The ability to persuade people is a useful skill both in personal and professional life. This exercise is ideal once you have covered persuasion skills in your training course and want to go through a more demanding exercise that requires people to persuade each other strongly. It is an entertaining exercise as it involves everyone in a simple yet powerful setting.
To truly get the best from this exercise, you can follow it with a review and discussion. You will need to take notes during the exercise as each can play differently. You will need to refer back to the strategies used by participants while persuading each other during discussions. You can then comment on the effectiveness of these techniques and get delegates to discuss them.
Persuade the other person to move out of a circular area completely without touching or using any physical force.
What You Need
- A rope about 8m long. Lay this as a circle on the floor to create a perimeter.
- Ask for two volunteers. Pick two that are very competitive or think they are very persuasive. These two will go through the persuasion exercise while others watch.
- Setup the environment much like a wrestling match where one needs to push the other out of a circular area.
- Ask the two volunteers to stand in the middle of the circle. The audience should remain outside of the circle.
- Explain that each person’s goal is to get the other person to go out of the circle.
- The rules are:
- They cannot touch each other or use physical force.
- They can use any influence technique they like including arguments, lecturing, deception, diplomacy, bribing, etc.
- Ask the audience to cheer and encourage the people in the ring.
- Explain that there will be a prize for the winner but don’t say what it is.
- Start the match.
- Allocate 15 minutes for this part.
- Take notes about the conversation and the strategies used to convince one another. You will need to refer back to these during discussions.
- The game is over if a contestant is convinced to step out of the circle or the time is up.
- Give the prize to the winner.
- Follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes
Activity: 15 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
Who truly won this match; the person who remained in the circle or the person who stepped out in exchange for something he negotiated? What influencing strategies where employed during this match? Whose methods were more effective? Who was more convincing? Did any of the contestants offer something in return for getting the other person to step out? What was offered and was it accepted or not? How did the contestants negotiate over this? What was the role of the audience? Did the audience offer help and advice or influence the decisions in any way? What is the most important lesson you have learned in this exercise in regard with persuasion skills? What would you do differently if there was no prize for the winner?