Sometimes you just have to be silly


I looked on in horror as the facilitator arched her back, lifted her shoulders, raised her arms as if she had claws, opened her mouth and let out something resembling a screech.

I was at the LINGOs Global Learning Forum, attending Kristin Hibler‘s session on “L&D Applications of Improv”, and one at a time we were all supposed to copy what the facilitator had just done.

Nope. Uh-uh. Continue reading

Puzzle Me This: An activity for team dynamics

Effective working groups thrive on healthy team dynamics.

Over the past month or so I’ve opened several different multi-day workgroup sessions with an activity that has gone over quite well with audiences that have ranged from executive teams to frontline staff.

Puzzles 1

Following are the guidelines for the activity. It includes teamwork, puzzles, lockboxes and the need to listen to instructions. Continue reading

The best question I’ve found to open a training session or strategic planning workshop

Jeopardy Clue - 1

About a year ago, I was preparing a workshop when my co-facilitator suggested that we add a question into the opening icebreaker activity.

The question seemed a little too touchy-feely for me, but he was persistent, so we left the question in. I wasn’t expecting very high quality responses, and I was surprised when people actually gave sincere answers to the question.

It worked so well that I have since incorporated it into the opening of many of my training sessions and strategic planning workshops.

The question is: Continue reading

The Mindboggling Power of “Yes” vs. “No”

Change efforts can be difficult. Sometimes you have people who are true believers in the change from the start. Sometimes you have people who will never believe in the change. Often you have people who say they believe in the change, but in their minds and hearts they are thinking “this can’t be done.”

People don’t always appreciate how their (dis)belief in change can impact the effort. In order to illustrate the mindboggling power of the words “yes” and “no”, the  CEO of my organization used an activity to wrap up a two-day meeting revolving around important changes that needed to be made. I’ve done my best to re-create that activity in the following 3-minute video: Continue reading

Choosing An Icebreaker That People Will Not Hate

The phrase “Let’s get started with an icebreaker” will inevitably be followed by groans from your participants. Yet, breaking the ice at the beginning of a workshop or presentation is an essential ingredient to building rapport between audience members and establishing a relationship between the audience and you.

The first step is choosing an activity that is related somehow to your content and sets an appropriate tone for the remainder of your time with your audience. Here is a list of sixteen icebreaking activities that you may find useful.

Once you think you have an icebreaker that’s going to work for you, here is a list of five questions you’ll want to ask before you finalize your choice of ice breaker.

Icebreaker Challenge 1

Icebreaker Challenge 2

In the spirit of this weekend’s Sweet 16 stage of the NCAA basketball tournament, I’ve concocted a little game – a bracket challenge – if you’d like some help narrowing your selection of icebreaking activity. You can fill out your Ice Breaker Bracket here. If you do decide to take me up on this bracket challenge, I’d love to hear which ice breaking activity would be your 2015 champion. Drop a line in the comment section.

Do you have a preferred ice breaking activity that didn’t make it to my Sweet Sixteen list? Let’s hear about it in the comment section below.