Help me motivate and teach my team while having fun!
August 31, 2010 7:18 PM   Subscribe

I need to do a 30 minute presentation at a meeting next week, and I need the info I'm giving to stick hard. In your experience, what hands on activities/contests/ etc. have been effective for you or your co-workers? Somewhat wacky (possibly very boring) work details inside...

I work in a very large, unique retail setting and am in charge of a somewhat unpopular initiative to take prices off of most items we sell and replace them with a signage program. So far, the bulk of the responsibility of this change out has fallen upon our visual merchandisers who, before I started in my position, were handed a couple dozen signage hardware pieces and pretty much left to their own devices. Training books are in the works and I've worked with many of them individually as well. Some of them get it and some are...well...resistant at best.

Next week we will be gathering these 40 or so individuals together and I will have 30 minutes to do my best to train them on things they may or may not have already have figured out. Some background on the people I will be presenting to: mostly female, 20's to 50's, varying attention spans and, uh...grasp of material. Also, varying willingness to participate.

Besides the obligatory Power Point I'm working on (it will be short but sweet!), what hands on activities can I do with this large group that involves the hardware pieces they need to be working with? The only thing we have come up with so far is a "What is wrong with this picture" sort of contest and that's just not going to cut it!
posted by couchtater to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if this is what you have in mind, but I've integrated a bingo game into a ppt. All the cards need to be different (yes, it's work), so everyone wouldn't get bingo at the same time. I offered a lot of prizes for different bingo-type wins (x's, blackout, across, down, four corners,etc...small prizes, nothing expensive, candy, coffee samples, and silly, gag-type gifts if there was an obvious connection). The bingo 'answers' appeared in the ppt, with the questions were on the cards. Some of the 'answers' were only in my spoken presentation, so people had to pay attention. Once people knew there were prizes it got fun for them, and they learned what they needed to learn.

posted by faineant at 8:07 PM on August 31, 2010

Set up a few sample displays as they are now. Provide the materials they'll get for the floor.

Break them into teams, they race to update the displays.

Whichever team updates the display correctly first gets cake.
posted by Ookseer at 8:29 PM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: Silly games do not win over the unwilling. They do not want to feel like they are in kindergarten. I would treat them like professionals. They have had these materials for some time, right? How about asking them their experiences and what best practices they have discovered so far? Of course, you're going to want some uniformity in what the outcome looks like, but there is no harm in letting the ones with good ideas share tips with the others, as long as you keep it in the realm of 'allowed by corporate.'

Your outline would look like this:
who the hell are you?
why are you here?
What is management's vision of how they want things to look?
WHY is the store taking prices off of items. What is the benefit?
Acknowledge drawbacks. Stress benefits again.
Acknowledge the not-optional nature of the plan.
Given the not-optional framework, ask for ideas for working within that. Have some example materials available for 'hands-on' explainers. Take notes, with a pencil, so people think you're listening and not just letting them vent.

You might want more than a half-hour. That sounds more like an hour to me.
posted by ctmf at 9:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

I agree with almost everything ctmf says above, but I think you should figure out how to do it in 15 minutes, then give them a 15 minute break.
posted by Gilbert at 9:52 PM on August 31, 2010

Teaching kids in a language they barely understand, I can give you a good tip: Don't just walk in and START THE PRESENTATION. Hook them with something interesting.

This week I started a lesson on past-tense verbs with photos of my vacation in the USA. When explaining the photos, I used past-tense verbs. Later, I recapped the reason. Give them a reason to be interested when you start.

I hatehatehtaehate ice breakers and that whole genre of WACKY FUN GET TO KNOW YOU game. Break them into groups- It helps dilute the embarrassment and the pressure of participation and gives them a chance to commiserate etc.
posted by GilloD at 11:06 PM on August 31, 2010

I work in a very large, unique retail setting and am in charge of a somewhat unpopular initiative to take prices off of most items we sell and replace them with a signage program.

Get back to this on this, and let's all be fair and all that . . . but is it not true that you job is to screw over "your team" in thirty minutes? Because if that's the case, just put together a dishonest Powerpoint and be done with it, and fire the salespeople who resist in a way that allows them to collect unemployment insurance as soon and as humanely as possible.
posted by gum at 12:12 AM on September 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for the ideas Mefites- almost all of these have been helpful in turning the mind wheels!

Gum - you sound pretty bitter. Just for the record, no I cannot fire anyone and no, I'm not attempting to screw my team over. Thanks anyway.
posted by couchtater at 11:13 PM on September 1, 2010

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