A guest post by Ayush Mittal, a Leadership Certificate Series facilitator for Discovery Leadership.
Being a facilitator is a lot like being in on a secret with your friend and then slowly revealing it to a larger group of friends. Now when I say that I mean it in the nicest way possible, and you may be asking yourself if this sort of setup is immoral or if facilitators are lying to their groups by withholding some information at the start. As skeptical as I was of the entire process, I came to understand that this method of activity-based learning can be one of the best ways through which participants gain memorable insights and experiences from workshops.
To start off with a description of the workshop I facilitate, Discovery Leadership is directed at those seeking an initial exposure to the world of leadership. Each week’s activities can be seen as a module in itself representing an underlying theme important to the principles of Discovery. One such week’s theme is communication, during which a game called “Around the World” is played. Participants are told they will be going on a trip around the world and are asked to contribute something which they would like to bring. Unbeknownst to them, there are right and wrong answers to items that they may bring, as vetted by the facilitators who are in the know. At the beginning of the activity, almost no one has the correct answer for what to bring, and the whole group is befuddled as to what type of thing is best. Is it food? Shoes? Non Perishables? Etc. Eventually by sheer coincidence someone decides to bring an item starting with the letter W. Suddenly there is a lead and the participants mop up any doubt they had about the no go list. As more participants become in the know they are skipped to give others a chance to figure it out until we have gone around the world as a group. If you haven’t already guessed the objective is to spell WORLD with the items the group brings.
As corny as this little game can seem, when one is actually doing it, the results of whether or not they figure it out actually matters. During the debrief, participants are given perspective into the intricacies of communication and what misunderstanding can lead to, both here in the workshop and elsewhere in the larger world. It is with this activity and many more in mind that I see workshop activities as a sort of game, one which allows participants to have an A HA! Moment and a fun memorable experience for all.