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Icebreaker: Unusual Experiences

Icebreaker: Unusual Experiences
Games, Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building

Article Rating:::: 1 Ratings :::: Tuesday, May 21, 2019

This light-hearted exercise is guaranteed to break the ice quickly and bring people together. In this exercise you set people a mission to find out about other delegates and to share what they have found with the group. It is designed to be entertaining and educational. As such it is ideal for a new team or at the beginning of a new course, workshop or seminar when you want to get people to become familiar with each other quickly.

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Convergent vs Divergent Thinking Exercise

Convergent vs Divergent Thinking Exercise
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Creativity, Decision Making, Design

Article Rating:::: 1 Ratings :::: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A useful distinction in thinking process was suggested by Joy Paul Guilford in 1967. Guilford coined convergent thinking in contrast with divergent thinking. With convergent thinking, you are trying to find a single best solution to a given problem. Examples are multiple choice tests, math quizzes, spelling tests and many other standardised tests in education systems. Convergent thinking is systematic and logical (Williams 2003).

In contrast, you can use divergent thinking to create several unique solutions for a given problem. Divergent thinking is creative, spontaneous, non-linear and free-flowing. Several solutions are generated over a short period of time and they can lead to unexpected connections, encouraging discovery of yet more unusual solutions.

After carrying out divergent thinking, you end up with a bunch of solutions. You can then use convergent thinking to organise these solutions, analyse pros and cons of each and find the most optimal answer.

The point of the distinction is that you need both processes for good thinking. Being good at convergent, analytical and logical thinking is not enough as you could miss on some creative solutions. In contrast, just coming up with spontaneous creative ideas is not good enough; you need to examine solutions systematically before embarking on an implementation.

Researchers such as Guilford have found that personality traits tend to promote divergent or convergent thinking. As such, in a given team you will have people who are natural at either divergent or convergent thinking and therefore resistant to the other style of thinking

The following exercise helps to bring this distinction to focus and help delegates see the power of thinking differently to what comes naturally to them.

This exercise is ideal for team building or training delegates on management and creativity.

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Eliminate Wrong Beliefs: Turn Should to Could

Eliminate Wrong Beliefs: Turn Should to Could
Exercises, Coaching, Motivation, Emotional Intelligence, Appraisal

Article Rating:::: 6 Ratings :::: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

This exercise is designed to make the coachee think about potential liming views and beliefs. Through a systematic step by step process, you first help the coachee see what these beliefs are and then gradually lead them to see how they can be limiting. Often, such limiting beliefs are the root cause of many unwanted behaviours. They manifest themselves in thoughts and in actions. This exercise helps to go back to the root cause of issues and aim to address them.

It is best to run this exercise on an individual basis such as in a coaching or mentoring session. Before embarking on this exercise, create a safe and trusting environment where the coachee feels comfortable sharing their weaknesses with you.

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Team Building Exercise: Clock Types

Team Building Exercise: Clock Types
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills

Article Rating:::: 1 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The purpose of this exercise is to show that each person in a team has certain characteristics that can contribute to the team. It is not necessarily about casting each person into an ideal team member role; instead, it is about taking advantage of each person’s unique strengths.

The exercise uses a visual technique—a clock that represents four types of personalities; hence, Clock Types exercise.

This exercise is ideal for team building, management, enhancing communication skills and coaching.

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Dissolving Resentment Exercise

Dissolving Resentment Exercise
Exercises, Coaching, Anger Management, Emotional Intelligence, Self-esteem

Article Rating:::: 0 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Resentment can consume people. Constantly thinking negatively about others can make an individual sad, angry and ultimately depressed. This strong emotion should be addressed before it becomes chronic or habitual.

The technique presented here borrows from NLP with a strong emphasis on visualisation. It is also useful to address self-resentment and self-loathing.

The power of this technique is in repetition. You can conduct this in a class, though it is best if it is carried out on an individual basis. The instructions should be provided once, and individuals should then go through the exercise without interruption or disturbance. They can then repeat this over a period of time to get its full effect.

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Chocolate Packaging Design Competition Exercise

Chocolate Packaging Design Competition Exercise
Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Marketing, Art, Design

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Imagine walking into a supermarket and going to the isle dedicated to sweets and chocolates. Here, you are likely to find a section with a variety of block chocolate bars. These are often presented as a package in the form of a rectangle which are usually the same standard size. Most often people go after brands they already recognise. Or perhaps they go for certain flavours or zoom in on 85% dark chocolates and above. This narrows down the search and they quickly decide which chocolate to pick.

However, suppose you go to an upmarket supermarket or specialist chocolate shop where you are presented with many chocolate bars that you don’t recognise. A good example is going to Whole Foods supermarket (which is now owned by Amazon). If you have a local branch, pop in one day and see the chocolate section for yourself. You will see a large selection of chocolate bars that you have never seen before, all claiming to be high-quality, tasty, organic and made from beans in some tropical country. The only differentiator is the price and the design of the chocolate wrap.

This is the dilemma every chocolate manufacturer has: how to design the chocolate packaging to sell. If you were a chocolate manufacturer, you want to get this design and pricing right. In the absence of brand recognition, they are the only things you have that makes the difference between a purchase and a pass.

The aim of this exercise is to help delegates practice various aspects of design that goes into making chocolate bar packaging. We will ignore the pricing part and instead focus on design. If all prices were the same, which chocolate bar will a customer choose?

This exercise is ideal for teambuilding scenarios where delegates are involved in design or marketing. You can then cover a large set of topics under a single exercise, such as product design, teamwork, leadership, resource management, marketing and artistic design. It is also great for kids and young delegates.

You can use this exercise in art courses and focus mainly on design aspects and product packaging. In short, there are many applications and you can use the instructions provided here as a template and tailor it to your own needs.

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Positive Affirmations: Turn Negative into Positive

Positive Affirmations: Turn Negative into Positive
Exercises, Motivation, Personal Impact, Emotional Intelligence, Appraisal

Article Rating:::: 7 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 9, 2019

We are what we repeatedly do. We are also what we repeatedly think. If you think about something 200 times a day, you come to believe it to be true. If you think you are poor, unhealthy, socially unskilled or out of shape and repeatedly tell yourself this, then you come to strongly believe in them, irrespective of whether they are true or not.

The power of positivity is well known, so much so that it has become a large field as Positive Psychology. Nevertheless, most people don’t think enough of what they are good at or have and instead are focused much more on lack of stuff, problems, negativity, shortfalls and inadequacies.

This negativity seems to have been exaggerated by the culture of comparison which has been fuelled by social media. Awareness of an idealistic and exaggerated lifestyle of others consumed through social media can make us feel average at best or a lost cause.

We need to fight back. For this, we can use a powerful technique known as positive affirmations. The aim is to turn something negative into positive and consciously reinforce it in your mind until it becomes a thought habit. Gradually you get to eliminate the negative language altogether.

This exercise is ideal for courses covering emotional intelligence and motivation.

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Fishbowl Conversation Technique

Fishbowl Conversation Technique
Exercises, Team Building, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Large Group

Article Rating:::: 10 Ratings :::: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The fishbowl technique can be used to organise constructive discussions on a given topic. In a nutshell, the technique helps people manage a debate on the topic and keep it under control even if many people are participating. In this technique, at any given time, a group of people will be actively debating while the rest of the group listens in and takes notes of various viewpoints. Through an iterative process, many participants will get to listen and talk about a topic.

The fishbowl technique is ideal for many situations where a discussion around various points of view is needed. The technique is popular in political science, philosophy, advertising, science and decision making. It is also a great tool for training courses and involving students in various discussions around a specific topic.

The great advantage of the fishbowl technique is that it lessens the distinction between the speakers and the audience, while allowing many people to voice their views. It is ideal for large groups.

The fishbowl technique is particularly useful for today’s divisive societies where opposing views are constantly on a collision course. The technique helps to expose an audience to what the other camp thinks in a controlled manner and helps create a dialogue.

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How to Learn from Envy: The 6-Step Formula

How to Learn from Envy: The 6-Step Formula
Exercises, Motivation, Personal Impact, Self-esteem

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Monday, February 25, 2019

The following exercise will help you manage envy. It borrows from the philosophy and science of positive psychology and will put you on the right path on dealing with envy. Strong emotional thoughts such as envy cannot be cured with a quick 10-minute exercise, but you do need to start somewhere, and this exercise provides the right structure to start with. You can make it into a habit and slowly chip away at envy.

Envy can come to blur the vision. If unchecked, it grows in your mind. You start feeling that you don’t actually mind if something bad happens to the person you envy, that somehow your life is second-rate and possibly not really exciting to go through. What follows is depression, lethargy and a sense of being a failure—all unhealthy stuff.

To address envy, you must first understand what it is about. By gaining perspective, you can take steps to turn it around and benefit from this emotion. The powerful 6-step formula provided here helps to achieve that.

Even admitting that you are envious of someone isn’t easy. This exercise is not something that should be carried out in a group. If you are a trainer and running a course, provide this exercise as a handout and ask delegates to go through it after the course in their own time. It would not take too much time; they should go through the exercise in a way that won’t make them feel judged for their answers.

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Teach Why Groups Can Take Too Much Risk While Making Decisions

Teach Why Groups Can Take Too Much Risk While Making Decisions
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Decision Making, Large Group

Article Rating:::: 3 Ratings :::: Monday, February 18, 2019

Is there a difference between people making decisions in groups and individually in respect to the amount of risk they take? To investigate, James Stoner, who was a MIT graduate in 1960s, carried out a series of experiments (Stones 1961). The research soon led to fascinating insights into the dynamics of group decision making.

Usually, we think that employing more brains is always better than one and that making decisions as a group is better than making them individual. The research conducted by Stoner clearly showed that decisions made in groups tended to be far riskier than those made by individuals.

The studies were intriguing and soon other researchers joined and conducted their own investigations (Whyte 1993). With Stoner research, certain factors influenced the groups to make riskier decisions than individuals. In other studies, the groups behaved more conservatively than individuals.

What the research showed was that a group seems to exaggerate the opinions of its members leading them to make extreme decisions—either being too risky or too conservative.

The exercise presented here is based on such studies and it aims to illustrate this point to delegates in an elegant and memorable way. The aim is to make them aware that decisions made in groups could be exaggerated in one direction or another.

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