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Presentation Skills Icebreakers and Short Exercises


Presentation skills are an everyday requirement and the ability to present information clearly and effectively is key to getting your message across. Participants will discover that delivering an inspirational or captivating presentation requires a lot of planning and preparation.

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Document TitleDuration
(mins)
   
Art Gallery - Creating a Visual Representation
40
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Art Gallery - Creating a Visual Representation

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explore a particular concept, idea or problem, in an enjoyable way.
• To develop shared understanding of the concept, idea or problem.
• To identify areas of uncertainty or misunderstanding.
• To identify lack of knowledge, which the facilitator can address in the rest of the session.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Coloured stickers or shapes (see note).

Notes:
There is a variant version to this ice breaker which entails asking participants to prepare a collage from the materials you have for them rather than just a drawing. Instructions, timing etc for the variant version are included in brackets in the text. Whether you choose to use them will depend mainly on how much time you are able to allow.

For this exercise you will need:

Basic version:
Flipchart paper, coloured pens and coloured stickers or shapes.

Variation:
As above, plus a collection of old magazines, journals, postcards, birthday cards or similar, scissors and glue pens.

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Course Introduction - A Basic Introduction to Training Events
45
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Course Introduction - A Basic Introduction to Training Events

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To welcome the participants.
• To introduce the facilitator(s) and participants to each other.
• To introduce the facilities.
• To agree the course objectives and timetable.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This initial introductory module allows the facilitator to find out more about the participants, to understand their expectations and to match them as closely as possible to the course objectives. By getting participant agreement at the start of the course, boundaries are set for what will and will not be covered. Where necessary the facilitator will be able to change or alter activities that will not meet participants' requirements or to spend more time on those that will. The objectives and expectations can then be reviewed at the end of the day.

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Hopes and Fears - Establishing Aims and Objectives
45
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Hopes and Fears - Establishing Aims and Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To establish participants’ worries about the training they’re attending.
• To identify what participants are hoping for in the training.
• To help establish/develop some objectives and ground rules for the training.
• To encourage an atmosphere of empathy and mutual support.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• A hat or other receptacle.
Hats can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
This can be a really useful introduction to training that participants might be worried about. A typical example is presentation skills, where participants are often worried about having to make a presentation to fellow participants.

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Horror and Happy Ever After Stories - Sharing Experiences
30
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Horror and Happy Ever After Stories - Sharing Experiences

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To provide an opportunity for participants to share good and bad experiences.
• To gather real-life examples that can be referred to throughout the training.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
Our thanks to Buffy Sparks for her help in writing this icebreaker.

This exercise can be adapted to training on almost any topic, including, for example, sales, performance management, negotiation, change.

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I Am Feeling... - Sharing Feelings and Positive Thinking
20
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I Am Feeling... - Sharing Feelings and Positive Thinking

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To identify how participants are feeling.
• To encourage participants to recognise that they are not alone, and that their feelings are shared by others in the group.
• To encourage participants to focus on how they want to feel.
• To encourage participants to think positively, and ‘anchor’ their positive feelings.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This simple icebreaker can be used as an introduction to any training, but is perhaps most useful when you expect participants to feel nervous about what they are going to be asked to do.

So, for example, it can be particularly useful as an introduction to Presentation Skills training, Train the Trainer training or Interviewing Skills training, where you’ll be asking participants to practise their skills in front of their colleagues.

The inspiration for this exercise came from Lorraine Hatton-Dow at Manchester United PLC, who uses a similar approach, combined with music, in her training courses.

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Little Known Facts - Matching the Facts to the Participant
15
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Little Known Facts - Matching the Facts to the Participant

Time:
This exercise will take about 10 minutes to complete (longer for large groups). In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to share information in a fun, lively and non-threatening way.
• To help participants get to know more about one another and identify some common ground/points of interest for them to use when working together.
• To inject energy and movement into the start of the day.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants. Whilst it could conceivably be used for much larger groups, it would require much more time, or slight adaption.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels. It can be used with people who don't know one another at all, or who have met/worked together previously.

You'll Need:
A set of pens of the same colour and style - one for each participant. A set of cards (e.g., blank index cards) or slips of paper - six per participant. (The cards/pieces of paper must all be the same size.)

Notes:
This icebreaker works best when there are at least six participants, in order to ensure there are sufficient responses to make it challenging.

This icebreaker works particularly well as an introduction to communication skills, presentation skills and interpersonal skills courses. It is useful where participants are going to be working together in small group activities (pairs/threes etc.) during the course as it helps people to get to know informal/fun facts about one another, which can help them relate to one another more quickly.

It can be used after more formal introductions have been completed.

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Metaphor - Aims and Objectives
30
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Metaphor - Aims and Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To identify how participants are feeling.
• To explore their thoughts, fears and concerns in a comfortable way.
• To establish learning objectives for the course or programme.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This icebreaker can be useful for putting participants at ease. It provides a tool through which participants can highlight concerns and areas for personal development in a non-threatening and potentially humorous way. It is particularly useful when training around areas that participants may feel uncomfortable about or which they may find challenging.

The use of the metaphor makes it easier for participants to discuss their own development needs and any challenges that they face.

Depending on the subject matter, it is also possible to use the metaphor as a theme for the course or programme. Course handouts and other materials can be branded and themed around the metaphor that is used.

You will need to spend some time in advance of the session choosing a suitable metaphor for the topic(s) to be covered in the training.

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My Picture Says... - Identifying Values and/or Objectives
30
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My Picture Says... - Identifying Values and/or Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 20 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To provide an opportunity for participants to learn something about each other.
• To help participants learn more about each other’s values and motivators.
Or
• To help participants identify group and individual objectives for the course/workshop they’re attending.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to about 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For Version1:
A selection of images, each printed on to an A4 sheet of paper. The images could be very varied and include, for example, abstract images, landscapes, animals, people and holiday scenes.

For Version 2:
A selection of images from Trainers’ Images (or a similar resource) that could be used to illustrate particular challenges, behaviours or problems that might be relevant to the participants.

Notes:
The time needed for this exercise will be influenced by the number of participants in your group. Allow 5 minutes for the initial exercise and 2 minutes for each participant to explain their choice.

We’d like to thank Nicki Davey of Saltbox Training and Events (www.salt-box.co.uk) for the idea for this icebreaker.

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One Man Brand - How Images Add Impact
30
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One Man Brand - How Images Add Impact

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 30 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 35 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To help participants get to know each other.
• To encourage participants to think about their personal ‘brand’.
• To encourage participants to think about how images can communicate more than words and can make communication more powerful.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Anyone, but particularly perhaps those involved in marketing and/or presentations.

You'll Need:
2 name tags or name cards for each participant. (Or one sheet of A4 paper for each participant.)

Notes:
If using this icebreaker in very large groups ask participants to work in small teams and introduce themselves to those team members rather than the whole group.

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Pass the Baton - Sharing Positive and Negative Experiences
30
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Pass the Baton - Sharing Positive and Negative Experiences

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to share good and bad experiences relevant to the subject of your course/workshop.
• To help identify issues related to the topic.
• To help participants identify key learning objectives for the course/workshop.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For this exercise you will need a baton, or two. (Two is nice, because you can have a red one for the negative experiences and a green one for the positives). You can make a baton out of rolled up paper, or alternatively, for a fun twist, you might like to replace your batons with sticks of rock (candy), with the 'winner' from each round keeping the rock as a prize.

Notes:
This is a simple, fun exercise that really does encourage participants to disclose information about difficult situations they may have faced that are relevant to the course/workshop you are facilitating. It also enables positive experiences to be shared.

The icebreaker can be adapted to almost any topic, including for example, customer service, appraisals, negotiation skills and recruitment.

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Postcard Review - Post-Training Review
15
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Postcard Review - Post-Training Review

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To provide a memorable review of training participants have received.
• To remind participants of key learning points or action points from a course or workshop.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
A selection of picture postcards - one postcard per participant, and a few spare ones.

Select postcards with a variety of images: Countryside, coastal, historic buildings, modes of transport, animals etc.

Notes:
This exercise was developed from an idea submitted by Barbara Buffton. Barbara Buffton is an international training consultant, performance coach and published author. Much of her experience (and her clients keep coming back for more) is with large multi-national companies. She has had four books published, including The Which? Guide to Choosing a Career (1998).

Her most recent book, Follow Your Dream, is available from http://www.bookshaker.com/product_info.php?products_id=134

Contact Barbara on info@bbassociates.freeserve.co.uk

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Presentation Skills - Icebreaker
40
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Presentation Skills - Icebreaker

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to start thinking about what makes an effective presentation.
• To identify the things to avoid in presentations.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

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Sweet Review - A Simple Review/Preview Exercise
20
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Sweet Review - A Simple Review/Preview Exercise

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to review learning.
• To encourage transfer and personal application of learning.
• To check understanding.
• To agree any changes to a training agenda.
• To check that participants’ objectives are being met.

Group Sizes:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to about 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For this exercise you will need sweets of various colours – enough sweets for each person to take at least two. Avoid using nut-based sweets (e.g., Peanut M&Ms) due to the risk of allergy.

Notes:
This exercise provides a simple, fun and totally random way of reviewing learning or setting up any desired outcomes for the day ahead.

Prior to the exercise you will need to devise a different question/request for each sweet colour you have.

For example, for a review, you might use:
• Red: Tell me what was your most useful learning point from the course.
• Yellow: What one thing will you do differently as a result of being here?
• Green: Who else will you need to share your learning or ideas with for it to be successful?
• Brown: What action are you going to take tomorrow as a result of your attendance on this course?

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The Winning Post - Celebrating Goals and Objectives
30
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The Winning Post - Celebrating Goals and Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To assess progress against programme and personal objectives.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to reflect upon the impact of the training so far.
• To focus on achievement in a fun way.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• Coloured clay or Plasticine (available to buy from Trainers' Market).
• Wet wipes.
• A camera is nice but not essential.

Notes:
This exercise is designed to be used as an energiser and to assess participants’ feelings and sense of progress in a creative and enjoyable way. It is especially suited to open-minded, creative groups and is useful on training and development programmes where participants attend over a series of separate days.

The exercise is also easily adapted for use as an icebreaker, or as part of the review process.

For the exercise you will need a selection of pots or packs of coloured modelling clay or plasticine. We also recommend that you provide wet wipes for your participants, who may get a bit messy.

If available, a camera can be used to record the results.

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