Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simply Having a Wonderful Game Show Time

Here's an idea: A Virtual Holiday Party.

We all want to connect with our family, friends, co-workers and other loved ones over the holiday season. (Or at least some of the above.) However, distance, travel, time and budget often prohibit us from having everyone we want come to the holiday festivities.

Recently, we attended a virtual holiday party held by speaker/author/trainer/guru/wonderwoman Lou Russell. Since she couldn't get all her friends, clients and co-conspirators together, she hosted the party online.

Of course, the question comes up: how does one create a party atmosphere in a virtual environment?

Interact-interact-interact! Lou hosted a variety of party games. Using collaborative webinar technology, attendees could decorate a Christmas tree, play the dreidel game, list thoughts of community and family for Kwanzaa--and even play a holiday trivia smackdown (including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Festivus questions)!

The latter was played using AllPlay Web--our software that lets you create and play game shows in a real-time webinar environment. The webinar audience (of about 100) was divided into two teams--the elves and the reindeer. Each person had a virtual keypad on their desktop that allowed them to answer the game questions. The reindeer triumphed in the end (despite a valiant effort from the elves), but everyone interacted and had a festive holiday competition.

The virtual holiday party was a fabulous idea for getting everyone together. In fact... hmm... we might "borrow" that idea for next year. :)

If you want to get a taste of the holiday competition, you can play our QuizPoint holiday game--using many of the same questions that were played during the virtual party. Just click here and good luck!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

You're Using a Game Show for THAT?!

When we talk to customers, we're always surprised at the broad range of content/material they incorporate into the game shows.

We were even more surprised as we uncovered that some trainers were using game shows to cover very traditionally sensitive/serious topics: sexual harassment, diversity training, etc. Topics where one wouldn't normally see people cheering, or --heaven forbid-- having fun.

I asked one trainer--a coordinator for student living on a college campus--why they were using game shows to train students on recognizing and reporting sexual assault. This was his response: "The subject is very serious and VERY important. However, we need to have an open dialog about it, and playing the game show diffuses the tension inherent in the room. People feel more open."

Here are some of the reasons why playing a game show with sensitive subject matter can be beneficial:

Your content is serious, but YOU don't have to be. Just because the content is serious, doesn't mean you have to take yourself seriously. It's okay to have fun--even in sensitive situations. Obviously, one doesn't want to be irreverent to the point of offensiveness--and pre-framing so that the content isn't trivialized is important--but adding competition to engage the audience is no crime.

The more important the subject, the more important the retention. It's critically important that employees know how to recognize harassment in the workplace. If the training is not engaging, they're less likely to remember the content. Game shows are a proven strategy for increasing attention and retention. Even though the content is serious, having a dry, non-engaging training session may jeopardize the content itself.

Games diffuse tension. No one likes to talk about personnel issues, for instance, but sometimes an open dialog is absolutely necessary. The friendly competition of playing a game breaks the ice and diffuses the tension in the room; allowing a trainer to segue into a deeper discussion.