Business training programs are known for being cold, lifeless experiences.
Whether it's an off-site seminar or a mandatory, in-house refresher course, it's difficult to find employees who are fired up about training programs. And who can blame them? Most training opportunities simply dump content on participants without little attention to presentation and engagement.
Business training games can be effective tools for spicing up your company's training events. Although it can't all be fun and games, a few strategically placed games can reinforce training content and invite participants to more fully engage with the learning process. If the concept of incorporating games into training events is new to you, here are a handful of game ideas to get you started.
Breaking the ice is always tricky. But it's especially challenging in a business seminar full of participants who don't know each other. To encourage peer engagement, some seminar leaders like to begin with Human Bingo, a game in which each participant is given a sheet of paper that looks like a Bingo board. But instead of numbers, each grid space contains a generic (but quirky) life event, e.g. "Grew up in Minnesota." Participants must then go around the room, introduce themselves, and find people who complete their Bingo card.
Many trainers like to incorporate ordinary game elements into the training process. In the hands of a skilled trainer, an ordinary playground ball can become a valuable teaching device. Trainers should be encouraged to experiment with common playground resources to reinforce training content and encourage participant engagement.
In "Thinking Hats", participants choose from several different colored hats, each color representing a different way to approach a problem. After dividing the group into teams, each team member talks about how they would approach a given problem, from the perspective designated by the color of their hat. If the exercise works well, consider giving the group a different problem and ask group members to exchange their hat for another color.
To reinforce the learnings from a training program, ask participants to write the main point they learned from seminar, pair up with a partner, and try to convince the other person that their point is the right one. The pair then goes against another pair with the same conditions. Eventually, the room will be divided into two teams and consensus will emerge about the takeaways of the training experience.