Fable Friday and More Workshop Mistakes!

I wonder if anyone will ever hire me again if I keep disclosing the mistakes I made, but honestly, there weren’t a lot of them, so today because it’s Fable Friday I’ll give you one more, for you trainers.

Games, quizzes, diversions, fun activities, are all important in your workshops.  They create a positive learning environment and keep people engaged. Some years ago an Israeli study showed that the inclusion of humor in the classroom contributed to retention of material.  I use a lot of these techniques and no one ever calls my workshops boring.

So one day I was trying to show a group of analysts how misleading statistics and numbers can be, and I used the example of “Let’s Make a Deal” the old TV game show.  The contestant is shown three doors, behind one of which is a dream vacation package.  The two remaining doors conceal worthless prizes.  So let’s say the contestant selects Door One.  Before opening the door to see what the contestant won, host Monty Hall would open Door Two and show one of the worthless prizes, and then ask the contestant if he would like to switch to Door Three, and even offer him money to do so.  The contestants rarely switched however, despite the fact that it was statistically advantageous to do so.  (At the time of their original selection, they had a one in three chance of being right. Once a door was exposed and there were only two doors remaining, switching to Door Three improves the odds to one in two.)

But I had a problem during the discussion phase and I never go to the premise I was trying to establish, because one guy raised his hand and said “There is no benefit to switching doors.”  Several others agreed with him.  And although they were wrong, they were simply unable to grasp the solution, so a big out-of-control discussion ensued, I never got us moving again, and everyone went to break frustrated and confused. This is a good lesson about testing your games and quizzes on colleagues and friends before you use them in a workshop.

Oh, and by the way, remember my last post about the card game with the saboteurs?  There was one element of it worth recounting and that was the correspondent banker who sabotaged his team. He was a master at duplicity and evil and it was all I could do to keep a straight face.  The captain of his team was a senior operations officer for the bank, and she immediately tried to get the team organized to plan the activity. As soon as everyone was seated, but before she could speak he said, “I’m going to get some coffee. Anybody want some?”  She went nuts.  “We have just 15 minutes to plan.  This is no time for coffee!”

Later he argued about sorting the cards from ace to deuce.  “When I used to play rummy with my grandmother,” he said, “you could have like king, ace, deuce. It didn’t have to start with the ace.” He then gave a long explanation about how rummy is played. She was furious and they couldn’t make any progress in the planning phase. The outcome of the game, when debriefed well, was how to work in teams when people aren’t on the same page. Good lesson when done right.

I didn’t post on Tuesday as my newsletter went out that day.  If you didn’t receive it let me know.  It has everything you need to know about Velveeta!

Think Like Your Customer!

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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