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‘The Feedback Game’ and ‘Manual’ by Peter Gerrickens


‘The Feedback Game’
by Peter Gerrickens
Gower, 1999
Boxed game + manual. £175 plus VAT.
ISBN 0 566 08261 5.

‘The Feedback Games Manual’
by Peter Gerrickens
Gower, 1999
Looseleaf manual, 172 pages, £125
ISBN 0 566 08211 X.

Trainers nowadays are somewhat spoiled for choice in how they will help their event participants to learn – traditional approaches, supported or replaced by a wide range of audio and audio-visual training aids, computers, videos, CD-ROMS in their varieties, etc. The item being reviewed is one of the more novel ones that is related to a more informal paper and pencil activity, but in its presentation may encourage learners to learn more enthusiastically and easily.

The game addresses one of the difficult areas of learning, that of feedback in a safe environment, and enables users to practise giving and receiving feedback; experiencing the emotional power and outcomes of good feedback; and identifying the opportunities and applications for feedback in any situation. It consists of 140 cards, like playing cards, on good quality card, on 70 of which are written words that portray human strengths – calm, trustworthy, good listener, wise, good communicator, etc – and 70 portraying human weaknesses – chaotic, unreasonable, cynical, lazy, malicious, etc. Three versions of the game are detailed – game 1 for 2-4 players; game 2 for 2-6 players; and game 3 for 2-6 players, the choice of version depending on how well the players know and trust each other.

The basic game approach is for each player to write down on a sheet of paper, eight strengths and six weaknesses about themselves, then all leave the room leaving the cards spread out face up on a table. One by one the learners re-enter and pick out the cards they have selected, laying these face down in a single pile and leaving the room again. After one or two further steps, the learners have tried to identify the person who has selected the characteristics. The current Game is being made available simultaneously in Dutch, English, Swedish, German and Hungarian – with more to follow (What, no mention of Tibetan!).

The Manual describes the basis of the game and the first section of the manual details 20 ways of playing the original game, each method being related to a particular objective – eg strengths you wish to develop; evaluate co-operation in a group or team; identifying the strengths that are most relevant for a certain function; staff appraisal; and so on. The second section describes a variety of techniques, each with a set of exercises – not necessarily using the game – such as Johari, NLP, TA, etc used to explore the various areas of feedback – strengths, latent strengths, weaknesses, resistance, distorted strengths, etc.

I have tried the game in several situations and found that is not only instructive, but fun, and the feedback techniques section of the manual is very helpful in this difficult area, with a lot of useful exercises. Try both and vary your training approaches in feedback to make them more interesting, enjoyable and impactive.

Leslie Rae
November 1999

All ratings 5 stars


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