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Desparately seeking a Communication Skills – Energising Activity

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This is for a workshop with Middle Managers who have, seen it, done it and know all about...!!!! Thus it's got to be fresh & challenging. Any suggestions PLEASE>>>>>>>
Neil M Devaney

5 Responses

  1. Guess my secret
    Neil

    I use this one very regularly and it works a treat.
    Split group in two teams. The objective of the exercise is to guess your secret when they think they have sufficient information through skillful questioning. The one question they cannot ask is “What is your secret?”.
    Generally you find that they start off with a couple of open questions and once they have a little info they start guessing in the form of closed q’s. They may ask a good open q but fail to follow itup with secondary and tertiary probes. Because insufficient quality q’s have been asked they start making assumptions with the little info they have.
    What I have found really effective is if you are quick enough using flip chart, write the q they ask on one side and their answer on the other and this is your evidence for analysing the exercise later. I have not had it fail on me yet.
    My secret is that I am a rocky horror fan. It provides humour as you slowly disclose the info.

    If you want me to talk the exercise through give me a call on 07967-044479
    Good Luck
    Mark

  2. An easy exercise to use
    The trainer explains to the group that he is looking at a picture and their objective is to ask questions to discover what it looks like and then to reproduce it. Explain open Q’s will be answered fully, leading questions will provide the answer hinted at in the Q and closed Q wil get a Yes or No. Go round the group & allow each person in turn to ask a question. During debrief highlight the types of Q asked and the response generated from it. Explore what could have made then more effective. Did the group start drawing straight away or make notes, etc.
    Good luck.

  3. Lemons & Toys
    Tell group that you have a customer service exercise that you would like them to participate in. Ask them how confident they feel they are in talking to customers. Tell them that you have some new friends that you would like them to meet and get to know. Tell them that your friends are nervous and would they look after one and keep them company. Leave room and bring in bucket of lemons, hand a lemon to each delegate and encourage them to get to know their customer. Ask them how they are doing it (touch, smell, markings). Encourage them to have fun, if someone attempts to mark their lemon, or is throwing it aound, ask them if thats how they would treat a customer. After 2/3 mins, ask group if they are confident of identifying their lemon. Take lemons back and then go round group asking to pick their lemon. Encourage them to get to know their lemon further. Ask what they think the point of the exercise is (every lemon is an individual). take the lemons back again and give each person a blindfold. ASk them to again identify their lemons. Once identified, again ask what the point is (Everyone is still an individual, but when you can’t see them you have to concentrate harder). Explain that you have some more friends. put delegates into groups of 3 and stay blindfolded. Hand each group a squeaky toy (try to avoid squeaking it). Give them 2 mins to get to know the toy and then take it back. Ask if they can identify it. Don’t give them the toys back to feel, simply squeeze the toy to see if they can identify it that way. ASk the point again (Every customer is still an individual, but the danger is that we begin treating them like lemons! The group tend to focus on feeling the toy, similar to how they had learnt to treat the lemon rather than listen.

    Belive me, this works!!! You’d be suprised how different lemons can be!

  4. Robbery Report
    This is a different slant on another communication exercise that I use alot dealing with communication. An action – Robbery takes place in the front of the room in the beginning of class when they are not really expecting it. The robbery takes place and all the actors (students) leave the room after the robbery takes place.
    Everyone sees something different of course. You have 3 volunteers ask the class questions one right after the other. One person asks three questions, he sits down, the other two are outside of the room (can be the same volunteers as actors) come in one by one. You will see the difference (so called cops) what questions are asked, how they ask the questions, and body language of the cops. You process who got the most information, why, what did they ask and how did their biases influence the line of questioning. You can also process how the class answered the questions, everyone saw the same scene and different answers, you can change the cops to witnesses, i.e. they saw the robbery and they are asked questions by the class and see the different versions for the same questions. This is a just an exercise on communication – but there is other versions.

  5. Energising communication skills activity
    Take a look at the Zin Obelisk.

    It’s all on

    http://home.earthlink.net/~grovek/zin_folder.html

    This is a great exercise for communication in a team. It’s quite intellectually demanding and entirely cognitive. So there’s no white water rafting or bridge building. But then, when was the last time any middle manager had to abseil down a rope to get a job done?

    Alan Barker
    [email protected]

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