Are you destroying the success of your activities by the words you use to introduce them?
I watched a facilitator introduce a fairly simple circle activity to a group
during a conference. While asking for 20 or so volunteers from a group of
around 30, he assured the prospective players that ‘you won’t be ridiculed’
by participating. To me that seemed to betray his lack of confidence in the
enterprise. No one was thinking of ridicule until he mentioned it. And he
said it again a few moments later, just in case we’d missed it the first
Not surprisingly, it took him a long time to get enough participants. And
when he did, the game was fine, enjoyed and useful. So no major damage
done. Except to reinforce the idea that participating in games and
activities can be ridiculous. Which is of course true. But if it’s not the
case for the activity you are introducing – and I hope it isn’t – then it
will server everybody better to mention one of the other many true things
about participating in activities. For example, that this will be an
opportunity to explore today’s theme, to learn something interesting, or to
get some movement into your limbs.
Mention what’s attractive, rather than giving people an unhelpful idea or
reminding them of their possible prejudice that the experience could be
What negative language can you cut out and replace with words that indicate
a good time is about to occur?
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