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Games thiagi

  1. 1. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIGAMESWorkshops by ThiagiThird DegreeA game maximizes the learning from handouts and job aids. This type of game reinforces a readingassignment with peer pressure and peer support. THIRD DEGREE is a game that ensures the playersunderstand the principles presented in a handout.Distribute copies of the handout and warn the players that they will be subjected to an inquisition on the content.Specify the date, time, and location for the follow-up game.At the start of the THIRD DEGREE game, organize the players into groups of four to seven. Within each group,identify the first victim through some random means.For the next 2 minutes, the other players in the group will take on the role of inquisitioners, pounce upon thishapless victim, and pile up various questions. The inquisitioners may refer to their handouts and notes, but thevictim should not. The inquisitioners need not take turns, be polite, or wait for the victim to finish an answerbefore firing the next question. There need not be any logical sequence among the questions. The whole idea is totry to confound the victim.At the end of 2 minutes, stop the torture. Ask the current victim to select a new victim. Repeat the procedure foranother 3 minutes. Continue the process until all players have had an opportunity to be the victim.To convert this activity into a game, use this scoring procedure: At the end of the last inquisition, ask each playerto distribute 100 points among the other players on the basis of their relative performance. The players do this bywriting the points on pieces of paper, folding them, and placing them in front of the appropriate person. Eachplayer opens the pieces of paper and adds up the points. The player with the highest total wins the game.SECRET COACHESHeres a neat activity to ensure that everyone shares the responsibility for maintenance functions during a teammeeting.When participants arrive, they write their names on individual index cards. At the start of the meeting, someonecollects these cards, turns them upside down, shuffles them, and passes them around. Everyone takes a card,making sure it is not the one with her or his name. The name on the card (which is kept hidden from others) is thepersons secret protégé.During the meeting, everybody contributes to the discussion as usual. In addition, each person secretly monitorshis or her protégé and makes sure that person participates appropriately.For example, if your protégé, John, is withdrawn, you may encourage him by saying, "What do you think ofMarys idea, John?" On the other hand, if John dominates the discussion, you may ask Mary, "What do you thinkof Johns idea, Mary?"Set aside 5 minutes at the end of the meeting. Ask participants to identify their secret coaches. The whole idea isnot to be spotted by your protégé. This means that you distribute your coaching comments to several differentpeople during the meeting, which is a good idea anyway. Also, you may work through someone else to coachyour protégé -- which is another good idea.FORBIDDEN WORDS: A Framegame for ReviewsHeres an interesting game to play near the end of a workshop. It helps you to review major concepts.
  2. 2. Games and faciltating tips THIAGICan you describe the concept of simulation game without using any of these words: simulation, game, play,rules, reflect, represent, model, win, lose, and real? You may not use other forms of these forbidden words either.For example, reflection, reflective, or reflected are not acceptable.Heres my attempt: This is an activity which is very much like what happens every day. It involves make-believeand pretending, but it is not drama or a roleplay. It is usually done on a computer, but a computer is notnecessary. In training, you may have teams of participants involved in this activity . . .Heres how to incorporate this idea into a game: Participants are organized into triads. Each participant picks up acard that has a concept to be described. This card also lists words which should not be used in defining theconcept. The first player (sender) describes the concept and the second player (receiver) tries to guess theconcept. The third player (monitor) keeps track of the time and makes sure that none of the forbidden words areused. When the receiver guesses correctly and shouts out the concept, the monitor announces the time. This timeis recorded on both the senders and the receivers score sheet.The second player now becomes the sender, the third player the receiver, and the first player the monitor. Adifferent concept is used. The same procedure is repeated until all three players have had a chance to be thesender. The player with the shortest total time is the winner.By the way, if the sender uses a forbidden word, both the sender and the (innocent) receiver are arbitrarily given atime of 3 minutes!When you load this framegame, the secret is to select the concepts and the taboo words with care. Force yourplayers to come up with plain English translations of technical definitions.GLOSSARY: A Framegame for Reviewing ConceptsRemember the DICTIONARY game in which the players try to fool the others with their fictional definitions ofesoteric words? Heres a version of the game for reviewing technical terms from your workshop.You can play GLOSSARY with any number of people from 3 to 30. With up to 6 people, play this as anindividual game. With 6-30 people, divide them into three or more teams of approximately equal numbers.The game description that follows is for the individual version. You should have no difficulty modifying it for theteam version.Each round of this game requires 3 minutes. Play at least three rounds.Select a technical term (for example, performance gap). Distribute index cards to all players. Give 2 minutes foreach player to write down a definition of the term, imitating the textbook definition that would be found in a theglossary section of a technical manual. Ask the players to put their initials on their definition cards. While theplayers are busy, copy the official glossary entry from the technical manual.After 2 minutes, collect everyones definition cards. Mix the official card with the others, shuffle them, and readone card at a time. Ask the players to try to identify the official definition from the technical manual.Read each card again. After reading the card, ask players if anyone thinks it is the official card. Write down thenumber of players selecting each card.This is how the scoring goes:• Each card receives as many points as the number of players who thought it was the official card. These points belong to theplayer who wrote the card.• Also, each player loses a point for being fooled by an unofficial card.• Finally, players who chose the official card receives an extra point.Play the game for a prespecified number of rounds. Use a different technical term for each round. For example, Iused these terms for the next five rounds: internal customer, input standards, process map, metric, and rootcause.At the end of the last round, the player with the highest score is the winner.GLOSSARY forces individuals and teams to review the critical features of various technical concepts. You canapply it to any technical subject-matter area.HELLO!
  3. 3. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIPurpose:To collect background information about the participants.Time:15 to 30 minutes.Participants:At least 10.Supplies:• Flipcharts or blank transparencies• Timer• WhistlePreliminaries. Before the workshop, figure out what types of information you want. In order of priority, here is a sample list for aworkshop on simulation games: participants needs, participants jobs, simulation gaming experience, attitude toward simulation gaming,reason for attending the workshop, and preferred mode of learning.Team Formation. At the start of the workshop, divide the participants into as many teams as there are categoriesof information you want. Assign each team to a different topic.Planning Session. Ask the teams to retire to convenient corners and spend 3 minutes devising a strategy forefficiently collecting the information from all participants. Warn everyone that the total time for collecting all thedata will be only 3 minutes.Data Collection. Announce the beginning of the data collection period. Ask the teams to collect the data (usingwhatever strategies they devised earlier) within the next 3 minutes. Step back to avoid being trampled in thehectic rush to interview each other.Summarizing Data. After 3 minutes, call time. Ask the teams to retire to their corners, process the data, andproduce a summary report on a transparency or a poster.Presenting Results. After 3 minutes, announce the start of the show-and-tell period. Call on teams in a randomorder and give each team a minute to make its presentation.Variations:Too many people? Assign the same topic to different teams.Not enough time? Suggest that teams sample representative participants rather than attempting to intervieweverybody.Too much time? Conduct a preliminary brainstorming activity to identify relevant areas of information to becollected. Ask teams to design a questionnaire before collecting the data.Too late? Use the game as an end-of-workshop activity. Here are some suggested topics: the best feature of theworkshop, the worst feature of the workshop, the most useful skill learned, plans for using the skill, andsuggestions for improving the workshop. Use the same frame, but call your game GOODBYE!IM A ....Heres a fast-paced activity to highlight different cultural variables.Ask participants to complete this sentence:I am a(n) _______________ .After they have done this, ask them to complete the same sentence 10 different ways.Ask each person to place his or her list (written side down) on a table and pick up some elses.Debrief by calling out various categories and asking for examples from different lists.Here are some suggested categories:• activity level (couch potato)• age (senior citizen)• association membership (Mensa member)• astrological sign (Aries)• belief (pro-life proponent)• birth order (first born)• ethnicity (hispanic)
  4. 4. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI• family type (person from a large family)• gender (woman)• interests (mystery-story reader)• language (Spanish speaker)• marital status (divorced woman)• national origin (African)• national politics (Democrat)• organization (IBM employee)• personal characteristic (impatient person)• personality type (introvert)• physical characteristic (tall person)• political ideology (capitalist)• profession (trainer)• professional approach (behaviorist)• race (Caucasian)• region (Southerner)• religion (Roman Catholic)• socioeconomic status (yuppie)• thinking style (analytical)• tribe (Kpelle)Stress the main learning point that there are more dimensions of difference than race or national origin.LIGHT, MEDIUM, OR HEAVYPurpose:To encourage the participants to make personal statements.Time:15 to 20 minutesSupplies:• Stimulus cards. These cards contain words or phrases that the participants talk about. Create your own packet of about 20cards to suit your participants and your topic.• Paper and pencil for keeping scoreExample: Here are some of the stimulus words that we used in a workshop on teambuilding: lemonade,followers, income tax, freeloaders, my role, groundrules, goal, waste of time, computers, budget, beeper,midnight, window, money, short people, and leadership. Note that some words are related to the topic and someare irrelevant; some are bland and some are potentially embarrassing.Participants:3 to 7. If you have more participants, divide them into roughly equal-sized groups of 3 to 7 and have the groupsplay in a parallel fashion.Flow of the game:1. The stimulus cards are shuffled and placed face down in the middle of the table.2. The first player picks up the top card and reads the stimulus word. This person now has to make a personal statement related tothe word that reveals something about himself or herself. This statement should not take more than a minute.Example: Greg picks up the card with the stimulus word lemonade and saysWhen I was about 9 years old, my mother always asked me to get lemonade for my grandfather. I used tospit in the glass before getting the lemonade because I guess I didnt like my grandfather. When he diedrecently, he left me a lot of money. I feel very guilty about what I did during those lemonade days.3. After the statement, each of the other players holds up 1, 2, or 3 fingers to indicate how personally revealing the statement was.A light or flippant statement gets 1 point. A heavy, emotional, embarrassing statement gets 3 points. Other statements belong tothe medium category and get 2 points. Different players may hold up different numbers of fingers. The speaker counts the totalnumber of fingers and writes it down on his or her scorecard.Example: The four other players found Gregs statement schmaltzy. They all gave him 3 points, for a total of 12.
  5. 5. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI4. If a player does not want to talk about a particular stimulus word, he or she can pass, getting no points for the round. The nextparticipant may then use the skipped card, or pick a new card.5. The activity continues with the next player picking up a new stimulus card. All players keep track of their total scores.6. Depending on the available time, the activity may end after the third, fourth, or fifth round. Make sure that everyone has anequal number of turns.QUE CARDSA game maximizes the learning from handouts and job aids. This type of game reinforces a readingassignment with peer pressure and peer support. QUE CARDS is a game that ensures that theparticipants read a handout for details and recall these details later.Distribute the handout and ask each participant to read it -- and prepare 10 question cards based on its content.Each card should have a closed question on one side and the single correct answer on the other.After a suitable pause for studying the handout and preparing the question cards, organize the participants intogroups of four to seven. Ask each group to mix up the question cards from its members and exchange the wholepile with another group.After the exchange, ask the group to place the cards in the middle of the table, question side up. The first playerreads the question on the top card, without removing it from the pile. Within 10 seconds, this player gives ananswer. Any player may challenge by giving a different answer.If there is no challenge, the first player wins the card.If there is a challenge, the card is turned over to reveal the correct answer. Whoever gave the correct answer (theoriginal player or the challenger) wins the card. If neither answer is correct, the card is buried in the middle of thepile for recycling.It is now the turn of the next player to read the question on the next card and continue the game as before. Thecard pile may contain duplicate questions or questions that are similar to previous ones. This introduces aninteresting element of chance to the game.The game comes to an end when the group runs out of the question cards. (Alternatively, you can stop the gameat the end of a prespecified period of time.) The player with the most cards wins the game.Secret MessagesA game maximizes the learning from handouts and job aids. This type of game reinforces a readingassignment with peer pressure and peer support. SECRET MESSAGES is a game that ensures that theplayers understand the principles presented in a handout. This game taps into the players’ visual intelligence.Distribute copies of the handout and ask each player to pay special attention to the rules, principles, guidelines,and suggestions contained in it. Suggest that they visualize the main points as they read the handout. Warn theplayers that they will be playing a game that will punish non-readers and reward those who take the readingassignment seriously. Specify the date, time, and location for the follow-up game.At the start of the SECRET MESSAGES game, organize the players into groups of four to seven. Give eachgroup a bowl of counters (pennies, paper clips, or poker chips) and a packet of message cards. These cards areblank on one side and have a printed message (a rule or principle) on the other side.Ask each group to shuffle the packet of cards and place it in the middle of the table, message side down.Ask the tallest person in each group take the first turn to be the artist. This artist picks up the top card, reads themessage silently, and keeps it hidden from the other players.One of the players in the group keeps time for 2 minutes.The artist draws a series of pictures on blank sheets of paper to convey the message in the card. The artist shouldnot use any letters, numerals, or symbols found on a standard keyboard.The other players attempt to guess the message and shout out their guesses.If a player shouts out the correct message, the artist says, “Done!” and shows the card. After verification, he picksup two counters from the bowl. The player who guessed the message correctly picks up one counter.If the timekeeper announces the end of the 2-minute period before anyone has correctly guessed the message, thecard is buried int the middle of the packet for recycling. No one (except the artist) knows what the message was.
  6. 6. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIThe player seated to the left of the artist becomes the new artist. The game continues as before.The game comes to an end when the group runs out of the message cards. (Alternatively, you can stop the gameat the end of a prespecified period of time.) The player with the most counters wins the game.TIME SAVERSYou probably have your own special techniques for saving time. In this fast-paced team game players to share avariety of time-saving tips.PurposeTo identify practical strategies for reducing the impact of different time wasters.Players6 to 30Time45 minutes to 1 hourSupplies• Blank envelopes• Index cards• Timer• WhistlePreparationPrepare the time-waster envelopes. Select four or five major time wasters in organizational settings. Write adifferent time waster on the face of each envelope.Andy uses this game as a follow-up activity to TIME WASTERS. He uses the time wasters that were identified asthe top five in the previous game:Trying to completely satisfy customersToo many reports to writeLack of planningDelays in budget approvalInability to say "No"Flow of the ActivityOrganize the players. Divide the players into 3 or more teams, each with not more than 7 members. Teamsshould be approximately the same size. Seat the teams in a rough circle to facilitate the exchange of envelopes.Brief the players. Review the time wasters. Explain that the players should brainstorm appropriate strategies toeliminate each time waster, or at least to reduce its impact.Distribute the supplies. Give one time-waster envelope and several blank index cards to each team. Refer to theindex cards as time-saver cards.Conduct the first round. Ask the teams to brainstorm strategies for handling the time waster on the envelope.These strategies should be recorded as short phrases or sentences on the time-saver card. Announce a 2-minutetime limit for this activity and encourage the teams to work rapidly. Explain that the time-saving tips willeventually be evaluated in terms of both their quantity and their practical value.Conclude the first round. After 2 minutes, blow a whistle and announce the end of the first round. Ask eachteam to place its time-saver card inside the envelope and pass the envelope, unsealed, to the next team. Warn theteams not to open the envelope.Conduct the second round. Ask the teams to read the new time waster on the envelope (without looking at thetime-saver card inside). Tell the teams to repeat the procedure of brainstorming and recording strategies on ablank index card. After 2 minutes, blow the whistle and ask the teams to place their time-saver card inside theenvelope and pass it to the next team.
  7. 7. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIConduct more rounds. If you are pressed for time, move to the evaluation round (see below). If you have ampletime, conduct a few more rounds using the same procedure. Do not conduct more rounds than the number ofenvelopes minus one.Andy conducts 4 brainstorming rounds (which is the maximum number of rounds with 5 envelopes).Conduct the evaluation round. Begin this round just like the previous ones. However, the teams do notbrainstorm more strategies. Instead, they open the envelopes and comparatively evaluate the time-saver cardsinside. They do this by reviewing individual strategies on each card, and then comparing entire cards to eachother. Teams distribute 100 points among the time-saver cards to indicate each cards relative practical usefulness.Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.Present the results. At the end of the time limit, check that the teams have recorded the points on each time-saver card. Select a team at random to present its results. Ask the team to read the time waster from the face of theenvelope and then to read the ideas on each card, beginning with the lowest-ranked card. The teams shouldprogress from one card to the next, in ascending order of points.Determine the winner. After all the teams have presented their evaluation, instruct the teams to place the time-saver cards on a table at the front of the room. Then call for the representatives from each team to collect theirresponse cards. Ask the teams to add up the points on their cards to determine their total score. Identify the teamwith the highest score as the winner.Debrief the players. Briefly comment on interesting patterns among the time-saving tips. Also comment on thesimilarities among the ideas from different teams. As a follow-up activity, ask each player to select a personal setof time-saving tips for immediate implementation.VariationsNot enough time? Short each brainstorming round to 1 minute. Move to the evaluation round after twobrainstorming rounds. Ask the evaluating teams to select the best time-saving card (instead of distributing the 100points among the cards).Not enough players? You can play this game with as few as three players. Ask the players to respondindividually to the time-waster envelopes. If you have more time-waster envelopes than teams, repeat the game acouple of times with new sets of envelopes.Too many players? Organize the players into teams of 5 to 7 members. Prepare several sets of the same time-waster envelopes so that more than one team responds to the same time waster.TIME VALUETime is money. This game helps players make sure that their time and money are well spent.PurposeTo enhance the value of short periods of time.Players6 to 30Time30 - 45 minutesSupplies• Four or five flip charts with felt-tipped markers• Timer• WhistlePreparationAssemble a panel of judges. Near the end of this game, you need 2-5 people to determine the winning teams.Enroll a few of your friends and tell them that all they have to do is to listen to half-a-dozen ideas and decidewhich one is best and which one is the most unique. This activity should not require more than 5 minutes of theirtime.
  8. 8. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIFlow of the GameForm teams. Organize the participants into three to five teams, each with not more than seven members. It is notnecessary for all teams to be of equal size.Assign teams to flip charts. Ask each team to stand by a flip chart. Make sure that the teams have plenty ofmarkers.Announce the first topic for brainstorming. Tell the teams that they have 5 minutes to brainstorm alternativeresponses to this question:You have $5 to spend. How can you make sure that you get the maximum value for this money?The teams should make sure that all members participate and someone writes down their ideas on the flip chart.The team should generate as many ideas as possible within the 5-minute period. They may use several sheets ofthe flip chart paper.Conclude the first brainstorming session. After 5 minutes, blow the whistle. Announce the end of thebrainstorming session. Explain that the first session was just a warm-up to get prepare them for the second one.Ask the players to flip the pages over and begin with a blank sheet of paper.Announce the second brainstorming topic. Tell the teams that they have another 5 minutes to brainstormalternative responses to this new question:You have 5 minutes of free time to spend any way you want. How can make sure that you get the maximum valuefor this time?Ask the teams to use the same procedure as before.Conclude the second brainstorming session. After 5 minutes, blow the whistle again. Announce the end of thebrainstorming session. Tell the teams that you are now going to award score points for their accomplishments.Identify the winning team in the first category. Begin by asking the teams to count the number of alternativeideas in their list. Identify the team with the most ideas and declare its members to be the winners in the Numberof Ideas category.Identify the winning team in the second category. Bring in your friends and introduce them as the panel ofjudges. Ask each team to copy the two best ideas from its flip chart list on to index cards, each on a separate card.Collect these cards, shuffle them, and read the ideas. Ask the judges to select the best one among these ideas.Identify the team that contributed this idea and declare its members to be the winners in the Quality of Ideascategory.Identify the winning team in the third category. Explain that one of the goals of brainstorming is to generateunique and unusual ideas. Ask each team to copy the two most unique ideas from its flip chart list on to two indexcards. Use the same procedure as before and ask the judges to select the most bizarre — or the least conventional— idea. Identify the team that contributed this idea and declare its members to be the winners in the Unique Ideascategory.Thank the judges. Tell the judges that their job is done and they may retire to their chambers. Lead a round ofapplause for the departing judges.DebriefingIntroduce the debriefing session. This game requires some in-depth debriefing to ensure that the playersdiscover and share key learning points. Explain the purpose and the format of the debriefing session. Heres asuggested script:You probably have some interesting things to discuss about your experiences in the game you played. I want toconduct a debriefing session to help you share your insights in a structured fashion.Conduct the debriefing. Begin with a broad question such as: What did you learn from this activity? Encouragethe participants to share their insights. Whenever appropriate insert these questions into the discussion:• This activity used several time-management techniques. Can you figure out what they were?• Whenever you have to solve a problem or explore alternatives, brainstorming is an efficient and effective technique. Could youhave come up with such a variety of alternative ideas by working individually? What are the advantages and disadvantages ofbrainstorming?
  9. 9. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI• Imposing an artificial deadline is a useful time-management technique. We used a deadline of 5 minutes. What would havehappened if we did not have any deadlines? What if we had a 2-minute deadline?• Your ideas were evaluated according to three different criteria: quantity, quality, and uniqueness. What if I had specified thesecriteria at the beginning of the activity? Could you have worked more efficiently? Why did no one ask for the goal, or thecriterion, or the scoring system at the beginning? What assumptions did you make?• What if the judges used a single criterion (such as clarity of language) that was not specified in the beginning? What if thiscriterion was specified at the beginning? What implications does the goal or criterion have for efficient time management?• People claim time is money. We brainstormed ideas for enhancing the value of 5 dollars and 5 minutes. Compare your twooriginal lists. Which ideas are similar between the list for spending money and spending time?• To continue with our brainstorming topics, heres another: You have 5 extra minutes every day. How can you make sure thatyou get the maximum value for spending this time? How can you build up some thing valuable over a year?Conclude the debriefing session. End with this broad question: How can you apply your insights back in yourworkplace? Encourage the players to select one or two 5-minute value-enhancement strategies for immediateapplication.VariationsNot enough time? Jump right into the 5-minute value-enhancement brainstorming. Replace the debriefing with aquestionnaire for the players to complete at their own convenience.Cant assemble a panel of judges? You act as the judge. Or ask some of the participants (preferably thelatecomers) to work as observers during the game and judges at the end of the game.TIME WASTERSMany of us go through life in a mindless fashion, wasting valuable time. This game encourage you to discover thefactors that contribute to wasted time in the workplace. It also helps you to figure out which time wasters youshare with the others and which ones are unique to you.PurposeTo identify major time wasters in the workplace and arrange them in order of their impactTime30 - 45 minutesPlayers6 to 30Supplies• Paper and pencil• Flipchart and felt-tipped markersFlow of the GameBrief the players. Explain that several factors encourage (and sometimes force) people to waste time in theworkplace. Ask the players to name a common time waster. Comment on this example. Point out that identifyingmajor time wasters in the workplace is the first step in removing them and reducing their impact.Begin with individual brainstorming. Ask the players to spend a couple of minutes to reflect on the major timewasters in the workplace and to independently write down a list.Steve thinks about time wasters in his office. After a few moments, he writes down these ideas:• Telephone calls• Saying "yes" to too many people• Waiting to see the boss• Meetings without agenda• InterruptionsForm teams. Organize the players into three or more teams, each with 2 to 7 players.Andy, the facilitator, asked the players to form themselves into four teams of five members each. Steve joins ateam with Diane, Ronnis, Deb, and Peter. The team members briefly introduce themselves to one another.Assign teamwork. Ask the teams to spend the next 5 minutes recording a list of time wasters in the workplace.Encourage the team members to use the ideas they had generated earlier.
  10. 10. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIDeb acts as the teams reporter. While other team members call out different time wasters, Deb writes themdown, adding her own ideas from time to time. In 5 minutes, the team generates a total of 17 ideas.Ask the teams to narrow down their lists. Instruct each team to select the five main time wasters.After some discussion and debate, Steves team narrows down its list of time wasters to these five items:1. Too many reports to write2. Meetings without agenda3. Delays in getting budget approval4. Meaningless committee meetings5. Open-door policyPrepare a common list. Ask the teams to take turns calling out one of the main time wasters on their list. Recordthis time waster on the flipchart. Encourage the teams to avoid repeating the items already on the list. Continuethis procedure until the common list has 10 to 12 time wasters.Here is the final list:1.People coming to meetings without doing their homework2. Waiting to see the manager3. Too many reports to write4. Lack of planning5. Wasting time trying to satisfy customers6. Inability to say "No"7. Problems in locating documents8. Delays in budget approval9. Wasting time on trivial items10. Too many committeesAsk the teams to select the worst time waster. Explain that you are looking for an item that everyone will seeas wasting the most time in the workplace. Ask the players to review the items in the common list and select, withthe other members of their team, the worst time waster.Explain the scoring system. The teams will receive a score equal to the total number of teams that selected thesame time waster. For example, if four teams selected, "Telephone calls" as the worst time waster, then each teamwould receive 4 points.Steve has some trouble understanding the scoring system. Peter explains that they should simply choose the itemthat most of the other teams will choose.Conduct the first round. Tell the teams to select the worst time waster from the common list on the flipchart.Circulate among the teams, gently speeding up the slower teams. Write down each teams choice on a piece ofpaper.Peter suggests that the major culprit is "Lack of planning" and everything else in the list is a result of this factor.Diane disagrees with this claim. Deb suggests that they should choose "Too many reports to write" because shethinks most other teams will choose it. Steve and Ronnis agree to this suggestion.Award points and rank the worst time waster. Announce each teams selection. Draw a line through the timewaster in the flip chart list that was selected by most teams during this round. Place the number "1" in front of thisitem to identify it as the top-ranked time waster.Three teams chose "Wasting time trying to satisfy customers" as the worst time waster. These teams received 3points each. Only Steves team chose the item about writing reports, so they received 1 point. The facilitatordraws a line through "Wasting time trying to satisfy customers," and marks it with a "I."Continue the game. Ask the teams to review the list and to identify the next-worst time waster. The teams mayselect (or re-select) any item from the flip chart list, as long as it does not have a line through it. After collectingthe choices from each team, repeat the scoring and ranking procedure. Continue until the teams have identifiedthe top 5 time wasters.During the second round, Steves team decides to stay with "Too many reports to write." This item is selected byall the teams, so they all receive 4 points each.
  11. 11. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIBreak ties. If there is a tie for the worst time waster, award scores as before — but do not rank or draw a linethrough any of the items. Give the teams 1 minute to prepare a presentation to persuade the other teams to selectthe same item. Then give each team 30 seconds to make its presentation. After the presentations, ask the teams toselect a time waster. Award scores and rank the item receiving the most choices. If there is still a tie, draw a linethrough all the tied items, and give them the same rank.During the third round, the four teams select four different items. Andy, the facilitator, gives 1 point to each teamand explains the tie-breaking procedure. Speaking on behalf of his team, Peter explains how the lack of planningis the root of all time wastage. He also points out that this factor incorporates all other time wasters. Perhaps asa result of this presentation, two other teams switch to this item during the next round.Conclude the game. Continue with the game until the top 5 time wasters are identified. Announce the conclusionof the game and ask the teams to add up their scores. Identify and congratulate the winning team.After two more rounds, these are the top five time wasters:I. Wasting time trying to satisfy customersII. Too many reports to writeIII. Lack of planningIV. Delays in budget approvalV. Inability to say "No"Steves team has a total score of 13 points and wins the game.Award points for the original lists. Ask the teams to retrieve their original lists and compare the time wasters ontheir list with the final top 5 list. The original list gets five points if it has the top-ranked time waster, 4 points if ithas the second-ranked time waster, and so on. Ask the teams to add up the score for their original list. Identify theteam with the highest score total and congratulate its members for having created the best original list.Steve and his teammates check their original list and discover that it has the second and fourth items from thefinal top 5 list. This gives the list a total of 6 points. Garys team has the best original list, with 12 points.Debrief the players. Ask the players to compare the items on their original individual lists with the final top 5list. Encourage the players to discuss how their personal perceptions differ from those of the others.VariationsNot enough time? Eliminate the initial step of individual brainstorming. Eliminate the final step of comparingthe teams original five items with the final top five time wasters. Create a shorter flip chart list. Instead of 10time wasters, settle for seven. Specify a time limit for each round. Instead of asking the teams to select item at atime, ask them to select the top three.Not enough players? With fewer than six players, play an individual version of the game: Conduct the game asusual, but with individuals (instead of teams) generating and selecting the time wasters.Too many players? Divide the players into smaller groups. Then divide each subgroup into teams and play thegame in a parallel fashion.WHO SAID THAT?Purpose:To help the participants share background information.Time:10 to 20 minutesSupplies:• Blank index cards.• A flipchart with four or five questions that suit the participants and your topic.Example: Here are the five questions that we used in a workshop on learning to use the World-Wide Web:1. What is your primary reason for coming to this workshop?2. What is a major worry that you have about this workshop?3. How would you rate your current knowledge of the Internet?4. What type of computer do you use?
  12. 12. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI5. What do you think a Web page is?Participants:3 to 7. If you have more participants, divide them into roughly equal-sized groups, and have these groups play ina parallel fashion.Flow of the game:1. Display the list of questions.2. Ask the participants to take one of their cards, and write the number "1" and their answer to the first question. They shouldrepeat the process with each of the other questions, writing one answer per card. Ask the participants to place their answercards face down in the middle of the table.3. Ask one participant to shuffle the answer cards and deal them out, face down, one card at a time.4. Announce that the activity will last for 10 more minutes. Start a timer.5. Ask the first participant to take one of the cards and read it aloud. If asked, this participant may read the card again, but may notshow the card to anyone. (This is to prevent participants from recognizing the handwriting on the card.)6. All the participants (except the reader) now guess who wrote the card, and write down their guess. (The person who actuallywrote the card should write down his or her own name, assuming that he or she is not the reader.)7. After everyone has finished writing, they reveal their guesses. The person who wrote the card identifies himself or herself.Those who guessed correctly score a point. The card is then placed face up in the middle of the table.8. The second participant now selects one of his or her cards and reads it aloud. The same procedure is repeated.9. If a card has the last remaining answer to a particular question, the person merely reads it and places it in the middle of thetable. (There is no point in guessing, since everyone knows who wrote that card, through a process of elimination.) Playcontinues with the next person.10. Stop the game at the end of 10 minutes. Declare the person with the most correct guesses to be the winner.11. To bring things to a close, ask the participants to read the answers on the remaining cards and ask the writers to identifythemselves.ZOOM: A Creativity Game1. Divide the participants into two or more teams of three to seven members each.2. Ask each team to identify an opportunity or a problem. Ask them to convert this opportunity or problem into aquestion, using the format suggested by Van Gundy: In what ways might we . . . ?Give an example to illustrate the task. Heres one that I use:In what ways might we sell books to professionals on the internet?3. Ask the team to transform this question into four higher levels of abstraction, one level at a time. Give anexample such as this:Original question: In what ways might we sell books to professionals on the Internet?Question at the next higher level: In what ways might we sell books on the Internet?Question at the next higher level: In what ways might we sell things on the Internet?Question at the next higher level: In what ways might we sell things?Question at the next higher level: In what ways might we persuade and influence the others?4. Distribute five index cards and a rubber band to each team. Ask the teams to write their five questions, one oneach card. Then ask them to put the question cards on top of each other, with the question sides on top. The mostabstract question should be visible on the top card and the other questions should be hidden below. The mostspecific question (the original question) should be at the bottom of this packet of question cards.5. Ask the teams to place a rubber band around the packet of question cards, give the packet to another team andreceive a packet from yet another team. (No two teams may exchange their packets with one another.)6. Ask the teams to read the question on the top card and spend 3 minutes brainstorming alternative responses.The team should record its answers on a flip chart or a piece of paper.7. After 3 minutes, ask the teams to remove the top card and to read the question on the next card. As before,team members should brainstorm alternative responses for this question for the next 3 minutes, building on theearlier responses.8. At the end of 3 minutes, ask the teams to read and respond to the question on the next card. Repeat thisprocedure two more times to end with responses to the most specific form of the question.
  13. 13. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI9. Ask the teams to return their packet of question cards along with the lists of brainstormed responses to theappropriate teams. The teams should review the responses, select the most useful ideas, and integrate them into anaction plan.(ZOOM is one of the games from Thiagis forthcoming book, More Creativity Games. You will find a model forthe creativity process and several games for profiting from opportunities and solving problems in Thiagis earlierbook, Creativity Games.)TRIPLETS: An OrganizationA triplet is a set of three words that are linked by a common fourth word. Heres an example:MAKER - TENNIS - STICKWhat word links these three words? The linking word should appear before or after each of the three words toform well-known compound words or phrases.The correct answer for this triplet is MATCH as in match maker, tennis match, and match stick.Here are 17 more triplets for you to solve. After you have solved all of them, read the first letters of the linkwords to identify the name of an organization that you should be interested in.We will reveal the solution to the puzzle on the first of every month and give you a new puzzle. If you cant waitfor the solution, call Sheila at (812) 332-1478.1. EATER - RAG - SEA2. BLACK - BRANCH - OIL3. BAND - BULLET - STAMP4. BEE - SERIAL - PAIN5. AGENT - TRADE - SERVICE6. RED - AIR - DOG7. AGENT - BOWL - JUICE8. BLANK - NUMBER - SPORTS9. DRUM - JOY - LIP10. BUG - FLOWER - ROOM11. GRAVE - JUNK - STICK12. CRIER - DOWN - GHOST13. BAND - LINE - EGG14. AVERAGING - NET - TAX15. BAG - CONDITIONER - FORCE16. CERTIFICATE - CHRISTMAS - WRAP17. AGE - PUMPING – WAFFLESolutionWEED 1. EATER - RAG - SEAOLIVE 2. BLACK - BRANCH - OILRUBBER 3. BAND - BULLET - STAMPKILLER 4. BEE - SERIAL - PAINSECRET 5. AGENT - TRADE - SERVICEHOT 6. RED - AIR - DOGORANGE 7. AGENT - BOWL - JUICEPAGE 8. BLANK - NUMBER - SPORTSSTICK 9. DRUM - JOY - LIPCHUNKS: A Quote About GamesA chunks puzzle takes a phrase and divides it into equal-sized chunks. The chunks are then scrambled (or alphabetized). For example,Hello world.
  14. 14. Games and faciltating tips THIAGImight be broken down into[HEL] [LD.] [LO ][WOR]Here is a larger chunks puzzle. This is a quote about games (and no, it hasnt appeared on our quotes page ;-). We will reveal the solutionto this puzzle on August first and give you a new puzzle. If you cant wait for the solution, call Sheila at (812) 332-1478.A Quote About Games[-NO] [D L] [IN-][NG!] [O A] [O W][OSI] [PLA] [T T][VOI] [Y T]Hint: A dash (two hyphens: "--") appears in the middle of this quote.SolutionThe correct order of the chunks is[PLA][Y T][O W][IN-][-NO][T T][O A][VOI][D L][OSI][NG!]Which translates as Play to win--not to avoid losing!TRIPLETS: Random CorrespondentsA triplet is a set of three words that are linked by a common fourth word. Heres an example:MAKER - TENNIS - STICKWhat word links these three words? The linking word should appear before or after each of the three words toform well-known compound words or phrases.The correct answer for this triplet is MATCH as in match maker, tennis match, and match stick.Here are 21 more triplets for you to solve. After you have solved all of them, read the first letters of the linkwords to identify the names of two people selected at random from those who recently sent us e-mail.We will reveal the solution to the puzzle on the first of every month and give you a new puzzle. If you cant waitfor the solution, call Sheila at (812) 332-1478.1. SNOW - SUMMER - INTERVIEW2. COUPLE - JOB - NUMBER3. TENNIS - GREASE - ROOM4. RED - LOVE - OPENER5. FRAME - PLUS - VITAMIN6. RED - LINE - TURTLE
  15. 15. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI7. SMOKE - PLAY - COMPUTER8. COMPANY - FIRE - TERM9. CLUB - MARE - SILENT10. HOUSE - BERET - EVER1. BED - CHILD - MAY2. TIME - WASH - WEED3. MIDDLE - STONE - NEW4. AGE - YEAR - BRAND5. NAP - BURGLAR - FISH6. AVERAGING - NET - TAX7. DRUM - JOY - LIP8. BOX - BRAKE - POLISH9. CRISIS - LEVEL - SOLAR10. CHAIR - WRESTLING - FIRE11. CHRISTMAS - ELEPHANT - SNOWSolutionJOB 1. SNOW - SUMMER - INTERVIEWODD 2. COUPLE - JOB - NUMBERELBOW 3. TENNIS - GREASE - ROOMLETTER 4. RED - LOVE - OPENERA 5. FRAME - PLUS - VITAMINNECK 6. RED - LINE - TURTLESCREEN 7. SMOKE - PLAY - COMPUTERINSURANCE 8. COMPANY - FIRE - TERMNIGHT 9. CLUB - MARE - SILENTGREEN 10. HOUSE - BERET - EVERFLOWER 1. BED - CHILD - MAYRAG 2. TIME - WASH - WEEDAGE 3. MIDDLE - STONE - NEWNEW 4. AGE - YEAR - BRANDCAT 5. NAP - BURGLAR - FISHINCOME 6. AVERAGING - NET - TAXSTICK 7. DRUM - JOY - LIPSHOE 8. BOX - BRAKE - POLISHENERGY 9. CRISIS - LEVEL - SOLARARM 10. CHAIR - WRESTLING - FIREWHITE 11. CHRISTMAS - ELEPHANT - SNOWTRIPLETS: Personality TestA triplet is a set of three words that are linked by a common fourth word. Heres an example:MAKER - TENNIS - STICKWhat word links these three words? The linking word should appear before or after each of the three words toform well-known compound words or phrases.The correct answer for this triplet is MATCH as in match maker, tennis match, and match stick.Here are 27 more triplets for you to solve. After you have solved all of them, read the first letters of the linkwords for an amazingly accurate listing of your personality traits.We will reveal the solution to the puzzle on the first of every month and give you a new puzzle. If you cant waitfor the solution, call us at (812) 332-1478.1. SMOKE - COMPUTER - PLAY2. GUN - SLOT - TIME3. BURGLAR - CLOCK - FIRE
  17. 17. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIYour personality traits: Smart, creative, unconventional.All the Quotes (So Far) About GamesHere are all the quotes we ran previously:A good game traps you into being yourself.If you dont lose a few games, youre not taking enough risks.Playing a game is like making love: Fun in the right context. And some people dont like it.Reality is a crutch for people who cannot cope with simulation games.In a simulation game, you dont see a new process. You see an old process with new eyes.People learn more from a short experiential activity than from a long lecture.Advice to simulation game participant: Feel comfortable about feeling uncomfortable.Stop student abuse now: Replace lectures with instructional games.Lectures tell you what to do. Training games make you do it.Roleplaying: Walking in another persons moccassins.The game is never lost till won. -- George CrabbeTake serious things playfully and playful things seriously.Hear it . . . and forget. Play it . . . and understand.Its not whether you win or lose--but how you play the game.You need two years of playing to recover from each year of schooling.Children need games to increase their understanding.Adults need games to decrease their misunderstanding.Games dont develop character; they just reveal it.Life is a game that does not have practice rounds.If you must play, you cannot play. --James P. CarseA finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing to play. --James P. CarseNo one can play a game alone. One cannot be human by oneself. -- James P. CarsePlayful intellectual inquiry . . . [provides] our best access to reality. -- Lawrence B. SlobodkinQuotes About GamesA good simulation game answers your questions. A better simulation game questions your answers.If you dont lose from time to time, you are not learning from the champs.Practice safe training: Use simulation games.Simulation game: The best mind-altering drug.Its not whether you win or lose--unless you happen to be the loser.TIPS AND TECHIQUES FORFACILITATORSWorkshops by ThiagiHere are some tips, tricks, and techniques for facilitators.I will keep adding to this set of tips frequently. Keep checking this section. The latest tips are always on the top.• Paperless Facilitation
  18. 18. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI• Trust Department• Politically-Correct Confusion• Beyond Simulation - Into Dissimulation• It Takes Two• Any Questions?• Combat the PLB• Debrief Yourself• Does Not Talk?• Does Your Game Provide Artful Instruction?• The Game Belongs to the Players• How Do You Feel?• ID Cards• Instant Game Cards• Interactive Posters• KNOTS: A Politically-Correct Version• The Most Effective Use Of Instructional Games• Play It Again, Sam!• Play It Again, Sam! (Part 2)• Simulate A Simulation Game• Talks Too Much?• Video Arcade• When Your Simulation Game Bombs• Whistle While You WorkSimulate A Simulation Game• You dont have enough time.• The participants are overdosing on too many experiential activities.• The airline lost your luggage with all the simulation artifacts.• Its raining when you want to conduct an outdoors simulation.These are some of the reasons that stop you from using a simulation game.You can reap the benefits of a simulation game--without actually playing it! Just tell your participants a storyabout the play of the simulation game.Example: A group of participants learn to play a simple card game by reading a set of rules. After 3 minutes,they discard the rule sheets, play the game silently, and keep scores. After another 3 minutes, the winningpartners at each table move to the next table and start a new round of silent play. Few minutes later, youropponents pick up the cards that you won. You ignore this, think that they probably made a mistake. They grabthe next set of cards that belong to you. You stand up and scream. You point to the ace and gesture wildly toindicate that your partner played it and, therefore, the trick belongs to you. Your opponents simply stare at youwith a confused look.At some dramatic decision point in your story, ask your participants what they think happened and what theywould do in that situation. Then give the explanation:.In this simulation game, the players get into trouble because they are playing by different rules. For example, inTable 1, aces are the highest cards. In Table 2, they are the lowest. Most players initially assume that theopponents are either stupid or dishonest.Continue with your story, from the point of view of the players. Stop the story at critical junctures for audienceinput.When your story comes to an end, conduct the usual debriefing discussion.Thats all to the technique of simulated simulations.The Most Effective Use Of Instructional Games
  19. 19. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIThe people who learn the most from an instructional game are its designers!This is because game designers have to analyze the topic, convert the concepts into game materials, and createrules that reflect real-world models. In the process, the game designers learn a lot.Here are some guidelines for exploiting this fact:• Describe a framegame and ask the participants to create the necessary game materials.• Give the participants a training game with a few question cards and ask them to create more. Later,exchange the question cards among different teams and have them play the game.• Provide a template for a simulation game and ask the participants to design their own game.• Give the participants a generic game board and have them create the game cards.• Play a popular trivia game (example: TRIVIAL PURSUIT or OUTBURST) and ask the participants togenerate suitable cards (related to the training topic) for use with the game.• Identify a popular TV game (example: FAMILY FEUD or JEOPARDY) and ask the participants todesign the questions for these games.The Game Belongs To The PlayersNever forget this principle.While playing an instructional game, the players may modify your rules. As long as these changes dont affect theinstructional outcomes, dont get uptight. Leave them alone to play and to learn.I actually encourage the players to mess with the rules if they want to. Sometimes when the players design abetter way to play the game, I revise the rules for future play.Players make excellent co-designers of your games.Video ArcadeI create several computer games dealing with the content of my workshop. I use the Computer Game Shellssoftware package to design these games.(You dont have to design your own computer game if you can locate some suitable item that is related to yourworkshop objectives.)I set up a couple of computers with these games in the back of the room. I tell the participants that they can playthese games during the breaks and in the evenings.All the games contain a Hall of Fame screen that lists the high scorers and their scores. This is a powerfulincentive to motivate most players.Interactive PostersI learned from Libyan Cassone the importance of adorning the walls of the classroom with posters. This is a well-known accelerative-learning strategy.The passivity of the posters used to bother me slightly. I now mix some interactive posters along with the othersthat affirm and challenge and reassure the learners.These interactive posters are enlargement of instructional puzzles. They include TRIPLETS, CROSSWORDPUZZLES, CRYPTOGRAMS, CHUNKS, and a variety of other formats. All poster puzzles deal with contentthat is related to the topic of the workshop.I get my posters enlarged at the local Kinkos. I tie a string with a pen to each poster. I fill in a few items in eachposter to encourage the others.During coffee breaks, there are more participants clustered around these puzzle posters than around the coffeepot.Play It Again, Sam!Most facilitators worry about repeating the same simulation game with the same group. They believe that theparticipants will get bored and complain.
  20. 20. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIMore often than not, this is a projection of the facilitators own boredom and anxieties. If you think about it, thereare lots of instructional advantages in replaying a simulation game.This is how I do it:• I conduct a simulation game.• I debrief the participants to analyze the decisions, strategies, and other factors.• I repeat the simulation game, asking the participants to do apply their new skills and knowledge to surpasstheir previous performance.Id rather repeat a 15-minute simulation twice than play a 30-minute simulation once.Play It Again, Sam! (Part 2)Most facilitators worry about using similar training games with the same group. They believe that the participantswill get bored and complain. They especially dont want to use the same framegame (instructional games with thesame procedure but with different content) more than once.Usually, this anxiety is a projection of the facilitators own boredom. If you think about it, nobody gets boredplaying SCRABBLE or CHESS or QUAKE or BRIDGE more than once. Actually, the more you play, the moreyou get addicted to the game.Theres a special advantage to reusing the same framegame to teach different content. The participants dont haveto learn the rules and the mechanics of the game again. They can focus on the content.Recently, I used the framegame GROUP GROPE five times in a row in a strategic planning retreat.• During the first round, the participants identified major needs of the customers.• During the second round, they predicted what the future is going to look like in their industry.• During the third round, they anticipated what their competition is up to.• During the fourth round, they worked out corporate strategies for the next 5 years.• During the fifth round, they identified the drivers and restrainers that would influence the implementationof the new strategy.The efficiency of the group improved from one round to the next as they became more fluent with the flow of theframegame.Try a piece of do-it-yourself experiential learning: Use the same framegame twice in your next workshop.ID CardsArrange a deck of playing cards with the four aces on top, followed by the four 2s, then the four 3s, and so on.At the start of the workshop, count the number of participants and remove that many cards from the top of thedeck. Shuffle this packet and give a card to each participant. (If late-comers straggle in, give each of them a cardfrom the top of the left-over cards in the deck.)Ask the participants to show their cards to each other and explain that these cards are their ID cards.• When you want the participants to pair up, ask them to find another participant with the card of the samevalue and the same color (example: 3D and 3H).• To assemble 4-person teams, ask the participants to find others with cards of the same value (example:5C, 5S, 5D,and 5H).• To divide the participants into four teams, ask them to find the others with cards of the same suit. You willend up with a team of hearts, a team of spades, a team of diamonds, and a team of clubs.• Instead of asking for volunteers, randomly call out the name of a card (example: "Seven of Diamonds!")and ask this person to do whatever you would have asked the volunteer to do.For the use of cards in an interactive lecture, see INTELLIGENT INTERRUPTIONS (on page 48 of InteractiveLectures). For the use of cards arranging the participants into cooperative learning teams and rearranging theminto contest groups, see page 24 of LEARNING TEAM.Playing cards make a versatile randomizing device.
  21. 21. Games and faciltating tips THIAGICombat the PLBWhen should you use an experiential activity and when should you not use it? The empirical evidence in this areais inconsistent and contradictory. But all participants agree that you should use an experiential activity afterlunch.After the lunch break, all participants suffer from a syndrome called the Post-Lunch Blahs (PLB). They have anurgent desire to take a nap. This is the time for using an icebreaker or an energizer. Actually, this is a better timefor an icebreaker than the beginning of the workshop.Short, fast-paced activities that involve physical activities are especially suited for combatting the PLB. Forexample, check out KNOTS (later in this section) or FOOD CHAIN (in the Games section).KNOTS: A Politically-Correct VersionYou have probably used the energizer KNOTS: Each participant holds one hand each of two other participant.When everyone has done so, a human knot is formed. The object of the exercise is to untangle the knot, withoutletting go of the hands that you are holding.Some people are worried about potential complaints of sexual harassment in conducting KNOTS. Bill Matthewsrecently introduced me to an elegant variation. Instead of holding hands, people hold the ends of short ropes! Cutjump ropes in half and use a piece of rope of each participant. Slightly twist the collection of ropes and hold themin the middle. Ask each participant to grab hold of an end of a rope in each hand. Let go of the rope. Ask theparticipants to untangle themselves by stepping under and over different pieces of ropes without letting go of theends.Guarantee: Nobody ever nods off during this activity.Instant Game CardsSome time ago, my friend Anne Harman asked me if there is a way to rapidly produce game cards.Many games use cards with questions, information, or instructions. It takes a lot of time and money tocommercially print these cards. During the initial testing of a game, you dont want to invest this much money.On the other hand, handwritten cards look shabby and typewritten cards take a long time to produce.Our solution is to use a word processor to typeset the cards and print them on sheets of laser business cards. Weuse Avery Laser Business Cards (#5371), and most word processors (like WordPerfect or Microsoft Word forWindows) have ready-made templates to rapidly align your cards and to print them. After you have printed thesheets you can tear them apart along the micro-perfed lines. Each sheet yields 10 standard size (2" x 31/2") cards.Each box produces 250 cards.Whistle While You Work!Sometimes, you desperately need to get the participants’ attention in the middle of an activity. Usually theparticipants are so busy talking to each other, solving problems, making decisions, or working out strategies thatthey totally ignore you. You need to announce important rules or procedures and you are worried that people willmiss your announcement and blame you later.This is a problem for all facilitators. In situations like this, you have to be assertive.Long time ago, friends of mine who were teaching hearing-impaired children taught me a foolproof strategy: Youturn the lights off. Total darkness gets everyone’s attention. Then you turn the lights back on and make yourannouncement. This strategy works with hearing participants also. Obviously, it will not work if daylight streamsin through the windows.I have experimented with different noisemakers (gongs, xylophones, bells, chimes, buzzers, banging on the wall,drums, sirens, and screams). They work effectively, but some of them irritate the participants. And some attractall the dogs and police officers in the neighborhood.
  22. 22. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIMy favorite noise-maker-and-attention-getter is the train whistle. It is a wooden whistle usually sold in craftshops and county fairs (or you can order them from Workshops by Thiagi). The sound is pleasant and nostalgic. Itattracts participants’ attention.At the beginning of a group activity, I stress the importance of paying attention to my announcements. I thenintroduce the participants to the sound of the train whistle and ask them to please stop whatever they are doingand listen to me when the whistle sounds. I also request the participants to politely shut others up whenever theyhear the whistle.The train whistle is a great tool when you train people.Does Your Game Provide Artful Instruction?At the 1997 Anaheim ISPI Conference, our friend Steve Yelon made an invited Master’s Presentation on creativeinstruction and artful training.A checklist that Steve used for identifying artful instruction can be readily applied to training games. I have usedthis checklist to evaluate and analyze my games and other people’s games. Using these results, I have made thegames more creative.Is your game memorable? This is the first item on Steve’s checklist. Does your game include novelty, surprise,incongruity, cleverness, and meaningfulness?Is your game inspirational? Do the players go "Oh!" because it elevates their spirit and emotion? Do the playersgo "Aha!" because it provides insights? Doe the players go "Ah!" because it appeals to their aesthetic sense?Is your game elegant? Is the design refined yet ingeniously simple?Most of my games score high on one or two of the checklist items. I am now designing an ultimate game that willscore high on all three items. And then, I’ll retire and live off the royalties.How Do You Feel?The debriefing model that I use begins with this question:How do you feel about the activity and the results?The purpose of this question is to give an opportunity for the participants to get their feelings and emotions offtheir chest and get ready for the intellectual analysis in the latter phases of debriefing. Skipping the step can behazardous: The participants can be so preoccupied with their own internal conversations about their feelings thatthey do not mindfully participate in the external conversation. Also, their responses to other questions (such asWhat happened during the activity? or What did you learn from the activity?) are likely to involve emotionaloutbursts or griping comments.Many facilitators avoid or skip any discussion about feelings and emotions during the debriefing. Usually, theyproject their reluctance to the participants and explain that this particular group does not like to discuss touchy-feely issues because they are engineers (or accountants or managers or whatever). If you really believe in tappinginto emotional intelligence and combining it with the other forms of intelligence, you probably would not skipthis phase of debriefing.But this does not mean that you should overemphasize the discussion of feelings. Explain that your aim is just togive people an opportunity to briefly vent their frustrations or share their elations and move on to the other phasesof debriefing. Treat the statements as bits of information and not as personal attacks. Dont get defensive.Discourage the participants from attempting in depth psychoanalysis of different feelings.If you are still uncomfortable asking How do you feel?, change your question to What are your reactions to theactivity?Talks Too Much?When someone dominates a discussion, the other participants hold back their ideas. Team members get bored.Instead of coming up with solutions that incorporate a wealth of diverse opinions, the team ends up with amediocre decision.Here are some suggestions for dealing with participants who talk too much:
  23. 23. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI• Avoid discouraging the excessive talker. Instead, encourage the others to participate more.• Go around the group, giving each participant a turn to talk.• Divide the group into pairs for preliminary sharing of ideas. Then ask each pair to give a summary reportof their discussion.• Impose air-time limits on participants. Give the participants equal number of poker chips, each worth 30seconds of talking time.• Interrupt the person with a question directed to someone else.• Acknowledge the comment and involve others: "Al, that was an interesting insight. Barbara, what are yourviews on this issue?"• Before the meeting or during a break, enlist the help of the excessive talker in encouraging the silentparticipants to open up.• At the start of the meeting, establish equal participation by all members as a team goal. Encourage theparticipants to help monitor and manage personal participation.Does Not Talk?I am not sure who presents a tougher challenge to the facilitator: the participant who talks too much or the onewho talks too little. It is easy to ignore the silent ones than the excessive talkers. Remember, however, that youpay now or pay later. Silence does not always mean consent. It may mean that the uncommunicative participant isplotting future sabotage.Encouraging the silent types to talk will help ensure a much more inclusive solution and speed up theimplementation. Also it will set a model for equal participation from everyone.Here are some suggestions for dealing with participants who dont participate:• Reduce the anxiety level by using an alternative format. For example, break the large group into dyads forpreliminary sharing of ideas. Then ask each pair to give a summary report of their discussion.• Ask the participants to write their concerns, comments, suggestions, or whatever on index cards. Then askthe team to cluster these cards and organize them into themes.• Direct questions to the silent participant. Ask questions related to the silent participants areas of expertiseand interest.• Ask the silent participant to react to someone elses statement.• Ask everyone to take turns to make a 1-minute presentation.• Reinforce comments from the taciturn participant (without appearing to be patronizing).• Before the meeting or during a break, talk to the silent participant. Emphasize the importance of her or hisparticipation and collaboratively work out strategies to increasing the level of participation.• Before the meeting or during a break, assign the role of identifying and drawing out the reluctantparticipant to a one or two team members.• Call on the silent participant by name. Frequently use the name of this participant.When Your Simulation Game BombsWhat if your simulation game fails miserably? What if the participants behave in an unusual fashion and produceunexpected results?Dont worry! Remember that a simulation game does not succeed or fail. It just gives data for debriefing. Youhave interesting data to be discussed during debriefing. Confess that you were flabbergasted by the results andask for possible explanations. Say something like,Usually, when I conduct this dollar auction, the top bid is around $6. Your top bid was only 70 cents.What do you think made this difference?During the discussion, discuss the principles that are supposed to control the outcomes of the simulation.Encourage participants to re-design the simulation game to make it more predictable. For example, invite them tochange the auction rules to guarantee a top bid of $10.
  24. 24. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIThese speculations and manipulations will provide as many insights to the participants as if the simulation hasworked like it should have.Debrief YourselfAfter a simulation game, it is important to debrief the participants. After everybody has gone home, it is equallyimportant to debrief yourself.Suggested questions:• What did I do especially well?• How did the outcomes of todays run differ from the outcomes of the previous ones?• What minor change should I try next time?• What unusual comment was made during the debriefing?• What was unique about this group?Based on your reflections, make suitable adjustments to the simulation game.Any Questions?Most participants brains seem to stop functioning when you invite them to ask questions. They all becomesuddenly bashful and avoid eye contact.Possible causes: fear of asking a foolish question or appearing to be the only confused person in the room.Suggested solution: Give everyone an index card. Ask participants to write a question which a confused personmay ask. Then ask participants to turn the card with the written side down and pass it to someone else.Participants continue passing the cards in random fashion until you yell "Stop!" after about 15 seconds. Makesure everyone has a card. Now select a participant at random and ask her to read the question on the card. Suggestthat the participant may pretend to read the card -- but actually ask his or her own question. Give a brief answerand continue by selecting another participant.Trust DepartmentA novice facilitator panics easily. When something doesnt appear to work, he or she concludes that the sky isfalling. Within seconds, this facilitator rushes with an alternative, only to get caught in a vicious circle.An experienced facilitator refuses to panic. When something doesnt appear to work, he or she concludes that it isstill cooking. This facilitator waits patiently until things fall in place and the activity flows smoothly.Two pieces of advice to help you leap from the novice to the expert state:• Trust the team. Most teams are self-correcting systems. For example, they will bring the disruptivemembers under control without your having to throw a temper tantrum.• Trust the process. Focus on the overall results and not on the temporary glitches. Sooner or later, the badthings will be swamped by the good things.Remember the upside-down strategy: Dont do something, just stand there. And keep your mouth shut!Politically-Correct ConfusionIm facing a new type of problem in team meetings: Some of the participants talk in a convoluted, politically-correct fashion that leaves the others confused (and paranoid). Instead of blurting out, "Why cant you come to themeeting on time?", the politically-correct participant says, "I dont want to stereotype from few examples of yourbehavior, but you seem to have a tendency to operate under an apparently different perception of chronologicalvalues as they relate to agreed-upon sharing sessions among team members".Here are some suggestions for dealing with this type of problem:• Compliment the participant for his or her sensitivity and ask for a clarification of the comment.• Ask other participants if they understood the comment. Do this without appearing to ridicule the personwho made the politically-correct comment.• Avoid making fun of the participants communication style.• Discourage the other participants from responding sarcastically to the politically-correct comment.
  25. 25. Games and faciltating tips THIAGI• At the beginning of the meeting, reassure the participants that all comments will be held in strictconfidence and they should feel free to speak their mind.• At the beginning of the meeting, discuss strategies for achieving a balance between insensitivity andclarity.Beyond Simulation - Into DissimulationI recently conducted my games workshop in Olds, Alberta. Donna Baker, one of the participants from Calgaryshared this dramatic news item with us:During the morning assembly, the principal of a Calgary high school announced the sad news that six studentswere killed in a drunk-driving accident. Everyone was shocked. The classmates of the missing students weregrief-stricken. Friends of these students were emotionally upset.Later in the day, the principal announced over the schools public address system that his report was not true. Hemade it up to force the students to think seriously about the consequences of drunk driving. The missing studentsturned up to attend their classes, dressed in black to remind their classmates that with drunk driving, death is justaround the corner.The principals action caused a major uproar among the students and their parents. Several people praised theprincipal for his dramatic lesson. An equal number of people blamed him for lying and playing with the studentsemotions. There was a major uproar about whether or not the principals actions were justifiable.In the meantime, the students were jolted out of their apathy and learned an unforgettable lesson.The principals approach goes beyond simulation into dissimulation. The key element of dissimulation is that theparticipants are not aware that they are participating in a simulation or a roleplay. This type of activity has apowerful impact and effectively transfers to the real world. It fits Steve Yelons definition of artful instruction.But dissimulation raises some nagging questions. Are the students ever likely to trust the principal? Did theprincipal model a honest and authentic mode of communication?For more details about these questions, read page 283 of Roger Schwartzs The Skilled Facilitator: PracticalWisdom for Developing Effective Groups. Basically, Schwartz thinks that it is inappropriate to use an exercisewhen it withholds information or relies on deception. For an in-depth discussion of the ethical implications of thisapproach (especially in sociological research), read Sisela Boks Lying. For a gut-wrenching fictional treatment ofthis issue, read Orson Scott Cards Hugo- and Nebula-award winning SF novel, Enders Game.Dissimulation is widely practiced in corporate training and measurement activities. For example, mysteryshoppers measure the levels of customer service provided by employees. These employees dont know who is agenuine customer and who is a specially-trained evaluator, pretending to be a customer.Police sting operations and infiltration take this strategy to elaborate heights. Many of these activities arequestionable and some (labeled entrapment) are illegal.My advice to facilitators is to examine aspects of dissimulation in their training exercises, carefully consider theirpros and cons, seek the advice of objective others about their justification, and then make an informed decision.It Takes TwoHeres an idea for reducing disruptive behaviors — and minimizing their impact during team meetings: Workwith a co-facilitator.One of you can focus on the participants while the other focuses on the content. When you are focusing onthe participants, you can move close to somebody who is reading a newspaper or proofreading a report orcarrying on a side conversation. You can intervene at appropriate times to call on some reluctantparticipant for his or her comment. You can take a problem participant aside to clarify some instructionsor request more cooperation.Heres another idea for reducing disruptive behaviors — and minimizing their impact: Ask each participant towork with a buddy.
  26. 26. Games and faciltating tips THIAGIDivide the participants into pairs. Make each participant responsible for his or her partners behavior. Thepartners coach each other to ensure appropriate behaviors. For an elaboration of this buddy system, seeSECRET COACHES in our games section.Paperless FacilitationImagine asking your team members to write their ideas on large-sized cards. You collect these cards and slapthem on the wall. They stick to the wall! Team members study the cards and move them around. They cluster theitems into logical groups. The cards stay stuck to the walls.No, these cards are not made of sticky note paper. Nor are they magnetized. They are a part of a low-tech, high-touch system called the Paperless Boarding System.To use the system, you buy one of several different kits. My kit comes up with a roll-up whiteboard made of aflexible, ultra-strong polished vinyl that can be written on (with overhead projector pens or dry-erase markers).The kit also includes rectangular strips of different colors and sizes. These strips have static cling backing thatsticks directly to the whiteboard surface and to each other. (They also adhere to standard whiteboards, glasswindows, or to any smooth non-porous surface.)The paperless boarding system provides you with a versatile, flexible tool. You can now do things on the verticalwall that you were able to do only on a horizontal surface. I have used the system to collect and organize ideasfrom the group and to team-base wordsmithing. It works much better than index cards, flipcharts, stick notes, andmasking tape.For more information about this new and useful product line, call 1-888-256-9385 or visit their