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Management Discussions



I am presenting a 'Core Management Skills' course for managers who have been in the job for approx 6 months and would like an exercise to get them chatting about what they would like to gain from the course. I'd like the exercise to be interactive, engaging and positive...any ideas would be most welcome.


Jeannette Jackson

10 Responses

  1. Suggestion ..

    Hi Jeannette, you may get other suggestions but my immediate thought is: at the start of the course get delegates into pairs and ask each individual to prepare a short piece (3/4 lines) to use to introduce their training partner to the other delegates.  Allow around 5-10 minutes for the fact gathering.  The piece could run along the lines of:

    May I introduce Fred Bloggs who works in the Finance department.  His role covers xyz responsibilities and prior to this role he worked at the ABC company/came from university/spent a year travelling around the world.  In terms of this course he would like to focus on motivating subordinates/finding tips on giving more positive feedback/learn how others handle employees with poor absence. 

    Naturally if you can pair up individuals who don’t know each other that would be more beneficial.  You’ll find delegates are happy to share info on a more private basis before revealing their thoughts to the rest of the class. 

    Hope this helps.

  2. An Idea

    Hi Jeannette

    Not really the world I work in but I think this would work…

    Ask them to prepare and deliver a 5 minute presentation on "what they really hate about being a manager"…(don’t tell them until the day of the course or there will be no impact or shock factor)

    I would imagine it would be quite funny, informative and bring them all together as they will all have similar experiences…you could also use  the problems they highlight as the basis for your course.

    Good luck



  3. cart and horse and “what are you going to do with this”

    Hi Jeanette

    Firstly let me apologise if I come over at all preachy…that isn’t my intention.

    1. If you have the time get to speak to each of the delegates long before the event to assess what they want; this will then allow you to pre-build a course that fulfills their needs rather than try to wing it.

    2. If you ask what they want at the begining and then fail to give it to them you will have created a false expectation; so if you do you must be prepared to either explain why they won’t get what they want or you must be prepared to spend time on their needs at the possible expense of your plan.

    3. How many delegates will you have; 25 delegates each talking for five minutes…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

    4. Following Clare’s/Steve’s suggestions; write on a flip page the wants/hates of each delegate as they are presented; use this to refer to during the course to link your material to their realities

    5. Dontcha just love the idea that they have been in the job for 6 months BEFORE they get some training!

    Sorry if this isn’t helpful!

    Rus Slater


  4. 25 Delegates?


    "25 delegates each talking for five minutes…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!"

    I assumed there would be about 6 delegates and Russ assumed that there would be 25…(Russ also wrongly assumed that I would ask 25 people to talk for 5 mins…whats that saying about assumptions?? 🙂

    So…how many delegates are there?


  5. ass u me?


    I didn’t assume anything; I asked "how many" and then pointed out that because IF you have 25….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz you will have a 2 hour intro.  I have in the past been asked to write a programme for a training course that was expected to have 6 delegates and ended up with 18 turning up on the day. 

    I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t assume that you or any other sensible trainer would try to run that type of exercise with 25……I’m sorry if you read my comment as having that inference at all



  6. Asses

    Perfect explanation, thank you Russ

    Going back to the original question and my "assumption"…

    If there are more than 6 delegates on this course there shouldn’t be…




  7. Answers

    Hi Clare, Steve & Rus

    Thank you so much for your suggestions they are gratefully received. I am new to this site today and it’s great to see so much enthusiasm and energy within the answers (hopefully I will be able to respond to one of your queries within my sphere of expertise one day).

    There will be 14 delegates in total (and yes Rus, it always amazes me that the org. waits until people have been in position for over 6 months before offering training!)

    I think I will combine all of your advice and design an exercise where I ask them to discuss their wants/needs within 2 groups of seven and then get a spokesman from each group to bring forth the conclusions, that way reducing time spent listening to each individual.

    I do like the idea of asking them for their worstl moment during managing so far as I think that will generate a camardarie aspect to the training so they realise ‘they are not alone’ so to speak. Then we can work towards reframing and enhancing spefici skills.

    Thanks again






  8. Diamond 9

    Hi Jeanette

    Yes… really must get some of my own work done instead of being on here all day…

    The output from "what you hate" could be listed by post its on a flipchart…maybe try and collect 9 categories…

    You could then have 2 teams doing a Diamond 9 heirarchy exercise and find out what are really problems and what are not so important. (I have a template for this if you would like it)


    There are lots of websites explaining Diamond 9 if you haven’t seen it before…


    In my opinion, probably the best tool there is to facilitate a discussion.

    Good luck




  9. Diamond 9

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for the info on Diamond 9

    I’ve been on the website and downloaded the template (is this the model you have?) plus I’ve also joined the site as it looks very interesting.

    If you have a different model from the one on the site then yes, I’d be interested in looking at it.




  10. Diamond 9

    Hi Jeannette

    The model I have is very different. The idea is to arrange 9 "categories" in a diamond 9 formation, most problematic at the top and least at the bottom. The diamond formation means that rather than just place in a heriarchical (is that a word?) linear order, consideratuion has to be given to equality. best to do with 2 teams and then the discussion takes place around why team 1 thought problem x was the biggest consideration and team b thought problem y deserved the top spot…


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