Training Openers & Energizers
- These articles appear in the Openers & Energizers section of the September
2000 issue, "Creative Training Techniques."
Chaos seating and other power streams
A positive atmosphere means much to the success of a training session. Here
are some things Doug Constant does to optimize his classroom mood:
"Streams of power."
Stretch your arms to the sky with your hands open, grab air, and pull down
with all your might while yelling, Streams of power run through my
veins.Then relax and let your arms down to your side and say, All is well.
Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Recite: Mary Had a Little Lamb. Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere
that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go. Then do it again, mad. Then bored.
Then while laughing.
When someone lets out an expletive, Constant explains the need for a
professional atmosphere in class. "We bring them to the wall and have them
beat on the wall and say, 'I'll never do it again,' three time," he
says."Believe me, the cursing goes away."
He suggests that people use a simple guideline for future language: Use
language you would use in your grandmother's presence, or as you would in
front of a group of children.
Rearrange the room.
Constant rearranges the seating several times in the course of the day:
U-shaped, classroom-style, and random or "chaos seating" are possibilities.
He may also move flipcharts to the side, the back row to the front, and so
on -- anything to shake things.
Says Constant: "It's easy to get comfortable in the same seat, day after
day, hour after hour. We have found that the room arrangement most conducive
for learning is the small-group arrangement --- and we always go back to
that arrangement for course material."
The motivational class-closing sessions work best in a random, no desk,
chaotic arrangement. The U-shape with no desks works best for the
interactive exercise and class openers or icebreakers.
When Sonny meets Cher
In sessions where participants don't know one another, James Fickling
prepares name tags in advance. In addition to participants' names and
company information, he adds one other item: one-half of a famous pair. For
example, one of the name cards will have Bonnie, while another has Clyde.
Sonny and Cher, Tom and Jerry, Porgy and Bess are other examples. The first
activity for students is to find their other famous half. These pairs are
the default buddies whenever you need groups of two.
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