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Four training games to break the ice!

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Thanks to the previous guides, you now have everything you need to run effective and innovative training sessions using gamestorming. Now it’s time to put it all into practice! Discover 4 games to use as part of your programme. Let’s focus first on opening games to start the session.

A different approach to icebreaking — ‘Welcome to My World’ by Sunni Brown

Rather than simply going round the table and having each participant present themself, opt for cooptation and getting to know one another by sharing experiences!

  • Number of players: 8 to 20 people
  • Duration: 30 to 60 minutes
  • Material: paper, pens

Instructions:

  1. the participants write on a piece of paper their position or one of their roles in connection with the training and stick it to their chest;
  2. ask the participants to pair up with someone whose title they find intriguing or surprising;
  3. each participant must then draw their perception of their partner’s responsibilities, without ever asking them a direct question. they can only use symbols or drawings;
  4. the participants have 5 minutes to present their drawing to their partner;
  5. for 5 or 10 minutes, each member of the pair presents their position or role and its connection with the session. It is possible to modify the sketches;
  6. Volunteers present the results of their reflections and the resulting discussion to the class.

The aim of the game is to enable others to discover your day-to-day job and break down barriers between different positions within a company. This game is particularly beneficial if your trainees hold very different positions.

Revealing expectations about the training — ‘Spectrum Mapping’

The initial aim is to reveal information and secret desires with regard to your training. You can list expectations regarding your session, opinions on a given topic or participants’ knowledge or perception about a given theme. Ask your trainees what their goals are with regard to the training, what they think about the organization of their department or what topic will be addressed in the session.

  • Number of players: 5 to 15 people
  • Duration: 30 to 60 minutes
  • Material: Bristol cards, Post-its, pens

Instructions:

  1. at the start of the session, you can ask the trainees to focus on the title of the course or address several points in particular. If you are addressing more than one topic, write them down;
  2. place each point to be addressed at the centre of your whiteboard or wall. If you have more than one, arrange them one under the other;
  3. the participants note each of their ideas or opinions on a Post-it;
  4. invite them to place their Post-it to the left or right of each subject. The links between ideas are not important;
  5. when all the Post-its are on the wall, sort them: remove duplicates, put similar ideas together and isolate single opinions;
  6. once you have arranged all the ideas and opinions, ask the participants for their impressions.

This spectrum gives you an overview of the participants’ ideas and, in particular, of their shared ideas. It will guide you in how you run the session and will help identify the challenges to overcome.

Define the scope of learning — ‘The Graphic Jam’ by Leslie Salmon-Shu

When a concept is difficult to grasp, use visualization. In doing so, you stimulate creativity, offer the same level of comprehension and involve your trainees.

  • Number of players: 5 to 15 people
  • Duration: 30 to 60 minutes
  • Material: Bristol cards, Post-its, pens

Instructions:

  1. for 1 or 2 minutes, participants write on Bristol cards words they find hard to conceptualize, like ‘guarantee’ or ‘quality’. One card per idea;
  2. collect the cards, mix them up, draw a card at random and put it on the wall;
  3. in 3 minutes, the participants note on a Post-it a symbol connected, in their opinion, to the expression on the card. Ask them to stick their Post-its around the expression;
  4. repeat the exercise for each Bristol card;
  5. when all the words are symbolized, discuss the drawings and interpretations and clarify certain suggestions;
  6. ask the team for the simplest words to conceptualize and the impact of these visual figures in their work life.

This gives you a basis for shared interpretation. You can use these symbols to conceptualize the rest of your training via a panel of artefacts.

Reveal the training goal — ‘Cover Story’ by The Grove Consultant International

Discover the goal of the training for your trainees or harmonize expectations via the principle of projection.

  • Number of players: no limit
  • Duration: 90 minutes maximum, no minimum time
  • Material: paperboards (prepared in advance) and markers

Instructions:

  1. Divide the group into teams of 6 people maximum. On the wall, arrange your paperboards (one per team) displaying the following model:
  2. Describe each category: the cover presents the greatest success of the training, the headlines focus on the content of the success, the sidebars contain interesting aspects, the quotes contain the discussions, the brainstorming illustrates the initial ideas that gave rise to the result and the images illustrate it all;
  3. Ask the participants to imagine the best possible scenarios for the training or post-training. Each participant has 5 minutes to build their scenario then the teams collect their ideas to create a single scenario. The groups have 45 minutes to fill in the paperboard;
  4. When the exercise is finished, each team presents its model in 10 minutes maximum;
  5. Discuss with the group their impressions, thoughts and concerns. Collect these shared ideas and take the opportunity to clarify certain points.

The success of the game depends on the players’ level of abstraction. It enables you to guide the rest of the session and try new approaches in response to their goals.

These 4 games designed or adapted by the creators of gamestorming provide you with the necessary tools to open a training session and define its scope. Don’t forget to follow the basic rules and to strive to ensure the games run as smoothly as possible.

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