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

Tool Kit
Thought Experiments
Mind games increase self-awareness.

Thought Experiment
The Grid
The meaning of life in a 2 x 2 matrix.

Guest Gamer
Interview with Grace Oreña
Our friend from the Philippines has some interesting ideas.

Full of Beans by Grace Oreña
Don't call her a bean counter.

Say It Quick
Being Verbose by Brian Remer
Meaning is in the mind of the listener.

Chat Pack Stories by Brian Remer
A conversation piece.

Multifunctional Stories by Brian Remer
Stories are like Swiss army knives.

Double Exposure by Brian Remer
One prompt, two stories.

Single Topic Survey
Instructional Motivation by Tracy Tagliati
What drives your participants?

Survey Results
Friends at work by Tracy Tagliati
Summary of your responses.

Bend Your Brain with Thiagi and Tracy
Be happy.





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.

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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!

Tool Kit

Thiagi had an opportunity to browse through the early issues of TGL during a long flight from Singapore to Indianapolis via Tokyo and Los Angeles. Perhaps because his brain was addled by jet lag, he thought that two articles from our June 2001 issue were worth reprinting. Here's the first one.

Thought Experiments

Thought experiments are independent mental activities that increase a player's self-awareness. Some thought experiments involve guided fantasies in which participants visualize new patterns of behavior or hold a silent dialogue with their alter ego. When combined with self-reflection, ideas and emotions generated through these mind games provide valuable insights.

Losses: A Sample Thought Experiment

You are one of 15 managers who have been selected to receive special training in change management. At the beginning of the two-day workshop, Almita, your facilitator, explains that she is going to conduct a guided-visualization activity that will involve personal information. This makes you slightly anxious. However, Almita reassures you by emphasizing that there will be no interaction among participants; nor will anyone be forced to share their thoughts and feelings.

Almita asks everyone to tear a piece of paper into eight smaller pieces. She asks you to write the names of two people who you enjoy working with, each name on a separate piece of paper. You write the names of your manager, Kathy, and your coworker, Dinesh. Following further directions from Almita, you write two each of these items on separate pieces of paper:

Almita begins to tell a story: Your company has hired a high-priced re-engineering consultant to recommend work-process improvements. As a result of implementing these changes, you lose two of your favorite items. To simulate this, Almita asks you to examine your pieces of paper and remove any two that you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of improved productivity at work. After some struggle, you decide to give up your desktop computer and your weekly team meetings. You put aside the two pieces of paper.

Almita's story continues. After 3 weeks, the consultant returns with additional recommendations. As a result, you have to give up two other favorite items from your remaining set.

As you anticipated, during the next segment of the story, you lose two more items.

During the third round, Almita changes the procedure slightly. She explains that due to increasing global competition, your company has launched an aggressive cost-reduction campaign. Your decision-making authority has been reduced significantly. Almita now asks each participant to reach over to the two remaining pieces of paper that belong to a participant seated nearby and randomly remove one to simulate this situation.

You are now left with a single piece of paper with “creative problem solving”, an important competency that you bring to your job.

Almita asks everyone to look at the item on the last piece of paper and cherish it for a few moments. She then tells everyone: “Crumple this piece of paper and throw it on the floor. You have been downsized and your branch of the company has been moved to Mexico.”

After a break, Almita talks about unanticipated personal losses that always accompany change initiatives in large organizations.


As a training strategy, thought experiments have several advantages:


Thought experiments have their share of disadvantages and limitations:

Types of Thought Experiments

All thought experiments share these two key features:

Different types of thought experiments vary in two key aspects: how instructions are presented and what types of responses are required.

Instructions to participants may be presented in the following forms:

Thought experiment participants may be asked to respond in any of the following modes:

More Samples

Here are some sources of thought experiment activities along with additional examples:

Have you been cubed yet? One of the oldest thought experiments is The Cube. This game, popular in the coffeehouses of Eastern Europe, is reputed to be of ancient Sufi origin. The game involves participants imagining a desert landscape with five specific elements. According to a current book about this game, your answer is a “soulprint” that provides a profile of your inner life. You can interpret the answer to discover unconscious truths about how you define yourself. If you are intrigued, you can get detailed directions and interpretations from either of these two books written by Annie Gottlieb and Slobodan Pesic:

Made in Japan. Kokology is a current fad in Japan that was created by Isamu Saito, a professor of psychology at Rissho University. Kokology activities ask you to answer questions about seemingly innocent topics and then reveal what your answers say about you.

Here's a sample activity from the paperback book, Kokology: The Game of Self Discovery (by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito published in 2000 by Fireside, ISBN 0-684-87148-3): Your task is to return to your childhood perspective and draw a design on a piece of paper using a single circle and any number of triangles and squares. After you have completed the task, you turn the page for instructions on how to interpret your design: The circle represents you while the triangles stand for work and study and the squares reflect society and its rules. The book suggests the significance of the size and the location of the circle, and the number, size, overlap, and locations of the triangles and squares. Even if you don't agree with the interpretation, the activity encourages you to think about your sense of self and your relationship with the world of work.

Beyond chicken soup. Forty of my most favorite thought experiments are contained in Drew Leder's brilliant book, Games for the Soul: 40 Playful Ways to Find Fun and Fulfillment in a Stressful World (published by Hyperion, ISBN 0-7868-8331-6). Surprisingly, this is a book on spiritual growth written by a professor of Western and Eastern Philosophy. However, the author does not believe in hard labor and self-sacrifice and suggests that fun, joy, and creativity can help you explore such basic values of generosity, gratitude, love, and forgiveness. In this truly inspirational book, Drew Leder draws from different religions to present his “way of play” without ever preaching or pontificating.

Here's an elegant mind game based on Leder's Time Traveling that I play almost every day. Whenever I get flustered, I enter into my imaginary time machine, set the dials for 20 years into the future, and observe what is happening from this distanced, detached perspective. Invariably I stop whining when my current disaster shrinks down to a small inconvenience. For playful instructions on how to use this activity as a TUD (Trivia Unmasking Device) and MUD (Meaning Unfolding Device), get a copy of Leder's book.

What Next?

Review the sample thought experiments and create your own versions to suit your needs and your audience. Get copies of the books mentioned in this section and play the games and play with the ideas. Create your own thought experiments. Read the instructions for The Grid in the following section. Follow the instructions and play the game. Then modify it for use in your training sessions.

Thought Experiment

Here's the second reprint from our June 2001 issue.

The Grid

Here's a structured activity that encourages introspection and increased self awareness. You can “play” The Grid by yourself by following the instructions, taking care not to read ahead before completing each task. You can also facilitate someone else through the activity by giving these instructions while the other person follows them.

Work through The Grid before helping others to use it. You may be able to use this activity as a closing exercise in many of your training programs by limiting and relating the scope to your objectives.



This is primarily an individual activity. However, you can conduct the activity with large groups of participants by asking them to work individually, without interacting with each other.


30-45 minutes.


A copy of the grid for each participant. To create the grid, fold a piece of paper in half and then fold it in half again in the other direction. Open the folded paper and lightly number the four quadrants thus:

4 1
3 2


Write different items in each of the four quadrants.

You can write anything that pops into your mind, as long as you write it in the appropriate quadrant.

So start writing. Stop when you feel that have run out of steam.

Don't read the next section until you have completed this task.


Did you really complete the task of writing items in the four quadrants before reading this section? If you did not, that's okay. Your behavior merely indicates that you are dyslexic or incapable of following directions or capable of making up your own rules.

Review the following list of Thought Triggers. See if these categories suggest more items that you can add to your grid:

Add more items to the grid as suggested by these thought triggers.

Do this before reading the next section.


Think back on what you did earlier in completing your grid.

I am going to ask you a series of questions. Think of the answers (you don't have to write them down or share them with anyone else) and figure out what they suggest about you.

Process check

Content check

Paired comparisons

Think about the grid. Add more items whenever you feel like it.

Please proceed with the next section of debriefing only after you have done this.

More Debriefing

So what implications does your grid have for future action? Here are some suggestions for you to think about. Feel free to write down the action items.

Quadrant 1

Review the items on the first quadrant. These are items that you want and have. Take one item at a time and think about the following action steps:

Quadrant 2

Review the items in the second quadrant. These are items that you want but currently don't have. Take one item at a time and think about the following action steps:

Quadrant 3

Review the items in the third quadrant. These are items that you don't want and don't have—but there is a chance that you may get them. Take one item at a time and think about the following action steps:

Quadrant 4

Review the items in the fourth quadrant. These are items that you have—but don't want. Take one item at a time and think about the following action steps:

Additional Suggestions

Here are some additional thoughts about The Grid as a self-assessment tool:

May the items on your grid keep moving toward the top right. However, may new items keep popping up all around the grid to keep your life exciting.

Guest Gamer

Grace “Grechie” E. Oreña has been developing and designing learning strategies and facilitating workshops across the Asia Pacific Region for more than 20 years, having designed over 100 workshops and trained over 16,000 individuals. Part of her mission of effectively applying innovative learning methodologies that produce superior return on investment is based on consistently traveling and training in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.A. Grechie and her team of facilitators have been successfully applying interactive strategies with loyal clients expressing their delight over the results and enthusiastic participants expressing their appreciation for the engaging and life changing experiences. Grechie may be contacted through or .

Interview with Grace Oreña

TGL: How did you get into designing and using games?

Grechie: In 1990, when I worked for an airline, I was tasked to design a course for the senior team members of our department. Our trainees were 5 to 20 years older and more experienced than us. In this context, we decided to use games because they were non-threatening and less invasive.

TGL: How long have you been designing and using games?

Grechie: Twenty years. My co-facilitators and I did not know what we were doing when we started using games. I knew some buzzwords and techniques (such as Integrated Learning and Accelerated Learning) when I joined our training department in 1996. Later, I learned about the design and use of training games on the job.

TGL: Where do you use games?

Grechie: Everywhere. I definitely use games at the beginning of a training session. This approach enables me to establish credibility and to build rapport. For my openers, I usually use kinesthetic polling activities. I ask a question and tell participants to line up (or cluster) to indicate their response. Then I join the line or the cluster at the appropriate location.

I also believe that games are a must for recaps, reviews, and for closing the training session with an impact.

TGL: How do your participants respond?

Grechie: They expect all training providers to be like us. Our methods produce high engagement and result in application at the workplace. They start a buzz and future participants look forward to attending our courses.

TGL: What was an embarrassing moment you had in conducting games?

Grechie: Last week I opened and closed a training session using a rope activity. I asked groups of participants to use the ropes to create a graph that represented where they were in relation to the training objectives. I was happy when the closing graph showed that the participants had moved closer to the objectives. I thought it was a successful and impactful training session with an effective opening and closing. However, during a focus group discussion after the session to assess its value, a number of participants told me that they did not see the relevance of the rope activity. They decided to create the positive graph just to make sure that the workshop ended on time.

This piece of information was disheartening. The lesson I learned was to stress the relevance of the activity during the initial instructions and during the debriefing discussion.

TGL: What advice do you have to newcomers about interactive training?

Grechie: Here is a set of guidelines that helps me:

Begin by conducting a single training game that is tried and tested. Practice conducting this game to develop expertise in giving instructions and conducting debriefing discussions.

For your first game, use a familiar game as it is or deconstruct it and use the frame for your own content. Keep asking questions that will stretch your creativity: How can you use Scrabble tiles in an activity that involves dance? How can you use the number and suits of playing cards in a collaborative story-building activity?

When you develop your first game, always be guided by your training objective. Focus on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that you want your participants to acquire. Think about what will be different about the participants from the time they start the game and the time they end it. Also specify what you will be able to observe during the play of the game.

When you are designing a training game, keep these factors in mind:

Believe that there is always an activity behind something you want to lecture about. Find this activity.

Make sure that your game involves sensory elements: Does it have visual, auditory, and kinesthetic components?

Always be learner-centric. Keep monitoring energy levels of your participants so you can rapidly re-design your game to respond to exhaustion or boredom. Be ready with an alternative game for use when the first game fails.

TGL: What supplies do you pack in your trainer's toolkit?

Grechie: Here are the essential tools that I carry with me whenever I conduct my training workshops:

TGL: What types of games do you use most frequently?

Grechie: I use a number of interactive lecture activities that I learned from Thiagi and his associates. I also use the Envelopes game and other structured sharing activities along with textra games. In addition I use a number of improv activities that I learned from the Applied Improv Network people.

TGL: Who are your favorite game designers?

Grechie: Thiagi, Tracy Tagliati, Chris and Becky Saeger, Kat Kopett, Roger Greenaway, Michelle Cummings, Matt Weinstein, and Sue Walden.

TGL: What is your prediction about the future of games?

Grechie: We are getting close to real-time gaming: Just-in-time activities for immediate application in the workplace and in personal life. We will also see increased use of rich multi-media environments, both online and offline, virtual and face-to-face.


Full of Beans
by Grace Oreña

I enjoy using beans for keeping score in training games. I use red, white, or black kidney beans and give each participant a transparent plastic cup to hold them. This arrangement permits visual monitoring. You can see which player needs to participate more and who needs coaching. This arrangement is also auditory. You can ask the participants to shake their cups to cheer their teammates or to give you feedback.

Full of Beans is a framegame that can be used for providing practice in applying skills related to your training topic. In the description below, I use business writing as the sample topic.


To become more fluent in business writing competencies.


Any number, divided into teams of three to seven members.


20 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of rounds and the number of items in each round



Brief the participants. Explain that you are going to conduct contests related to business writing skills. Participants will earn a bean for each correct answer. In addition, the team that has the highest total score will earn 10 beans as the team score.

Round 1. Fill in the blank

Explain the activity. You will project 10 sentences on the screen, one sentence at a time. These sentences will represent typical sentences from business writing, and each sentence will contain a blank for a missing word. Participants should work independently and write down an appropriate word that goes in the blank.

Project a sample sentence. Use this sentence as an example:

As always, our goal is to __________ your expectations.

Invite the participants to supply a suitable word for the blank. Give feedback. Point out that “meet” is an acceptable word, while “exceed” is a better alternative.

Project the sentences. Project one sentence at a time and pause for a suitable period of time to permit participants to write down their response.

Score the responses. Give appropriate words that could be used to fill in each blank. Invite participants to tell you any other word that they used and decide whether the word is acceptable or not. Work through all 10 sentences, giving each participant one bean for each correct answer. Determine the total number of beans earned by all members of each team and identify the team with the highest total score. Place 10 beans in the cup of this team.

Round 2. Use a word in a sentence

Explain the activity. You will project 10 words on the screen, one word at a time. Ask participants to write a sentence that uses the word appropriately.

Project a sample word. Use this word as an example:


Invite the participants to write a sentence that incorporates this word in a business context. Invite participants to read their sentences and give feedback.

Project the words. Project one word at a time and pause for a suitable period of time to permit participants to write down their sentence.

Score the responses. Invite participants to read the sentences they wrote and decide whether each sentence is acceptable or not. After going through all 10 words, give each participant one bean for each acceptable sentence. Determine the total number of beans earned by all members of each team and identify the team with the highest total score. Place 10 beans in the cup of this team.

A bean is given to each participant who is able to write a sample of each part of speech—they get 8 beans when they get all perfectly.

The winning team for this round is given 10 beans in the team cup.

Round 3. Correct the sentence

Explain the activity. You will project 10 sentences from business writing, each with one or more errors. Ask participants to rewrite the sentence with the error corrected.

Conduct the activity. Project the sentences, one at a time. As before give a bean to each participant who has identified the error and revised the sentence. Give 10 beans for the team with the highest total score.


You can adjust the time requirement by increasing or decreasing the number of rounds and the number of items during each round.

Say It Quick

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

Being Verbose
by Brian Remer

In this issue, I'll examine the value of telling a story for teaching, teambuilding, and creating rapport. But first, let's look at this 99-Word Story for some ideas about what makes a good tale in the first place.

Being Verbose

Katherine Sharpe edits her 400 Words Magazine at . Each essay is written in 400 words or fewer. In December of 2006, Newsweek magazine brought her to my attention by asking, “Can something significant be said in 400 words or less?” Well, can something meaningful be said in exactly 99 words or in a sonnet of fourteen lines? Can a bumper sticker ring true? Is there wisdom in a fortune cookie?

Let's be even more succinct. What about a caress or a kiss?

Meaning comes from the investment of the listener, not the quantity of the verbiage.


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

Chat Pack Stories
by Brian Remer

Big stories come in small packages. At least that's the case with Chat Pack Stories, a deck of 156 tiny cards each with a question designed to spark a full-size conversation. Open the pocket-sized plastic box, pull out a card at random, and read the question. Whether you are trying to break the ice, be the life of the party, invigorate your family dinnertime, or take advantage of a teachable moment, you'll find plenty of inspiration.

Chat Pack Stories are one of several conversation starter products from The Question Guys ( ), Bret Nicholaus and Paul Lowrie, who began their business by writing a book of original ice-breaker questions. That book evolved into four different Chat Pack collections. Besides a standard version, there is one for kids, one about Christmas, and one for telling stories.

Sample cards from the Stories Pack include:

Now, I'll admit a minor concern I have about this product by raising a question: What does it say about our ability to engage one another in meaningful conversation if we have to tote around a list of questions as a cheat sheet? That said, I do find Chat Pack cards engaging as well as effective for sparking discussions and sharing little-known stories among even those who are long-time friends. They work well with groups of any size. You could even use them to inspire your own personal journal writing. And who knows, using Chat Pack Stories might even teach you and your friends how to become better conversationalists!

When that happens, please let me know (email Brian)!


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

Multifunctional Stories
by Brian Remer

As the 99-Word Story for this month suggests, much of the responsibility for effective communication belongs to the person receiving the message. Yes, communication is a two-way street. Books have been written about how to tell a good story and deliver an effective message. But there is always the great unknown: What happens inside the head of people who hear your carefully crafted story?

Terrence Gargiulo has done a great deal of research and study about the effective use of stories. At his website, ( ), he talks about the many uses of stories, identifying nine functions a story can have:

  1. Empower a speaker
  2. Create an environment
  3. Bind and bond individuals
  4. Require active listening
  5. Negotiate differences
  6. Encode information
  7. Act as tools for thinking
  8. Can be used as weapons
  9. Medicine for healing

In his chapter Storytelling in The Handbook of Experiential Learning (Mel Silberman, editor, Pfeiffer, 2007) Gargiulo says, “These nine functions [of stories] are essential aspects of leading any learning experience. On the surface, we use stories to warm up a group, entertain them, and / or create an environment. …if we are a little vulnerable, circumspect, or reflective, and if we don't take ourselves too seriously, our intentions will spread through the group and positively affect its behaviors.”

Gargiulo's emphasis is on using stories to tap into the inner dialogue of listeners. Stories should be told in such a way that people are invited to share their interpretation and add to the group's understanding. He cautions, “Steer away from using stories to encode information. Stories that encode predigested messages such as allegories offer the weakest form of learning.” They miss this opportunity to invite others to weigh in with their ideas.

His preference is to open the room to the stories of everyone. “When people listen actively to one another, they enter the world of another person. Our understanding of another person's story is gained by working with bits and pieces of our own stories to find common connections between the story being shared and our own experiences.”

In other words, tell a story to get a story. That's the idea behind Chat Pack Stories and it's also the basis of the Activity for this month featured below.

(Terrence Gargiulo is author of Stories at Work, The Strategic Use of Stories in Organizational Communication and Learning, and In the Land of Difficult People. For more information about these and his other books as well as how to use stories effectively, go to .)


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

Double Exposure
by Brian Remer

When my daughter was very young, I noticed that she was most enthralled when I told the simplest stories. She seemed interested in hearing tales of the quotidian activities of my boyhood self back in the “olden days.” And I realized too that these simple stories were really a great opportunity to share my perceptions, fears, hopes, expectations, mistakes, and successes—exposing my “less perfect” side and making me as the “adult” a bit more “human.”

Being vulnerable by sharing a bit about oneself became the basis for a game I invented to celebrate my parent's fortieth anniversary. I created a deck of cards each with the inspiration for a personal story. Sample cards included, “Tell about a time you went to the dentist,” “Tell about a time you were jealous,” and “Tell about a time you tore something apart.”

To play the game, each person would role a die and move their marker on a game board to land on a picture of another family member. The game was called Double Exposure because both people would tell a story for the card that was drawn. To my surprise and the delight of everyone, the game held the attention of all sixteen members of our extended family from ages six to seventy-six for two hours. And, we learned so much about each other!

Later, I adapted the game for use with board members in a business setting who wanted to integrate new people into their team. This required only the modification of a few questions. Instead of a game board I used a token for each player. Role the die and move your token around the table. Wherever it lands, that person becomes your partner and you both tell a story about the card that you pulled from the deck.

If you'd like to try Double Exposure with your group, you can download the CARDS and DIRECTIONS. Just print it on perforated laser business cards available at stationery stores. Like the Chat Pack series, you can also pull a card at random and let several people tell a story. However you modify the game to suit your group, I'm certain you'll be pleased that you tried this simple technique to deepen relationships by sharing experiences. And, of course, when you do, please let me know the results (email Brian)!

Single Topic Survey

Instructional Motivation
by Tracy Tagliati

One of the biggest problems we continuously hear from trainers and educators is “My participants aren't motivated.” The fact is that everyone is motivated to move by something. It may not be the way we want them to move, but that does not mean that they are not motivated. It just means that they are motivated to move differently than we expect.

For example, a participant that is continuously texting messages on her cell phone during a workshop may be seen as an unmotivated learner. Yet that same participant is motivated to expend the energy necessary to pretend to be paying attention, hiding the cell phone under the table, and communicate with others. When we complain that this participant isn't motivated, what we are really saying is that this participant is not behaving like we expect them to perform.

The question is what is the best way to motivate participants to perform the way we expect? Should we use external motivators (money, attention, candy) based on the carrots and sticks principle, or should we subscribe to the intrinsic motivators (autonomy, mastery, and purpose) that are described in Daniel Pink's new book Drive?

Poll Question

What form of motivation do you think is the most effective to get participants to perform at their best?


(The poll opens in a new window.)

Open Question

What motivational techniques do you use in the classroom? How do you use them?


(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.

We asked some facilitators and trainers during our last workshop, and here is what they had to say:

Rick: I like using incentives and rewards. While I know it is important for my learners to find intrinsic motivators, I also think that sometimes incentives are a tangible expression of caring. In my opinion, learners are much more open to social influence than we may want to admit, and I find that letting my learners know I care makes a huge difference. I may not be able to buy them with incentives and rewards, but I can certainly acknowledge them and care for them.

Regina: I work in a competitive company in a highly competitive industry. We don't have time to run enlightenment camps.

Debbie: Extrinsic motivators may work initially, but in my experience, once an extrinsic motivator has been removed, participants revert almost immediately to their previous behavior patterns. A perfect example is that more than two-thirds of all prisoners are rearrested within three years of their releases!

Giovanna: I think you need to choose the appropriate motivator depending on the task. Some incentives work well for algorithmic tasks (tasks with specific steps and processes) but don't work well for heuristic work.

Survey Results

Friends at work
by Tracy Tagliati

Last month we asked if you had a best friend at work. Here's how you responded:

Yes: 39% No: 61%
(Percentages reflect votes received by August 1, 2010.)

We also asked you what are the benefits and pitfalls to having a friend at work, and you had some interesting things to say.

Here are some of the common themes:

Response 13) I had a best friend at work and she recently left. While here, I felt more engaged, collaborative and proud of my workplace. I feel her absence immeasurably now that she's gone. It's hard to fill that gap.

Response 6) While I answered “no” to the survey question, I appreciate having a best friend at work. In the past, I have had 2 friends at work. I looked forward to seeing them and collaborating with them. In a sign of the times, they both were laid off during economic down times. When they left, it greatly impacted my productivity.

Response 4) Benefits - Being able to bounce ideas off of each other. Support when things get crazy and you need someone to listen. Provide laughter, which helps you get through the day.

Pitfalls - Too much personal time together, during working hours. If the friendship goes through a rough patch, work is difficult.

Response 26) Pitfalls: Performance is critical in the work environment and if a friend is not performing, and that feedback is provided, it is not always taken well and can ruin the friendship. Or, if there are layoffs and one of the two of you is let go, that can cause problems too.

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

Thank you for your responses.


Bend Your Brain with Thiagi and Tracy

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:

In this session, we set out to prove that you don't have to be in a state of denial in order to be happier.

Here's how we do it:

These activities, based on ideas from ancient philosophers to modern researchers, have produced measurable results with thousands of participants. You can prove it for yourself by using the measuring instruments to monitor your levels of happiness.

This month's 60-minute webinar will take place at 1pm Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, August 4, 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.