Resources for Learning

Icebreakers and Exercises


Online Frame Games

General Ice Breaker
Each participant introduces themselves and then shows the  group an object they brought into the session (It could be from their pocket, purse, briefcase, etc.) They must then tell the group why that object is significant to who they are. Have them find 5 - 10 people that they have something in common with. Have them use an object that they have on them that is like them and why. Give them an object and have them describe how this relates to the subject or their lives. If you give everyone a different object, no one as the opportunity to prepare their response and it levels the playing field for all participants.  
Ask everyone to go stand under/near four papers where names of animals were written: fox, lion, turtle and bird based on how they react to conflict. Discuss what the people have in common at each animal station and how that's different from the other "animals".
Value System
Pre- Event
Send out three simple questionnaires. On the first one, participants pick from a long list of words the 10 that best describe their personal value system. The second questionnaire features a list of words -- creative, profitable, innovative, greedy, manipulative -- that could be used to describe how an organization operates; participants circle the 10 that best describe their organization's culture. Finally, they choose from a third list the 10 words that describe their dream organization. Analyze the responses and plot them onto a graph. Then slice the graph according Maslow's hierarchy of human motivation - survival, relationship, self-esteem, transformation, organization, community, and society. The results, when presented visually, become instantly recognizable: It's impossible to miss how an organization's actual behavior is the same or different to ideal of the people who work there.
Truth & Lie
Ask participants to partner up with someone they do not know and to tell the other person a little about themselves. Each partner will introduce the other to the group. While talking together the partners should create 3 statements for their partner to say about them to the group. Of the 3 statements 2 should be true about the person and 1 false. The group must guess from first impressions which is the false statement.
Line Up
Blindfold them, put them in a space where they can't bump into anything dangerous, tell them to line up in order of their mother's birth dates SILENTLY. Sometimes the biggest hurdle to learning for highly educated, very accomplished professionals is admitting they NEED to learn something. This is a great, and safe, way for them to experience "hindered communication", similar to what might happen with people whose first language is not English or people new to their workgroup or people outside of their professional field. It can launch some good discussions of communication paradigms, barriers to good communication, etc.
Finding F's
Read this sentence: FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS. Now count the F's is that sentence. Count them ONLY ONCE. Do not go back and count them again. Then see below: ANSWER: There are 6 F's in the sentence. One of average intelligence finds 3 of them. If you spotted 4, you're above average. If you discovered 5, you can turn your nose at most anybody. If you caught 6, you are a genius. There is no catch. Most people forget the "OF"s. The human brain tends to see them as Vs instead of F's. Is this a valid way to determine how "smart" someone is? Why/why not?
Unconscious vs Conscious Competence Shut your eyes. Then try to touch the tip of your nose with your index finger. At the same time, concentrate hard on what you are doing and on where your arm is at all times. Do the exercise slowly. Allow minimum 20 seconds for it. Now write a description of what you did to find your nose.

If you are like the majority you probably did find your nose. You managed to touch the tip of your nose even though you could not see it. This is because you have tacit knowledge of where the tip of your nose is and how you must move your arm to touch it. In the exercise, moreover, you were consciously focusing on your tacit knowledge. Normally we do not concentrate so deliberately on the physical motions we make. If we did, we would never get anything done, because our conscious minds are hopelessly inefficient information processors compared to our unconscious minds.

The conscious mind is capable of processing somewhere between 16 and 40 million bits of information (ones and zeroes) per second, whereas the unconscious can handle no fewer than 11 million bits per second. We are aware of no more than a millionth of all the information that our brains process! While you were deliberately and laboriously focusing on the movement of your arm, your brain was rapidly and efficiently dealing with an enormous amount of other information to keep track of all your bodily functions. Conscious thought is thus energy-intensive and inefficient. On the other hand it is very flexible. It can be switched in a fraction of a second to concentrate our attention on our heads or our toes, on listening carefully or on reflective thinking.

It was much more difficult to write a detailed description of how you did, than doing the exercise itself, wasn´t it? If you really had to explain in writing how you did in detail, you would have to spend days not seconds, and you still would not be able to do it properly. This is because we are very good at doing things tacitly, so good that we can express only a fraction of it in words. A much better way is to show how you do. Information is a very poor vehicle for transferring knowledge.

Which hand was used? If you are right-handed, you probably used the right one. Why did you not use your other hand? You never gave it a thought, it was purely automatic. Right? Over the years we build up innumerable patterns in our brains that serve as unconscious rules of procedure to cope with every conceivable situation. These rules save us a great deal of energy, enabling us to act quickly and effectively without having to think about what we are doing the whole time. These rules of procedure are also an essential part of acquiring and improving skills. But the rules of procedure are also a limitation. Since they are always there, they affect new knowledge like a filter or a pair of spectacles. In this way all new knowledge is always colored by our previous knowledge - there exists no "objective" knowledge. If you used your right hand in the exercise, you missed the experience of trying it with your left hand. No great loss in this case perhaps, but consider how you act in more complex situations at home or at work. How much happens automatically? How much of your ability to create new knowledge do you unconsciously switch off?
vs. two-way communication
Have the participants to pair up with someone else. If you would like the added benefit of using this as an ice breaker or a networking opportunity make sure they are pairing up with someone they do not know. Ask them to decide which one of the pair is A and which is B. Ask the A's to leave the room. Give the B's these instructions, "When the A's come back into the room they will be blind folded. Your job is to take them by the arm (like if you were leading a blind person) on a little field trip. You may give them instructions; such as, "walk forward five feet". Explain that their job is to get their A safely back to his or her seat. (This takes a little advance planning. You must decide on the route ahead of time.) To the group of A's give these instructions, "You will be blind folded and your B partner will lead you on a little field trip. They may give you instructions and lead you by the arm but you are not to ask questions or give them any feedback whatsoever. Their goal is to get you safely back to your seat." After, the first half of the exercise is accomplished, the roles should be reversed and a different route established. Only this time the there should be two way communication. This will go much faster and easier with less stumbling by the blindfolded participant.
Positive Negative Communication
Based on the children's Hot/Cold game. Have a volunteer leave the room, pick an object that's somewhere in the room, explain to the group that they will only be allowed to tell the volunteer when he/she is moving away from the object (cold) and they are to make very negative statements like 'Hey, stupid - wrong way". Time how long it takes to find the object (hint: prepare the volunteer thoroughly for this type of negative communication). Next use another volunteer, have them leave the room and this time use only positive communication as they get nearer the object "That's great, you're wonderful, keep going". Time it. Next have a 3rd volunteer and allow the group to use negative and positive communication. They should find the object very quickly vs the other 2 methods. Both types of communication can be useful to help guide someone on the correct path to obtaining their goals. This is also a good time to open up a discussion about phrasing negative communication into constructive communication.
Chain Communication
Have an ambiguous photo or picture. Take a volunteer aside to show the picture. The group doesn't get to see it. They note (he/she can write it down) 10 things (or # time permits) about the picture. When the volunteer rejoins the group, tell the group and volunteer that the volunteer is going to whisper information about the picture to the person on their right. The person listening can only take in the information without questions and without writing. The information is repeated in this way until all people have heard. The last person receiving the information tells the group what they heard. Then the facilitator can read the initial 10 things the volunteer wrote and show the picture.
Everyone Sells
Pick an ordinary object like a pen or pencil or crayon. Have them try to "sell" each other/facilitator. Find out who asks their partner what they "want" it to be.
Crystal Clear Communications
Give each member of the group an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, the facilitator needs one too. Have them close their eyes. The facilitator issues the instructions and follows them as well. No questions are allowed. Instructions: Fold the paper in half. Rip off a corner Fold the paper in half Rip off a corner Fold the paper in half Rip off a corner The group can now open their eyes and find that there are many different shapes of paper. The debrief covers the need for two way communication and that the different perceptions of the people caused the many different designs. If time permits the group can be put in pairs. Have the pairs sit back to back and repeat the exercise using two way communications and find that the patterns come out closer

Before presenting it, the instructor draws a figure on a flip chart or overhead and conceals it. The figure be something simple like a stick drawing of a house or person.

He or she then tells the group that they will be given instructions to perform a simple task and that questions are not permitted.(If someone asks a question, I usually answer it by repeating word-for-word what I just said). The instructor then repeats the following: "Place your pencils on the blank space on your page. Draw two parallel lines. At one end of the parallel lines, draw a line at right angles to them. At the other end of the parallel lines, draw an inverted 'V.' On one leg of the 'V,' draw two parallel lines. At one end of the two parallel lines you just drew, draw a horizontal line at right angles to them." After the pencils are down, the instructor asks how many got it right, then reveals the picture. Take the discussion to communication, to giving orders, to all types of topics.
Status/Team Exercise
8 people, Hang "titles" around their neck and let them determine who's the most important. Rock Star, CEO, Mother, Baby, Janitor, Sports Star, Senator. Then have them come and state why they're important. After they're done explain that they could have either joined hands in a circle or stood in a line because NO ONE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYBODY ELSE  
Mission goals - This or That
The activity is based on the concept that a team is not transformed instantly into a high performing work group -- improvement is gradual but continuous. Team development is a process of becoming "more of THIS and less of THAT" The staff will (hopefully) identify the THIS (the positive attributes the team needs to perform) and the THAT (the negative attributes that we need to leave behind).

To break the ice the activity will start with the staff identify the THIS and THAT values and behaviors Create statements that are appropriate to the environment and situation. Have them replace "THIS" and "THAT" with statements that describe behavior.
To show respect for co-workers we must be more like THIS and less like THAT
To cooperate we must be more like THIS and less like THAT 
To listen more effectively we must be more like THIS and less like THAT

You can then also use the responses to diagnosis training needs.
Change Leadership
Session facilitator anonymously sits in the back of the room.   When introduced, facilitator stands up and announces " those who purposely sat in the back of the room were now in the "front" of the room.

Then, throw out wadded up "balls" of brightly colored paper and tell the group if they caught one to throw it to someone else. They were to keep throwing the "balls" around until told to d stop. If they were caught with one of the "balls" at that point they came to the "front" of the room. They then opened up the "balls" to find words written on them in big letters. Next they were given 3 minutes to arrange the words to form a sentence. The correct answer was "If you do what you always did you'll get what you always got."
EZ Ice Breaker
Pass a roll of TP to the first person closest to you and merely say "Take as much as you think you need and pass the TP to the next person". Don't offer any more information. Once the TP has gone around the room. Say to the group, "For every square that you tore off, tell the group something about yourself". Then watch their faces, I get a charge out of who is proud that they only picked one square, and the others that picked 20 squares! This works at any level of people in the room.
Draw a picture of who you are right now - lower left, Draw a picture of who you will be in 2/5 years - upper right. Draw a path between the two, draw obstacles and opportunities.
Team, Diversity
STRAW AND PAPERCLIP Give each group a box of straws not flexible straws) and a box of paperclips. Check that the paperclips can fit snuggly into the end of the straws. Give each group a task (you can use the same one for each group if you want) and let them go. Sample tasks: Build the structure as a group. tallest strongest longest most creative most functional etc. Debriefing included describing teamwork and situational leadership skills used as well as how different models are needed to accomplish different tasks.
Ice Breaker Mingler
Get out a bunch of labels and start writing down the names of well known characters such as: Mickey Mouse, Caesar, Humphrey Bogart, Julia Roberts, Roy Orbison, Michael Jackson and on and on... As the group gathers together, you give them the instructions that they need to figure out the name of the character that is written on their label. To do that, they are allowed to ask one question only of each person they talk to. Then you simply walk around and place the labels on their backs. This forces them to mingle and it is really a great icebreaker. When someone successfully figures out the name, they get to move the label to the front - then you put another label on their back -- no one gets off too easily. The one with the most labels wins if you even care about winning -- most people just enjoy talking to each other by that time.
Personality Values
You can try a set of cards with 15 (personality) values written on and given to each person. Then, have them order by priority, discard five, discard 5 more. Then, they can discuss in groups of 5-7 what their remaining 5 are and how they relate to their own views of project management. Each group can report to the whole group. Share motivators, communication styles.
I am... Give a flip chart page to each participant and ask them to complete the following statement 10 times: " I am the kind of person who... without putting their name on the sheet. Number each sheet. Post the sheets on the wall For groups where they know each other. Have them read the sheets and indicate which number they think is each person.

For people who don't know each other. Have them read the sheets, do some type of light ice breaker, allow them to read the sheets again and indicate which number they think is each person. Hint: It helps to have a preprinted list of peoples names for them to indicate their guesses.
Forced Choice Each corner of the room is labeled: Strongly agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly disagree. The facilitator lists statements related to the content of the workshop on a flip chart - one per page. These statements should be clear and strong assertions that will likely provoke a range of opinion. One at a time expose the group to these statements and ask participants to go to the corner that represents their opinion. Once there they find others who share that opinion and they are given five minutes to discuss the statement and their views. The facilitator then asks for a report from each group and relates their opinions to the course content. The next statement is shown to the group and participants again move to the corner of their choice and repeat the process. Use 3 or 4 such statements (they might represent common misperceptions about the topic) and by the end of the exercise participants have engaged with most of the other group members in a fun way. In addition they are more aware of some of the key concepts they will be addressing during the session.
Similarities, Differences, Expectations The group is divided into teams of 4 or 5 and asked to prepare a flip chart that lists individual differences - things that are unique to that individual, and similarities: qualities, activities, interests etc., that all team members share. Third they are asked to list each team member's expectations for the session. How this is arranged on the flip chart pages doesn't really matter. When completed each team goes to the front and one at a time members give their uniqueness, a similarity they share with others, and their own individual expectation for the session.
Conflict Resolution, Team, Active Listening This technique is an excellent way of ensuring that participants listen to each other and can help move a group toward consensus by reducing misunderstandings and clarifying the rationale of various participants. The technique is especially useful when opinions in a group are sharply divided. A participant on one side of the debate states his case. A participant on the other side of the debate then summarizes, in her own words, what the first participant said. The first participant then comments on the summary, correcting any errors, misunderstandings, or omissions. Variations of the technique. One variation goes like this: For 5 minutes A talks, B listens (no discussion) For 2 minutes B summarizes, A listens (no discussion) For 1 minute A corrects, B listens (no discussion)
What's Important? Quiz: What Do You Remember?
You don't actually have to take the quiz. Just read this straight through,
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier? The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.  
Personal Paper Bag Ask attendees to put "things" in the brown bag that they have brought to the session. The objects could be keys, a license, a pen, pictures, money...anything they have with them that doesn't prove embarrassing to them. They exchange bags and then each attendee empties the partner's bag and writes the impression he/she has of that person based on the contents of the bag.

Pass the bag to the next person, who also writes something, and so on and so on.
Creating Consensus A classroom exercise toward consensus that can be highly challenging is the following. Seat everyone in circles, with up to 14 people in each circle. Heads are bowed and no communication other than the following may take place: one at time, going clockwise around the circle, each person says one word to express ...(e.g. the highlight of this training, the best thing about our company, the prettiest place in the world, or you make up something). After going around the circle one time, there will undoubtedly be a variety of words. Now tell them to continue the circling, each person saying one word, until they have reached a consensus (i.e. everyone is saying the same word). If you have some strong people, that may take a dozen or more rounds. The folks who hold out the longest are often the visionaries of the group (sometimes instigators or rebels). It seems so simple but you may be surprised
Sameness Difference Balloons I have found it useful to put some energy into the room with icebreakers like this is to give everyone a balloon to blow up and then ask the group to stand in a circle and bat the group of balloons in the air. After a short time grab any balloon and form a small group with the people with the same color balloons as you and then discuss a set of discovery questions or something relevant to the topic

Useful in a variety of ways. 1) blowing up the balloon gets people to breath which promotes the increase of energy and alertness. 2) batting the balloons gets the most staid group laughing 3) which can lead to a degrease in tension 4) people are easily provided opportunities to discuss things with others whom they do not normally talk to .
Brain Teasers 1. The maker doesn't want it; the buyer doesn't use it; and the user doesn't even see it. What is it?

2. A child is born in Boston, Massachusetts to parents who were both born in Boston, Massachusetts. The child is not a United States citizen. How is this possible?

3. Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on Earth?

4. Clara Clatter was born on December 27th, yet her birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?

5. Captain Frank and some of the boys were exchanging old war stories. Art Bragg offered one about how his grandfather led a battalion against a German division during World War I. Through brilliant maneuvers he defeated them and captured valuable territory. After the battle he was presented with a sword bearing the inscription "To Captain Bragg for Bravery, Daring and Leadership. World War One. From the Men of Battalion ." Captain Frank looked at Art and said, "You really don't expect anyone to believe that yarn, do you?" What's wrong with the story?

6. What is one thing that all wise men, regardless of their religion or politics, agree is between heaven and earth?

7. In what year did Christmas and New Year's fall in the same year?

8. A woman from New York married ten different men from that city, yet she did not break any laws. None of these men died and she never divorced. How was this possible?

9. Why are 1990 American dollar bills worth more than 1989 American dollar bills?

10. How many times can you subtract the number 5 from 25?

11. A taxi driver was called to take a group of passengers to the train station. The station is normally an hour away, but with traffic being extra heavy, it took a full hour and a half. On the return trip the traffic was still as heavy and yet it took only 90 minutes. Why?

12. How could you rearrange the letters in the words "new door" to make one word? Note: There is only one correct answer.

13. Even if they are starving, natives living in the Arctic will never eat a penguin's egg. Why not?

14. Which is correct to say, "The yolk of the egg *are* white" or "The yolk of the egg *is* white"?

15. In Okmulgee, Oklahoma, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?

16. There were an electrician and a plumber waiting in line for admission to the "International Home Show". One of them was the father of the other's son. How could this be possible?

17. After the new Canon Law that took effect on November 27, 1983, would a Roman Catholic man be allowed to marry his widow's sister?

ANSWERS: 1. A coffin 2. The child was born before 1776. 3. Mount Everest; it just hadn't been discovered! 4. Clara lives in the southern hemisphere. 5. World War I wasn't called "World War I" until World War II. 6. The word "and." 7. They fall in the same year every year, New Year's Day just arrives very early in the year and Christmas arrives very late in the same year. 8. The lady was a Justice of the Peace. 9. One 1,990 dollar bills are worth $1 more than 1,989. 10. Only once, then you are subtracting it from 20. 11. An hour and a half IS 90 minutes. 12. "new door" = "one word" 13. Penguins live in the Antarctic. 14. Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow. 15. You have to take a picture of a man with a camera, not with a wooden leg. 16. They were husband and wife. 17. He can't because he's dead.
Mission Impossible Your department has to solve 3 of the 4 problems in the next 15 minutes or you'll all be fired. 1. Create 4 equilateral triangles with the 6 toothpicks provided.

2. Every person on the team must be able to hold the ends of a rope and, without letting go, tie a knot in the rope.

3. A farmer has a rabbit, a mountain lion, and some carrots. He wants to take the animals and the carrots across a river. a. Only one item at a time can be carried across the river. If the mountain lion is left with the rabbit, he will eat it. If the rabbit is left with the carrots, he will eat them. b. No cages, muzzles, ropes or other restraints are available. 4. Three men went into a diner and each had a single cup of coffee. Each put an odd number of lumps of sugar into his coffee. In total, they put 12 lumps into their cups. How many lumps did each add?

Toothpick - think 3D Rope:
Rope - Fold your arms before grabbing the rope
River 1.Take the rabbit and leave it. 2. Go back to the other side 3. Take the carrots across and leave them but take the rabbit with you back to the other side 4. Leave the rabbit and take the lion 5. Go back and get the rabbit
Coffee 1,1, 10 - 10 lumps is a very odd number to put into coffee
Forced Change Break the group into small groups of 4 or 5 and give them an introductory exercise (could be on the content of the workshop, discovery questions, or just an introductory ice-breaker - but make sure it's something that involves interaction, easel or whiteboard work, etc.). Tell them they have 7 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever.

Then, after they've gotten a good start on it (about half the time used up - let them get thoroughly involved and invested in the exercise),arbitrarily stop them and reassign the groups, mixing up the participants to separate groups, making sure that a great number of them have to get up and move to new tables (you might make up some kind of lame reason why this is necessary, but don't allow discussion of the reason) and have them immediately continue with the new group in the time they have left - don't extend the time.

THEN, when you call time and ask the small groups to report, instead of actually having the whole group process whatever activity they had originally been assigned, you have them process how they FELT when you introduced the change on their group and unsettled them. Done well, this exercise can effectively introduce a lively discussion of just what it feels like to have to endure an unsettling change that disrupts the status quo (even if that status quo had only been in existence for a few minutes!)

Arrange all the participants into a circle facing inward (or do it in pairs). Have them look over the other participants to see how they look now. Next have them turn outward and change 3 things about themselves. They will have fun with this and you will see some pretty cool changes!! Have them turn inwards and ask if anyone notices the change. You will get some giggles, and all will be having a pretty good time. Now, tell them to turn outward again and make 5 additional changes! They will grouse and complain, you can exhort them with phases like, my last workshop had no problem doing this, come on use your creativity,--say the kinds of things that managers would say in implementing a change program. The mood of the group will change dramatically, they will get angry with you, complain about how stupid this is, etc. Once you have them make the 5 changes, turn inward and have a discussion on how they felt this time versus the last time...this is how it feels to undergo change too rapidly and without commitment.
Organizational Change First, you ask the group to list the 12 things they value the most about their jobs - anything from the work itself, to their colleagues, to their office space - encourage them to be as broad in their thinking as possible, but also to choose the most critically important factors.

Once they're finished, ask them to prioritize the "job satisfiers" into three groups - "Important" (which are things that are important, but, if gone, wouldn't cause too much difficulty), "Very Important" (one step up the scale) and "Critically Important" (things without which the job would become horrific). The lists get written in a concentric circle that you ask them to draw with the "Critically Important" factors in the core circle.

You then create believable scenarios that strip away the two outer levels (restructuring, a new senior management team, divestiture - whatever is appropriate for your audience). As you play out each scenario, ask the group to sit quietly and think about what they're *feeling* - what it would actually *feel* like to come into work every day if that list of satisfiers was taken away. Finish with the innermost circle.

If people have really participated, they are going to feel pretty awful. Your goal is to get them to *sit* with those feelings for a while - even if some folks are feeling sick to their stomach - before you move on. You debrief by asking people to describe what they felt - listing the words on a flip chart as they call them out - and then make the point that most everyone experiences some or all of the feelings they experienced when major change occurs - because change *always* means some kind of loss.

Close by encouraging the participants to be aware of their feelings, as well as the feelings of the people who work for them....and to plan for change with the impact of feelings in mind. This can be a very powerful introduction to a change-planning session.
Do As I Say Ask everyone to pay attention and to do what you TELL then to do. Then make a circle with the thumb and finger of your right hand, leaving the other fingers extended ( the OK sign). SAY "Place your right hand on your chin." and at the same time PUT the circle part of your right hand against your cheek. As soon as people respond, tell them to freeze and note where their hand is. In my experience, more people will respond to the visual cue and put their hand against their cheek. Those who follow the verbal instructions will be allowed to gloat briefly. You can then briefly discuss verbal dominance versus visual dominance. For a bonus point, you can mention (while they still have their hands on their faces) that if they really like the feel of their hand on their face, that they are tactile learners.
Forced Prejudice - During signup there are piles of 4 different objects (4 colors of hats, 4 different toys - something that can be easily displayed) - Everyone has to chose one of the four objects and I make sure there's an equal distribution of the 4 different types. (I'll use different colored hats as an example for the rest of the directions)

- I have prepared slips of paper that for the Blue hats may say something like - Yellow Hats are Stupid - Red Hats are Wise - Green Hats are Gossips - For Yellow Hats it would be - Blue Hats are Powerful - Red Hats are Wise - Green Hats are Gossips

- The basic idea for the "Prejudice Lists" is that each person doesn't know what their hat color indicates, each person receives the same prejudice for each hat color (Red Hats are always Wise) and "good" and "bad" prejudices are equal.

- Then we break into groups that have an equal mix of the 4 items/hat colors and do some brainteaser exercises for about 15 minutes. While the exercises are occurring each person must treat the other people on their team according to the prejudice listed for that item/hat color. Sometimes I have this discussion with each hat color as they receive their "List" sometimes we prep for the overall exercise with a group discussion of how do we treat someone who's powerful, wise, gossipy, stupid.

Watch the teams as they go through the exercise and you'll probably notice. 1. Certain people disassociating from the group - no participation, chair pushed back from table. 2. People unable to sustain the "prejudice" because the label doesn't match their perception of that person. 3. Even people who have the "good" prejudice hats will disassociate because "they aren't treating me the way I view myself." 4. Other interesting reactions.
Priorities The group exercise consisted of the facilitator having participants list their top 10 priorities and then rank them 1-10. Then the facilitator explains to the group that he or she will now take on the role of a Supreme Being or Supreme Force and will be helping you to examine your priorities. 1. First eliminate 2 priorities. -- The facilitator would have each person tell the group their ten priorities and what two they are eliminating. 2. The facilitator tells the group that the goal is to find the top 5(this alleviates some stress) 3. So when you get down to five, each person reads their five top priorities. 4. Then you ask them to eliminate one more, and so on until you end up with one. Note: This exercise requires attentive facilitation as participants will experience some stress and will try not to make a choice. Remind them it is just role playing or just a game.

Quick Group Exercise: Have people list the top 8 priorities in their lives, list top 8 things that occupy their time in a week, top 8 things that they envy about other people and wish were in their lives. You'll find discrepancies and will all find for many people that what they feel they lack in their lives and envy in others is their real priority list stripped of the "shoulds".
TEAM Puzzle  1. Get three different children's puzzles (preferably all have similar colors and are odd shaped, i.e. no corners. Let's call them #1, #2, and #3.

2. Take a few pieces from puzzle #1 and put them in #2. Take a few pieces from #2 and put them in #1. Then divide #3 in half and distribute the pieces between puzzles #1 & #2. Now you have #1 in its box with a couple of pieces from #2 and half of #3. Puzzle #2 is also in its box with a few pieces from #1 and half of puzzle #3. Puzzle #3's box is set aside and not used.

3. Introduce the activity with the group all together. Ask question like the following:"What is a puzzle?" (A problem, a game, something you have to thing about, etc.) "What are some strategies you use to assemble a puzzle?" (Identify the edge pieces, look at the box to see what it is supposed to look like, group pieces that look alike, etc.) Continue this introductory discussion as long as needed. You'll easily be able to adapt this introduction to your needs. At this point, avoid processing. This comes later.

4. Divide the group up into two groups and give each group a puzzle (#1 or #2). Tell them the task is "to assemble their puzzles." You can introduce an element of competition if you like by saying there is a prize for the team that completes the "task" first. Obviously, each box has pieces of the other puzzle so each group bears some responsibility for the completion of the other group's puzzle. Together, both groups must complete the third puzzle - for which they do not have a picture/box to follow. Because these are children's puzzles (48 pieces), putting them together is not a difficult task.

5. After all three puzzles are completed, the group gathers in a circle around the puzzles and processes the activity. Some topic that will likely come out during the processing are: --The puzzles didn't have easily identifiable, straight edges. --Each group had pieces of the other groups puzzle. (How did they respond to this? Did they hoard the pieces or exchange them freely?) --What roles did members of the group take on? --How did the groups approach the third "mystery" puzzle? Did they assume it was the other group's responsibility? Did they work together or in a parallel way on the third puzzle?

6. Obviously, the intent here is to use puzzles as a metaphor for group interactions, team work & cooperation, and general problem solving.
Professional or 4 Year Old The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells  whether you are truly a "professional". Scroll down for the answers. The questions are not difficult. Answer each question before moving on to the next one.

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator ?
3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference, all the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend? OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions, correctly, you still have one more chance to show your abilities.
. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?

1.Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
2. The Wrong Answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the refrigerator. Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your actions
3.Correct Answer: The Elephant. The Elephant is in the refrigerator. This tests your memory.
4. Correct Answer: You swim across. All the Crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting! This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong. But many preschoolers got several correct answers. Andersen Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.
Pseudo Psychology Tell participants you want to do a quick psychological profile to help them learn more about themselves. They will grade their own papers at the end and no one else will see the results. It's strictly confidential. There will be four questions in all.
1. If you died and could come back as any animal you wanted, what would that animal be? When you have decided what animal you would like to be, write down 3 adjectives describing that animal.
2. What is your favorite color? Now write 3 adjectives describing that color.
3. What is your favorite river? (You don't have to have ever been there) Now write 3 adjectives that describe that river.
4. Close your eyes and try to imagine being in the situation I will describe. You are surrounded by a brilliant whiteness. Everywhere you turn, all you see is whiteness. Think about being in this situation for a few seconds. Now open your eyes and write 3 adjectives that describe your feelings when you thought about being in that situation. Now we will grade the papers.

Debriefing and Discussion Answers
1. The 3 adjectives you wrote are how you perceive yourself. - We usually want to come back as an animal with characteristics we admire
2. The 3 adjectives are how other people perceive you. - We again usually like colors because they have characteristics we identify with
3. The 3 adjectives are how you perceive sex. (or making love) - Based on Freud
4. The 3 adjectives are how you perceive death. - Based on stories of people dying and coming back to life and walking towards a bright light or being bathed in a bright light.
What Happened? The following is a sample of the narrative and questions to be answered after you have read the following text twice to a group of "listeners."
"A business man had just turned off the lights in the store when a man appeared and demanded money. The owner opened the cash register. The contents of the cash register ere scooped up and a man sped away. A member of the police department was notified promptly.
1. A man appeared just after the owner turned off the store lights.
2. The robber was a man.
3. The man that appeared did not demand money
4. The store owner scooped up the contents of the cash register and
sped away.
5. Someone opened the cash register.
6. While the cash register contained money, the story didn't state
how much.
7. After the store lights were turned out, the man appeared.
8. The robbers did not take money with him. This works well as part of a larger module on listening skills where you

THEN discuss topics such as:
* Why we don't listen
* Listening as an attitude not a skill
* Elements of listening (hearing, interpreting, evaluating, and
* How to listen (active and reflective)
* Types of listening depending on context (discriminative,
comprehensive, appreciative, and therapeutic)
(collected from many sources)
Respect each other
Attack ideas not people
Be specific
Comments made here stay here
Comments belong to the group
One person talks at a time
Be punctual
Avoid passing judgment
No beepers/cellular phones
Be supportive of the other team members and their contributions
Silence and absence is consensus
Practice active listening
Keep discussion relevant
No side talking
One conversation at a time
No backtracking for people who are late
Avoid killer phrases like "we already tried that" and "it will never work" and "yes, but . . ."
5-minute rule (any one can call 5 min rule--to close out a discussion going no where)
Define acronyms
Everyone is equal
One person speaks at a time
Allow people to change
Balance consistency with flexibility
Check assumptions before acting
Criticize ideas, not people
Do not retaliate
Follow through
Keep an open mind
Keep communication lines open
Share responsibility
Speak for yourself
Speak up
Be open to the ideas of others
Take responsibility for your own learning
Keep things specific, real, here.
Full confidentiality
You have the right to pass
Use your time wisely
Information discussed in our group is confidential.
Respect differences.
Don't discount others' ideas.
Be supportive rather than judgmental.
Give feedback directly and openly;
You are responsible for what we get from this team experience.
Do not accept the first idea - go for the second and even better the third.
Be as open as possible but honor the right of privacy.
Focus on our goals, avoiding sidetracking, personality conflicts and hidden agendas.
Absenteeism permitted if scheduled in advance with the leader.
Start and end meeting on time.
Review and agree on agenda at start of meeting and then stick to it.
Publish agenda and outcomes.
Everyone is expected to help facilitate the meeting.
Critique/evaluate meeting.
Everyone is expected to participate and to respect and support the right to be heard.
100% focus and attention while meeting.
Frequently check for understanding - summarize and/or paraphrase
Differences or conflicts are handled positively.
Phones and/or pagers on vibrate, instead of ring or beep
Be open to new concepts and to concepts presented in new ways.
One person talks at a time.
Job titles are left at the door.
Build self-esteem.
No finger pointing - address the process not the individual.
Work towards understanding consensus
Be willing to forgive.
Rotate responsibilities
Include everyone in the discussion
Ask for what you need
Start and end on time.
Don't interrupt someone talking.
Have fun
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Everyone is responsible for the success of the meeting.
No killer statements (don't shoot down ideas).
Be open to ideas
Everyone participates.
Share air time
Share your knowledge.
Be honest.
Appreciate other points of view.
Provide key point notes to participants.
Respect each person.
Stay focused on the task and the person of the moment.
Criticize only ideas, not people.
Keep an open mind.
Question and participate.
Attend all meetings.
Listen constructively.
Ask a question when you have one.
Feel free to share an illustration.
Request an example if a point is not clear.
Keep confidences and assume others will.
Practice active listening.
Be a team player.
Be yourself.
Ask questions.
Make mistakes.
Have a different opinion.
Share the limelight.
Participate enthusiastically.
Confine your discussion to the current topic.
Give freely of your experience.
Ensure everyone participates at least every hour.
Be an "Adventurer" not a "Prisoner".
Listen alertly and take accurate notes.
Say "Thank You".
Share responsibility
Ask why.
Keep up-to-date.