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compiled by

gari jenkins


Creating the Environment:

  1. Post team-related quotes on the wall.

  2. Clip cartoons on team themes and post them around the room.

  3. Use colour to enliven the room: flip charts, posters, tent cards, etc.

  4. Learn to make simple line drawings and incorporate them into your visual aids (flip charts and slides).

  5. Bring toys into the room related to the topic being discussed. For example, if training on problem solving, bring in different types of puzzles and brain teasers.

Icebreaker Ideas:

  1. Have team members write down 3 truths and 1 lie about themselves. Then have the rest of the team guess which is the lie.

  2. Have team members identify one thing others don’t know about them. Then have the group guess who’s who.

  3. Have each person identify several people on the team who are most different from themselves. Then try to find 5 things in common with those "different" people.

  4. Have each person share three rules they live by. Then develop rules for the team to live by.

  5. Write 3X5 cards with statements about teams (ex: Good teams never disagree). Distribute cards to team members and have them swap until they hold a card they agree with. Swapping must be done silently, without knowing the card they will receive.

Involvement Tips:

  1. Use a Koosh Ball to get participation. The person with the Koosh has the floor. When they are finished speaking, they toss the Koosh to someone else. This allows the team to direct the discussion and prevents interruptions.

  2. Have individuals write one question they want answered about the topic of the meeting on a 3x5 card. Then revisit the question at the end of the meeting and have their team mates answer the questions.

  3. Have individuals write down their feelings about the team on 3x5 cards. Then collect all cards and redistribute them. Have team members read and explain the cards based on what they think the writer meant. This allows issues and concerns to be brought forward without fear of punishment.

  4. When brainstorming, have team members write their ideas on post-it notes. Then have them post the notes on a wall or flip chart and cluster related notes.

  5. Use chips to control talkers. Each person receives 3-5 chips, each worth up to 1 minute of floor time. When you want to speak, you turn in a chip. When chips are gone, you cannot speak.

  6. Have each person draw their vision of success for the team (pictures only - no words). Then have others explain the vision.

  7. Have each person complete this sentence: "One thing I need to understand on this team is..." Then discuss the answers.

Meeting Facilitation Tips:

  1. Use and post an agenda. When discussion strays, use the agenda to bring the group back.

  2. Use a "Parking Lot" flip chart - record side issues or those outside of the agenda on a flip chart. At the end of the meeting, determine when those issues will be addressed.

  3. When you want to lead the discussion, stand front and center in the room. When you want the team to lead the discussion, sit or stand to the side of the room. Changing position sends cues to the team and helps you maintain control.

  4. Capture minutes and decisions on flip charts during the meeting.

  5. Set ground rules as a team and review at every meeting.

Conflict Management Tips:

  1. Have the team identify the criteria they will use to make a decision. Then evaluate ideas against each criteria.

  2. Post each position on a flip chart, with two charts per idea (one pro and one con). Have participants silently post their ideas on the appropriate flip chart. Each idea must be no more than 5 words in length. Each person can spend no more than 1 minute at a flip chart.

  3. When two people disagree, ask each to reflect the opposite position using active listening. Continue reflecting until the other person agrees that they fully understand the position.

  4. Summarize the issues on which there is agreement and confirm to show progress and possibilities.

  5. When there appears to be agreement, confirm with each team member.

  6. Look for non-verbal signs of dissent and address them openly.

  7. Divide team into two groups. Assign each group either positive conflict behaviours or negative conflict behaviours and have them identify five items on their assigned list. Then have groups act out the behaviours on their list while the other group guesses. Debrief by developing a list of ground rules for conflict on the team.

  8. Never take sides. Instead, suggest a way for the team to overcome its roadblock.

Tips for Ending a Session:

  1. Ask for one thing each person learned in the session.

  2. Revisit action items and assignments and confirm due dates.

  3. Develop a game or quiz for the team to see how many questions they can answer correctly about the meeting content. For example, if the meeting was a "get acquainted" meeting for a new team, one question might be: "Which person on your team has been to Graceland three times?"

  4. Ask each person to share one action they will take in the next week as a result of the team session.

  5. Have each person draw a picture of something they learned in the meeting. Then have others guess what it is.


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