January 23, 2012

Perfect Phrases to Encourage Participation or Creativity

Perfect Phrases 
for  Icebreakers 
Meryl Runion and Diane Windingland collaborated on the book Perfect Phrases for Icebreakers, which contains lots of great starters for training and team-building sessions, as well as conversations, meetings, and other events.  A few  phrase that really hit home with me as a team and meeting facilitator were to help trainers or team leaders get more engagement and participation or to increase creativity in brainstorming sessions.  Below I share my favorite three phrase options for facilitating participation or creativity from the various examples provided in the book.  Where prizes are given, use candy or a snack bar, or provide inexpensive office supplies that the recipient might find useful in their own job or team role.

Participation (phrases from pages 25-26)
1.      Today you get a playing card for every meaningful contribution you make.  The person with the most cards at the end of the meeting gets a prize.
2.      Today, I’ll be asking for some volunteers to do some activities.  I really appreciate when volunteers help out, so I pay my volunteers in
3.      I’m giving out words to each of you.  They are words like . Another person has the same word as you do.  That person is your competition.  When you hear me say your word, exclaim . The first person in a pair to note me saying their word gets a point.

Creativity (phrases from pages 31-32)
1.      We need some ideas on . The goal of this activity is to generate ideas about and only to generate ideas.  Later we’ll evaluate, but for now, instead of saying “yeah, but” say “yes, and.”  Nothing is too wild.
2.      This is a creative brainstorming session, so let’s start with some creative brainstorming work.  Who has an idea about how we can generate ideas?
3.      I’m handing out cards for you to write an idea that works to improve our that’s too far out or too radical to really do.  (Note:  Afterwards review ideas and discuss which are doable, crazy, feasible and inspirational.)

In the introduction of the book, it is suggested that the reader use 3 questions to evaluate a phrase and edit it to meet their needs.  This is especially important for the networking questions.  Quoted here for reference are those 3 questions:
·        What am I trying to accomplish with this phrase?
·        Why did I pick this phrase?
·        Is there a way I could improve on this phrase for my purposes?


Diane Windingland said...

Shirley--Thanks for talking about the book on your blog and for the positive review on Amazon. As an aside, many of the phrases even work with teens! I've used some of them with a home school speech class I teach. They especially like food treats!

Shirley Fine Lee (aka Meeting Wizard) said...

Diane, Thanks for letting us know that. Great phrase book! I included something different from your book in my Jan.2012 newsletter at