Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Holding Your 3 Hole Puncher for Ransom.

Quick! Take a replaceable office item from your colleague's table and hold it for ransom.

Oh, be sure to leave a ransom note. I'm assuming you don't have the time to cut out letters from a magazine, so here is a free ransom note font to download to your computer.

This kidnapping activity can also work great in the office. You can leave a note saying, "Take a lunch today. Or else you don't get your 3 hole puncher back."

Quick activities like these can certainly energize the workplace. I remember working at First American a few years back and my boss would gather colleagues to do something to my office after returning from a meeting. I'd return with everything turned upside down or balloons completely filling the walkway so I couldn't enter the door. I'm sure there are some great ideas like this, helping energize those Mondays...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Event and Life Planning

"Life is what happens while you're busy planning."

Haven't you noticed? This quote lives in my life with amazing magnitude. We think we're planning, but Life is busy planning it and us instead. Once I got this, anything could happen at any event in my life and it would be okay.

At the start of a session that may included "controlling" personalities, offer this quote to the group. Spend a couple minutes talking about why this is true. This activity may help lessen the need for control in the room.

Prioritize Your Passions

Description: A simple, powerful way to clarify and prioritize your passions.
Average Time: For two people, this typically takes 15 minutes, but can go much longer based on individual introspection and conversations that ensue.
Materials: Paper and pen

  1. List 10 things that you would like to do, have, or BE. Don't worry about being materialistic, if you have enough money, skills, or time, etc. Get really clear on what it is that you want and just write it like it comes to you!
  2. Find a partner to ask you questions. Have them ask you "Would you rather have #1 or #2?" If you choose #1, then they ask, "Would you rather have #1 or #3?" If you choose #3, then they continue on with your prioritized answer and the next one..."Would you rather have #3 or #4? Continue until you get to #10. So let's say it was #5 as your Number One Passion. Set that aside and then do it again, except this time, don't include #5 in the second round. Do this 10 times so you have your Number One Passion, Two, Three...all the way to your #10 Passion.
  3. Make sure you answer QUICKLY. Don't spend time contemplating the answer or your logic will kick in. Answer from your GUT. It's a quick draw. If you had to sacrifice one for the other - which one would it be?
  4. Circle your top 5.
  5. Your Number One Passion is your #1 Prioritized Passion. This means, if you don't fulfill this, then you simply may not feel fulfilled! Your top 5 are your priorities out in the air now. Find room in your life to make these a priority. The other ones can go to the wayside right now.
  6. Now, rate your Top 5 Passions. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the least fulfilled (you don't even THINK about this, much less take action on it) and 10 being the most fulfilled (you are on TOP of this in your life right now and have certainly prioritized it. Results are showing up!) This rating activity often brings up some interesting insights.
  7. Then, offer to do this activity with your partner by switching roles and ask them to choose.
  8. Share what you learned about yourself here! I'd love to hear your comments :)
  9. Prioritized passions can certainly change in a matter of a couple weeks! It's fun to conduct this activity every 3 months or so. Keeping a journal of this is great also, so you can see how life unfolds itself.
Take the "Passion Test"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Three Ingredients for Ice Breakers

  1. Keep it simple
    To disarm inhibitions, you must keep it simple.
  2. Create "flow"
    Keep a proper balance between skills and a particular challenge. This creation of positive engagement comes from Psychologist, Mihaly Csíkszentmihály.
  3. Meet the event objective
    Figure out what the "ice" is, or the purpose of the event, and form your icebreaker around this.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

nonverbal cues tell a moment's tale

earlier, I was reflecting on "feedback mechanisms" (see july 31) in icebreakers.

what is the wonderful thing about each of these icebreakers/games/activities? they ALL can act a barometer for group trust. just look: are people fidgeting, looking away, square-shouldered to the speaker, rubbing their neck, smiling, sitting back with hands behind their heads, gazing, yawning, excusing themselves to the bathroom, laughing, sighing? it all tells a moment's tale.

Over the last few months, I've done so much research on linguistics & non-verbal language that I bet I could start on a brand new book of TIPS. I mention a few in My Way to OUR WAY, but the list is getting bigger.


background by association

Description: an icebreaker that gets people to talk about their background or business.
Secondary Objectives: to have fun with metaphors, think outside of the box and laugh!
Primary Objectives:

* warm-up & energize
* entertain
* get acquainted
* build community & stimulate conversation
* facilitate creative thinking
* generate brand & business
Materials: as many objects as people, a bag where objects are not visible but reachable
Process: have each participant blindly guess an object from a bag and then associate the object to their background or business.
for example, someone may guess the object is a "rubber ducky" and may or may not get it right. they may relate the rubber ducky to their music position as "well, I can make great music out of any noise!" before beginning, it's a good idea to let everyone know ifthey get stuck, they can elicit help from the group. the group helping this person out actually is VERY effective in creating relationships.
Variations: this can easily be taken to a different area other than business, such as interests or for debriefing purposes.


Friday, August 17, 2007


Description: a quick check-in that opens up a realistic room perspective.
Secondary Objectives: to learn about people's current moods.
Primary Objectives:

*solicit attitudes, values, assumptions and motivation
*promote team spirit

Materials: n/a
Process: ask everyone to describe their current mood with one or two words. start with yourself and release your inhibitions! anything goes. continue on in a circular fashion. if you find that most moods are negative, continue on with an energizer activity (see variation for example energizer). if most are neutral or positive, continue on with your event.

Variations: if moods are negative, starting with yourself, reverse the words you stated and say them backwards. for example, if someone says "anxious," they would say "suoixna". laughter will prevail as people try and reveal their words!