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Active Listening Skills Roleplay

Active Listening Skills Roleplay
Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Attention and Focus, Listening Skills

Article Rating:::: 0 Ratings :::: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

This is a highly educational and entertaining exercise on asking open questions. Open questions lead to more information while closed questions lead to a yes/no answer. Open questions are usually much more effective in maximising communication. Unfortunately, most people tend to ask closed questions and it is always a good idea to highlight the differences and encourage people to ask open questions more often.

In addition to practicing asking open questions, this exercise also helps with active listening. Delegates must focus and pay attention to each answer given by a volunteer as they must relate to this immediately through the next question they ask. Hence, this exercise is a great tool to boost communication skills. You can use this exercise for a group of people irrespective of whether they know each other or not. It would still be an effective exercise.

Considering the nature of this exercise, it can also be used as a team building tool, since volunteers need to constantly give information about themselves which can help bring people closer together.

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Medieval vs. Modern Roleplay

Medieval vs. Modern Roleplay
Exercises, Personal Impact, Attention and Focus, Listening Skills, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, July 2, 2019

In this exercise delegates put themselves in the medieval era and try to look at the world from a new point of view. Their view is then compared to modern times. In the medieval era, people didn’t know what laser or a computer or a humble can opener was. When a modern person mentions them, a medieval person should get confused. As you can imagine, this is a very fun exercise.

Through this contrast of era many topics can be explored and scrutinised. This exercise helps us, the modern people, to appreciate what the medieval people didn’t have. Here are some examples for comparison:

  • Technologies
  • Discoveries
  • Philosophical understanding
  • Social issues
  • Attitudes towards religion such as believing without questioning
  • Attitudes towards justice
  • Racial, gender and equality issues
  • Political correctness
  • Meritocracy versus class-based society
  • Attitude towards the ruling class

This can be a fun way to explore some very serious topics, though the main benefit of this exercise is to practice listening skills. The exercise is designed to make people focus on what the other person is saying. It is also great for roleplaying, acting, storytelling and learning history.

 

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Team Building Exercise: Leaky Pipes

Team Building Exercise: Leaky Pipes
Leadership, Games, Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Problem Solving, Planning

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

This is a classic exercise on team building. It is fun to participate in this exercise and yet it is quite powerful in bringing a team together while teaching communication, leadership and problem solving.

Delegates are asked to pour water into a pipe to raise a ping pong ball inside and therefore to get it out. The pipe is leaky though and there is a challenge on how fast they can get the water into the pipe without losing it through the holes. This requires cooperation, planning, delegation and resource management.

This exercise is ideal for team building and can be used for any age. Several variations are provided at the end to increase the difficulty of the task as you see fit.

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Board Games for Team Building and Icebreakers

Board Games for Team Building and Icebreakers
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Decision Making, Planning, Resource Management

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The purpose of icebreakers is to bring people together, familiarise them with each other, put them into the zone and basically break the ice as the name suggests. The purpose of team building activities is to bring the teams together, get them to go through a shared experience, solve problems, make decisions, manage limited resources and usually work against time. To address both, you can take advantage of great educational and entertaining tools in the form of board games.

You can use board games for many training purposes. Some games last long which help to bring a team together and some can be quite short which could be ideal to break the ice. There are cooperative games, competitive games, or even games that don’t have a winner, but just one big loser! Some games abstract down the real world in such imaginative ways that become incredibly rewarding to experience. As such board games are great if you want to create a memorable event which is also educational as this is what many traditional team building games aim to achieve.

In this comprehensive article, you will be introduced to several hand-picked board games that you can use in a training environment to address a variety of topics.

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Learn Scrum with an Exercise on Agile Project Management

Learn Scrum with an Exercise on Agile Project Management
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Decision Making, Planning

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Agile project management was popularised by the tech industry and has its roots in Japanese companies such as Toyota, Honda and Fuji. There are many who think agile development can lead to efficient project management and as a result it remains a hot topic. The Scrum framework was then developed based on that in the 90s and has since gained momentum in a variety of technology and engineering companies.

The exercise shown here is a great tool to quickly and elegantly show what Scrum project management is about. Scrum has many amusing and somewhat unusual jargon, such as sprint, backlog, daily scrum, scrum master and so on. This engaging exercise can help you familiarise delegates with these jargons and make it easier to remember them.

Before going through the details of the exercise, here is a quick intro to Scrum. It is highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with the methodology using numerous guides that are available online. The overall aim of scrum is to indicate clearly what needs to be done, by whom it should be done and how this information should be updated periodically to make sure the whole team stays up-to-date, or ‘agile’ so to speak. These are the main components of scrum:

  • Product Owner. This is a person in charge who has the authority to say what goes into the final product. This is formulated based on the end user’s interest.
  • Backlog. This is a prioritised list of tasks and requirements for the final product. The product owner oversees this list.
  • Sprint. A team must complete tasks from the backlog with a certain timeframe which is known as sprint. Typically, this is about two weeks, but it depends on the team’s needs.
  • Daily Scrum. This is a daily meeting of teams to give progress updates. It is typically held in the same location, at the same time, time-boxed to 15 minutes and carried out while standing (it is also called Daily Stand-Ups).
  • Retrospective. Each sprint is finalised with a review session to see what needs to be improved for the next sprint.

In this exercise, teams compete to retrieve a highly dangerous nuclear waste. There are three distinct roles based on the scrum framework. Teams score points for their performance and the winning team is acknowledged.

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Contrasting Ethical Dilemmas Exercise

Contrasting Ethical Dilemmas Exercise
Leadership, Exercises, Decision Making

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

This exercise facilitates discussion of ethical dilemmas. In most job, some decisions are not straight forward to make because one clear choice comes with certain ethical issues. The question then becomes more of what is right or wrong to do, what is conscientious, and sometimes even what is legal.

In today’s fast changing world, there is a lot of pressure on being politically correct. The ease at which bad news can be magnified through social media and interpreted the wrong way also exasperates the problem. It pays to study and practice the art of ethical decision making.

This exercise presents a series of ethical dilemmas through which you can address a variety of subjects. The discussions are key in this exercise which should be controlled based on what you want to teach. For example, if you are using this exercise in a course on management skills, you should relate this to the kind of decisions a manager needs to make and the resources available to him or her.

Review the scenarios provided and consider adding your own scenarios based on your training requirements to tailor the exercise to your training needs.

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Team Self-Reflection Exercise

Team Self-Reflection Exercise
Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Motivation, Appraisal

Article Rating:::: 3 Ratings :::: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Certain behaviours in a team can affect the trust between the team members and if not addressed properly will have dire consequences. It is essential for a team to self-reflect and to evaluate its own performance systematically and without friction. Examples of trust reducing behaviours are:

  • Withholding or hiding information for competitive advantage
  • Rushing ahead and jumping to conclusions without listening to others
  • Not taking responsibility for actions
  • Finger pointing and blaming
  • Being more self-centred than team-centred
  • Bringing down an idea proposed by another team member just because it’s not yours
  • Stealing a clever idea presented by a team member and pretending that you came up with it on your own, sometimes even in front of the other team member
  • Not accepting that you didn’t know something and pretending that you know it all
  • Sabotaging somebody else’s performance so that they don’t look good, by not being present, withholding support and by being negative
  • Constantly moaning about things not being good or right, but not doing anything about it

The following exercise helps the team to see what it thinks of itself in a safe environment. The beauty of this exercise is that team members can voice their concerns anonymously.

This exercise is ideal for a group of people who know and have worked with each other.

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Icebreaker: Unusual Experiences

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

Article Rating:::: 11 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:::: 2 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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