Monday, June 14, 2010

Ten Points to Gryffindor: Using Team Points to Motivate Trainees

Anyone who has smallish children, or (ehhem) is like me and occasionally reads young adult fiction, is probably familiar with Harry Potter and, consequently, the world of Hogwarts (School of Witchcraft and Wizardry).

In the books and movies, the instructors at Hogwarts use point systems throughout the year as both an incentive for good behavior/academics and a deterrent for bad behavior. At the end of the year, the house with the most points gets the cup.

We could take a lesson from Hogwarts. But how does this apply to training? Well, team points can be incredibly motivating in a training session. They can be used to:
  • Reward "good" behavior (i.e. on-time attendance)
  • Encourage participation
  • Reinforce correct answers
  • Engage trainees as individuals and teams
Even if trainees don't know each other, and even if the "prize" at the end of the session is insignificant (or if there is no prize), competition still adds an element of fun and responsibility to a training session that might not otherwise be there.

Game shows: Game shows are a great way for teams to earn points in a team competition. You can either add a single game to a training session, or have a game that runs throughout the day (previewing information, reviewing information, teaching information, etc). You can use the same format in different rounds (i.e. Multiple matches of a Jeopardy-style game) or you can use different game formats. Game shows can even be structured in tournament style to make them an event within the training.

Knowledge Bucks: A great way to keep individuals engaged and participating in a less structured session is "Monopoly money" or Knowledge Bucks. This funny-money can be given out when individuals respond to a question, arrive on time, etc. Team members can put them in a designated box, and they are added to the team's total score. These can be tallied during breaks.

Energizers: Have the teams organize a post-lunch cheer, with the most creative, on-point and well-executed cheer receiving the most points. Have a paper-toss where members write questions on paper, crumple them up and toss them around until a designated time period passes and one person from each team must answer the question in their hand--for a certain number of points a piece. Activities like this both contribute to the energy of the room and the team competition.

Leader Board: Have a leader board that shows the tally of team scores for all activities--game shows, knowledge bucks, team cheers, etc. Update it at breaks so teams can see where they stand and to stoke a little competition. This doesn't have to be anything fancy--a grid on a white board or a PowerPoint slide will do nicely.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Game Shows at the Trade Show: Drawing a Crowd

Most of our clients and customers use game shows in their training programs. They're ideal for this; increasing content retention and enabling trainers to review, preview and present information in an incredibly engaging format.

However, as we've collected many, many stories and anecdotes from customers, we've discovered some alternate uses outside of the training department. As it turns out, some sales departments use game shows to promote their products to interested parties. Also, marketing teams are deploying game shows on the floor of trade shows.

Having used game shows at trade shows before (the screen cap in this post is from a custom game we designed for Mystic Tan), we can attest to the power of the medium. Game shows:

Attract a crowd: Whether a few people out of a crowd are playing along or everyone in your booth audience is playing along using keypads, game shows naturally attract an audience. Not only do people want to see whether others succeed or not, but they want to test their own knowledge (to see if they're "smarter than the player"--so to speak).

Engage people with your content: Game shows are a great way to uncover "ah-ha!" moments with your product or company by showcasing unique features/benefits in the form of a question. You can use specific content, (i.e. Which of the following is a new product feature, etc.) or general content to drive interest around a topic (i.e. As you see in the screen capture above--the question is tangentially related to tanning, but doesn't cover Mystic Tan's specific product line), or a mixture of both.

Can direct conversations: Game shows can direct meaningful trade show conversations in several ways:
  • Booth personnel can listen to a game show round and then follow up with more information while attendees' attention is piqued (i.e. Yes, the new product has this feature...and did you know it allows you to do x, y and z as well?).
  • Using audience response pads, you can measure what parts of the audience have knowledge gaps and incorporate survey questions to gauge the level of interest in particular topics or products.

Get people to spend more time at a booth: Game shows not only draw a crowd, but we've seen people who won't stop for a free tchotchke or engage with booth personnel spend large chunks of time at a booth when a game show is involved. And that's more opportunity to get qualified leads!