniature Metaphor is one way to take care of the details. Making an analogy between a tangible object and your current situation can be the beginning of a reflective journey. You'll be able to identify nuances of meaning with each subtlety becoming a new point for possible improvement. A short moment of reflection such as this might be the first step for making big changes as a leader!


Reprinted from the July 2010 issue of Firefly News Flash by permission of the author.

Let Experience Be Your Teacher
by Brian Remer

Making a metaphorical connection is one of many ways to examine the small details and gain a new perspective before they grow proportionally. Asking the right questions is another. After any interaction or event, you can take a mental break and conduct an analysis of the immediate situation. To make it quick and comprehensive, here are four categories of questions you can use.


Ask questions to reveal the common Ground of experiences. Zero in on thoughts and feelings. Identify emotional reactions. Encourage recall and reporting of major actions and experiences.

Sample questions: What were you thinking or feeling at the time? What was the sequence of events? What did people say and do? What is something that surprised you about what happened?


Ask questions to Understand the situation in a larger context. Questions should highlight similarities and differences within and between events, ideas, or actions. Encourage the articulation and analysis of what was learned. Make generalizations and connections to other situations.

Sample questions: What was unusual about this situation? What other situations does this one remind you of? What did you learn from what happened?


Ask questions to encourage creativity about Revising actions or attitudes. Encourage consideration of the best reaction if the situation or information had been slightly different. Ask about the thoughts, attitudes, or behaviors that would be changed if given the chance.

Sample questions: Knowing what you know now, what might you do differently if you encountered a similar situation in the future? How would your reaction have been different if you had had more time? What information would you be sure to seek the next time around? Which of your preconceptions might you examine for the future?


Ask questions about how to Use the new insights just gained. Focus on questions about planning new actions. Encourage consideration of what could be done differently in a similar situation or how to apply this new learning in the near future.

Sample questions: What advice would you give to someone in a similar circumstance? What is a situation you anticipate in the next week where you could apply what you have learned? What is the single most effective thing you plan to do differently?

Ground, Understand, Revise, Use, the first letters taken together spell GURU, a reminder of the guiding and mentoring qualities of these questions. Whether with a team or on your own, I encourage you to consult your GURU the next time you feel stuck, frustrated, or even successful! Then, please, share what you learned (email Brian)!

Paris Workshops

Thiagi and Tracy in Paris

There will always be Paris, and Tracy and Thiagi will be there in November.

Here are brief descriptions of two workshops organized by Bruno Hourst (the best-selling author of several training books, including Les Jeux-cadres de Thiagi : techniques d'animation à l'usage du formateur) and his associate Patrick Dorpmund.

3-Day Workshop

Interactive Training Strategies

Agenda: Day 1: An Introduction to the Design and Delivery of Learning Activities. Day 2: How to Design and Use Different Types of Training Games and Learning Activities. Day 3: How to Design and Use Different Types of Simulation Games

Dates and schedule: November 16, 17, and 18. During the first two days, 9:00am to 5:00pm. During the third day (November 18), 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Venue: Residence Concordia, 41, Rue Tournefort, 75005 Paris.

Registration fee: 1100€ (approximately US$1400)

Language: Thiagi and Tracy will conduct the workshop in English. There will be simultaneous translation in French (via headphones) for people who choose it.

1-Day Workshop

A Treasure Chest of Games: A rapid hands-on introduction to the power of learning games in education and training

Agenda: Day 1: An Introduction to the Design and Delivery of Learning Activities. Day 2: How To Design and Use Different Types of Training Games and Learning Activities. Day 3: How To Design and Use Different Types of Simulation Games.

Dates and schedule: November 19, 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Venue: Residence Concordia, 41, Rue Tournefort, 75005 Paris.

Registration fee: 350€ (approximately US$450)

Language: Thiagi and Tracy will conduct their sessions in English, and Patrick Dorpmund will provide simultaneous translation in French. Bruno and Patrick will conduct their sessions in French.

For more information, download the English brochure.

Singapore Workshops

Thiagi and Tracy in Singapore

Tracy and Thiagi will be conducting their workshops in Singapore. Here are brief descriptions of two workshops organized by our colleague Stannis Benjamin.

3-Day Workshop

Interactive Training Strategies

Agenda: Day 1: How To Design Training Games and Activities. Day 2: How To Design Different Types of Training Simulations. Day 3: How To Conduct Training Games, Simulations, and Activities.

Dates: January 11, 12, and 13, 2011.

Venue: Grand Park City Hall, 10 Coleman Street, Singapore 179809.

Registration fee: Singapore$2250 (approximately US$1650)

1-Day Workshop

Follow-Up and Certification Workshop

Requirement: Completion of the 3-day workshop on Interactive Training Strategies within the past 2 years.

Agenda: Advanced interactive strategies: online games and simulation, outdoor adventures, and positive psychology exercises. Facilitation challenges: intercultural participants and controversial topics. Training design: Rapid prototyping and levels of evaluation. Design clinic.

Date: January 14, 2011.

Venue: Grand Park City Hall, 10 Coleman Street, Singapore 179809.

Registration fee: Singapore$450 (approximately US$330)

For more information, download the brochure.

Single Topic Survey

Do You Languish or Flourish Under Stress?
by Tracy Tagliati

Since workplace stress tends to grow in times of economic crisis, it's important to learn new and better ways of coping with the pressure.

For some workers, the uncertain economy is an emotional roller coaster. Layoffs and budget cuts have become all too common, and the result is increased anxiety, followed by higher levels of stress. Typically the higher levels of stress lead to an upsurge in absenteeism, irritability, and negativity.

While this is true for some, others seem to thrive under stress. They have discovered different ways of coping and actually using their increased levels of stress to help them get ahead. Instead of becoming negative, they become more motivated. Instead of becoming anxious they become more productive. And instead of becoming irritable they become driven to do their best.

Poll Question

How do you react to workplace stress?


(The poll opens in a new window.)

Open Question

What strategies or thoughts do you have about workplace stress?


(The survey opens in a new window.)

Send us your thoughts and ideas. You may choose to include your name along with your response, or if you prefer, keep it anonymous.

Thiagi and I recently ran a Happiness workshop and the topic of stress was brought up. Here's what some of the participants had to say:

Dani: In my experience, when employees feel stressed, they are more likely to jump ship. I think companies should focus on “stay” interviews rather than “exit” interviews, and ask employees what would help them reduce their stress and gain more satisfaction from their work.

Reneta: Our company has a training program for employees to build personal resilience so that when stress occurs in the workplace they are able to handle it.

Winnie: During the lunch hour, my employer offers Tai Chi classes. Not only does this give me the impression that my company cares for my health and welfare, I also found it to be an effective way to reduce stress.

Jonathan: I am an entrepreneur and I believe it is important to provide employees with a flexible workplace. I have found that being rigid increases stress not to mention resentment. So if someone works late to complete a project, they aren't expected to be at their desk at 8:00 am the next morning. I also give them a work-from-home option.

Survey Results

Instructional Motivation
by Tracy Tagliati

Last month we asked you if you thought extrinsic motivators or intrinsic motivators were more effective to get participants to perform at their best. Here is how you responded:

Intrinsic: 78% Extrinsic: 22%
(Percentages reflect votes received by August 26, 2010.)

We also asked you what motivational techniques you use in the classroom. Here are some of your responses.

Response 4) Read Alfie Kohn's book, Punished by Rewards. This book emphasizes the negative consequences of extrinsic rewards.

Response 3) People grow at different rates. When they are ready to learn, they will (when the student is ready, the teacher appears).

So I do not worry about the motivation and take-aways from my participants. I give them my best, and those who get it, get it—and those who don't never will OR are on delay. And it's OK either way.

Response 11) A great opening I've used at the beginning of our training class has been to have the class (approximately 40-50 participants) solve a cryptic cluster. The decoded message is always the number one learning objective of the class (even though the participants do not know this).

I make mention that I have “the news of the day—earth moving, shocking, CNN type news.” The first three that complete the puzzle correctly I call them up and give them the “news” written on an index card.

This motivates the whole group to work towards the solution. Now, here is the catch: As the participants continue to work on and/or finish the puzzle, they go to the three winners and compare their answer. If correct, they are provided the answer.

This keeps the group involved and the subsequent breaks where they are attempting to solve the puzzle. They know up front that this is information they want to know.

John Steiner
NaturaLawn of America, Inc.

See more of the reader's responses or add your own.

Thank you for your responses.


How To Make an Effective Presentation in 99 Seconds

Tracy and Thiagi are doing a monthly webinar series, sponsored by Training Magazine Network. You can attend for free, but you must register.

Here's the description of this month's webinar:

Fifteen years ago we discovered the cure for conference boredom: Challenge presenters to make a point-a real point with useful content-in just 99 seconds.

We have facilitated the 99-Second sessions at several international conferences in the USA and Australia. In the process, we analyzed hundreds of presentations and identified a list of engaging formats and best practices. We also discovered that the same principles and practices can contribute to the effectiveness and interest level of longer presentations and training sessions. After all, a 90-minute presentation is just a series of 99-second presentations.

Enjoy the session and master the skills that make you an efficient, effective, and entertaining presenter.

This month's 60-minute webinar will take place at 1pm Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, September 8, 2010.

For more information, see the webinar's page at . You may need to register (and log in) before you can view the webinar description.

Check It Out

The Wordplay Website ( )

We enjoy word games and puzzles. To keep our supplies continuously updated, we frequently visit the Wordplay Website:

The website contains more than 500 pages of puzzles, games, lists, book and game reviews, and intriguing facts.

On this website, you can have fun with anagrams, palindromes, spoonerisms, oxymorons, tongue twisters, pangrams, rebus puzzles, malapropisms, mnemonics, Tom Swifties, word records, nym words, redundancies, ambiguities, net lingua, etymology, and rhyming slang. If you don't know what some of these terms mean, that's all the more reason for you to visit the website.

Wordplay website also has useful reviews of books and games that deal with wordplay. There is also a convenient book store and game store. And you can play online versions of Boggle and Hangman.