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Communication Skills
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A Variation of Chinese Whisper Listening Exercise

A Variation of Chinese Whisper Listening Exercise
Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Listening Skills

Article Rating:::: 6 Ratings :::: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

This is an interesting variation of the infamous Chinese Whisper exercise. In this variation, some volunteers leave the room and then be brought back in, rather than just whispering a sentence in the ear of the person next to them. This allows an audience to observe and hear all the intermediate statements so they can see how information exchange deteriorates in each step. You can then use this as an opportunity to teach about listening skills or communication in general.

This listening exercise is ideal for communication skills and teamwork where you can focus on feedback as a critical mechanism to make sure communication is carried out accurately.

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Fortunately - Unfortunately

Fortunately - Unfortunately
Exercises, Communication Skills, Motivation, Decision Making, Storytelling, Creative Writing

Article Rating:::: 2 Ratings :::: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

This classic game was popularised in 80s. It is fun to play and helps to generate a lot of positives and negatives for a given topic. Delegates go through a series of statements that start with ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ while alternating between them.

Use this exercise for creativity, building narrative and storytelling. It is a great exercise to highlight that there is always a flipside to a negative or positive.

This exercise is also useful for analysing the development of a project over time, especially one that is troubled. The beauty of this exercise is that positive and negative statements are always balanced against each other; you can never say too many good things or bad things about a topic and hence it encourages participants to focus on improving it or creating a balanced narrative.

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Active Listening Skills Roleplay

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

Article Rating:::: 7 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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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:::: 3 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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Team Self-Reflection Exercise

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

Article Rating:::: 5 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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Team Building Exercise: Clock Types

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

Article Rating:::: 3 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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What Virtual Reality Can Do for Soft Skills Training

What Virtual Reality Can Do for Soft Skills Training
Games, Training Articles, Train the Trainer, Communication Skills, Body Language, Art

Article Rating:::: 13 Ratings :::: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The new age of virtual reality (VR) is upon us. We are still at early stages of VR development, but the field has shown a strong promise. Of all the new technologies that we are about to fully experience in everyday life, such as self-driving cars, drones or 3D printing, VR and AR (Augmented Reality) prove to be the strangest and the most magical technologies ever developed. Just imagine that in a few decades, when the technology has matured enough, as soon as you put on a VR headset, you will be transferred to an alternative universe the like of which you might have never seen before. It is the kind of environment that might feel more interesting than real life to the point that you may not want to leave it!

It could also be the opposite; you may go through a hellish environment and see how the world may look like if we don’t pay attention to important environmental issues or let greedy politicians bully us to annihilation. Either way, you will come out of the experience better informed and with a strong vivid memory.

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Caterpillar Traverse

Caterpillar Traverse
Leadership, Games, Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Problem Solving

Article Rating:::: 37 Ratings :::: Monday, February 19, 2018

This is an entertaining team building activity where delegates get to practice working together towards a common objective while following certain rules. It is ideal for exploring leadership, planning, strategic thinking, communicating and creative thinking.

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Emotional Intelligence Exercise: Making Eye Contact

Emotional Intelligence Exercise: Making Eye Contact
Exercises, Icebreakers, Communication Skills, Exercises for Kids, Body Language, Acting, Emotional Intelligence

Article Rating:::: 141 Ratings :::: Monday, July 3, 2017

This exercise helps delegates to understand and appreciate the power of eye contact and how it can affect emotional connection and emotional states. It is ideal in teaching emotional intelligence, body language and communication skills.

You can get the most from this exercise with the follow up discussions so make sure you allocate enough time for this.

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Listening Exercise: So, What You Mean Is…

Listening Exercise: So, What You Mean Is…
Conflict Management, Exercises, Communication Skills, Acting, Personal Impact, Listening Skills

Article Rating:::: 114 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This exercise helps delegates to understand the importance of acknowledging the view of a person they are having a conversation with irrespective of whether they agree with it or not. The exercise helps to create a vivid example which can then be discussed and explored further.

The main aims are:

  • Develop rapport through having a friendly conversation as opposed to being antagonistic with opposing views
  • Improve listening skills
  • Learn to listen and show that you are listening
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