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Ask Us!

Let us help you choose the right products -- for you!

If you've come to visit our site but aren't quite sure of what you need, we'd love to help. These suggestions might get you started.

(Of course, we'd always welcome your call as well!)

I need to run an annual meeting/Board meeting. What do you suggest?

Create an agenda and stick to it.  Time Timers give a great visual display of time elapsing and it can help you stay focused and stick to your agenda.

Build relationships – Taking a moment to help people get to know each other will put people at ease and make it easier for them to contribute. If people don’t know each other, be sure to set out Name Tents.   Thumballs are fun, quick, icebreakers – create your own, or find one ready-made to get people talking.

Create a relaxed but focused environment –Use Fidget Toys to help your group stay focused on the meeting, not on their personal devices. The Meeting Room set is a good choice because it looks professional, but you could also choose your own items a la carte.

Take notes that everyone can see – Use a Flip Chart or Tabletop Whiteboard depending on the size of the group. Don’t forget your markers! Portable Whiteboards and Whiteboard Paints are also good choices.

Improve participation and discuss next steps -Start-stop-continue-change Sticky Notes allow meeting participants to write down what they plan to do. When they write it down, they’re more likely to follow through.

Discuss priorities – TUIT Tokens are a great prop if you need to discuss priorities, underscoring the need to stop procrastinating until you “get around to it.”

Think. Pair. Share. To generate new ideas, have people write their own thoughts, share them with a colleague, then post them. By using Super-Sized Sticky Notes, your participants can easily see what others have written and they can be easily sorted.

TIP: Consider your content. You might want something in particular to build your team, discuss company values, communication, diversity, or leadership.

How can I make my meeting worthwhile, meaningful, and fun?

The first thing to determine is how many people you have, because recommendations will vary if you have a large group or a smaller one. For recommendations based on meeting size, these resources might be helpful: 
LARGE MEETING * SMALL MEETING * MEDIUM-SIZED MEETING

Start with a thought-provoking opener – Ease in to the meeting with a quick 5-minute opener that lets you check in with the group. View Changer Cards are a good choice, providing 53 stunning photos of nature, combined with thought-provoking questions to inspire reflection, conversation, team-building, and relaxation. Here are some more "Chat Packs" as well.

Get people’s attention - Chimes will help you gather people after a break or breakout.

Create an agenda and stick to it – if your group tends to get sidetracked, Time Timers create a strong visual of time elapsing, so you can stay on schedule.

Build relationships – Taking a moment to help people get to know each other will put people at ease and make it easier for them to contribute. If people don’t know each other, be sure to set out Name Tents. Thumballs are fun, quick, icebreakers – create your own, or find one ready-made to get people talking.

Create a relaxed but focused environment –Use Fidget Toys to help your group stay focused on the meeting, not on their personal devices. The Meeting Room Set is a good choice because it looks professional, but you can also select your favorite items a la carte.

Only invite people who need to attend the meeting and let them participate. Game Buzzers can make participation more game-like, but if you want to hear from everyone, Quick Response Boards let everyone write an answer and show it at the same time. It’s a quick way to poll your group AND get substantive feedback. Meeting Chips are also fun to let people quickly weigh in with a response.

Leave with clear action items – Before they leave, get participants to think about, discuss, and commit to next steps. Start-stop-continue-change Sticky Notes or What? So What? Now What Sticky Notes are great tools for this.

TIP: Consider your content. You might want something in particular to build your team, discuss company values, communication, diversity, or leadership. If so, we can drill down to more solutions for those particular needs.

 

How can I put people at ease?

Welcome people as they come in – Even before the event officially begins, say hello and introduce yourself to people coming into the room.

Start with an inspirational video – YouTube is a great source of material. These Motivational video-book combos also have strong, memorable messages.

Create a playful, welcoming environment – Put a bunch of fidget toys on the table. They make a strong visual impression and functionally help people relax as well.

Break bread together – If you don’t have an opportunity to share a meal or a snack, even offering a mint can put people at ease.

Let them know you appreciate them – Take time to notice and to thank people for the effort they put out. Verbal recognition goes a long way, but you can also jot a quick KUDOS note, or hand them a Token of Appreciation.

 

How can I help people get to know each other?

Find an icebreaker – Be aware that some people hate icebreakers. Instead of making them feel safe, icebreakers cause them stress. So, make sure you explain your reason for conducting the exercise and give shy participants an easy out. Some of our favorite icebreaker resources are: Big Book of Icebreakers; The Best Icebreakers & Teambuilding Exercises book; and a synopsis of free icebreakers shared on LinkedIN.

Use tried-and-true discussion prompts – to help participants break down barriers, explore goals, and get to the heart of topics that matter in a playful manner.

Use a Thumball, pre-printed with effective questions prompts. Select the version that best matches your needs:

Session Openers: Questions about goals, motivations, and aspirations
Getting to Know You: Probing questions that get to your phobias, wishes, and favorite moments
Icebreaker: Questions about food, movies, favorites, etc.
Which are You and Why: Pick between two opposing words or explain where you are on the continuum
Be a Leader: Discuss leadership traits and opportunities for team development
Shaped by Our Past: Discuss past experiences to understand what makes your group tick
What if…: Discuss what you’d do if you faced one of these possible or implausible situations


Give them an opportunity to creatively express themselves – Using Dry-erase Name Tents is a nice touch because people can write on the nickname they prefer to be called and can illustrate the card with a personal icon. Community Puzzle is another great choice for creative expression as the mosaic created when you put all the pieces together is often quite stunning—they can learn more about each other as individuals and see how they contribute to the whole.

Make personal introductions – There’s nothing like a personal introduction to make someone feel connected. To take it one step further or make conversation with new people easier, use an ExpressPack (a deck of photographic images) and ask them to pick a card that reflects an interest or how they feel. Use the images to help get the conversation started.

Do something together – Sometimes making conversation can be hard. In such cases, doing an activity together can help people bond (think of guys fishing, going to games or playing golf). Task the group with solving some brainteasers, invite them to build a Community Sculpture, or color together on a huge Coloring Poster.

How should I break up a long presentation?

Because people can’t focus very well for longer than 20 minutes and because we remember best material that is presented first and last, taking breaks is critical to a presentation. 

Take a quick energy break. Pause your presentation and invite the group to stand up, stretch or turn in three rotations, then sit back down.

Have everyone do something physical. Toss out the Move your Body Thumball, have the recipient read the prompt under their thumb for the whole group to do. Or grab an exercise card from the FitDeck for the group.

Introduce a brain break. Insert a brain teaser into the middle of your slides or presentation deck. If you want some that have already been created, download Every 20 Minutes.

How can I get people to participate in meetings and training?

Make it a game – Jump on the gamification bandwagon. Research says that people are more likely to do something if you make it a game. Reward participation by distributing a customized scratch ticket, created with Scratch 'n See. Or, give those who made a great contribution a spin of a Dry-Erase Prize Wheel.

Give everyone the time and means to answer your question – If you ask a question and solicit an answer only from those that raise their hand, everyone else will stop thinking. Instead, have everyone think about their answer simultaneously, write it on a Quick Response board (available in white or neon colors), then show the answer.

Jot 'n Trot – Have your group write answers to your questions on giant sticky notes, then post them onto a board for all to see, or use a ThinkBoard

Poll your group – using an app like PollEverywhere can help you get an instant read on everyone in your group. This is a great solution for multiple choice questions. This is pretty easy to do – you just pay a monthly fee and people use their phones to log their votes. If you’re doing lots of polling you might want to invest in polling clickers like Meridia Remotes, which let you synthesize and save results.

Think Pair Share – for many, sharing ideas in front of a big group is an unpleasant experience. You will help these folks out if you have them work in pairs or small groups to gather their ideas and test them out with a smaller audience, then pick a presenter to share. If your “small groups” have 5 or more people, you might want to use a Tabletop Whiteboard so that everyone can see what notes have been taken.

How do we build a shared vision and get our group on the same page?

Share best practices using tried-and-true discussion prompts – Using the discussion prompts on our Thumballs, you can explore topics of Stress Management, Leadership, Team Dynamics, Diversity, Communication, and Customer Service.

Facilitate a group conversation using a consultant-style framework – if you don’t have the budget for a consultant-led planning session, you can use a template developed by strategic planning experts. Road To There is a four-step process that helps groups identify where they want to be, where they are now, anticipated roadblocks, and the means to get there. Vision Tree is a tool that helps groups explore their root values, stabilizing mission, expected bugs (obstacles), and anticipated fruit (goals or outcomes).

Play first; then analyze and apply learning – the reason teambuilding games are so popular is because they separate people from their day-to-day challenges and build a new experience that they can break down, discuss and evaluate without feeling threatened. Then they can relate their observations and learning to their current work.

Use discussion decks to dive into meaningful conversations -- we’ve found a slew of discussion decks that help organizations delve into key challenges and opportunities. With a deck of visual images, participants can identify images or situations that reflect their current situation and use that as a vehicle to discuss solutions. Popular decks include Images of Organizations, Change by Design Card Deck, Photo Jolts, etc.

How should I choose a teambuilding game?

See Infographic!

RAISE AWARENESS of ISSUES, STYLES & ROLES

Helium StickTeams try to lower a really lightweight pole without anyone’s finger leaving the pole. Seems easy, but the pole tends to go up, not down. How do teams get in sync?
Team Dynamics ThumballDiscuss the dynamics and interactions of your team. Whoever catches the ball responds to the prompt under their thumb: how do you support each other? show appreciation? gain commitment? build trust? treat mistakes? manage disagreements? 
Marshmallow ChallengePopularized by Tom Wujec, who presented a TED Talk on the subject, the challenge is to build the tallest possible free-standing structure, which will support one marshmallow on the top, using 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape and one yard of string.
Style Play Cards 12 quick, energizing games that build awareness of 4 distinct personality styles and let players practice interacting with people of other styles.
Leadership Game - Uncover key aspects of leadership. The 115-card deck includes 75 leadership qualities covering values, goals and results, managing yourself and others, and decision-making, plus 40 inspiring images. 
Challenging Assumptionsraise awareness of preconceptions as small groups work to assemble a seemingly simple puzzle. They start by turning all the pieces face up and there the learning begins.

BRING TEAMS TOGETHER

TALK ABOUT OUR DYNAMICS

Get to Know Each Other --Thumballs are a great way to discover things about other people. A variety of these balls are suitable for work environments. They’re fun, active, and not intimidating at all!
Team Dynamics ThumballDiscuss the dynamics and interactions of your team. Whoever catches the ball responds to the prompt under their thumb: how do you support each other? show appreciation? gain commitment? build trust? treat mistakes? manage disagreements? 
Quotations Game - Use quotations to inspire, promote conversation and begin discussions. On the face side of each card is a quote; on the back, a question which is linked to it. 144 cards cover leadership, communication, giving meaning, change, personal development and relationships.
Values Game -- Discuss personal values and group norms with this 140-card game. Helps teams become more aware of what they aspire to, appreciate others’ perspectives, and reach consensus.
Images of Organizations - The 16 images in this unique pack present a variety of work environments (both positive and frustrating) and will help your group talk openly about difficult topics.

PROBLEM SOLVE TOGETHER

Murder Mystery Each card in this deck contains one clue. Without writing anything down or sharing their clues, teams need to sort out the logic puzzle and find the victim, murder weapon, time place and motive.
Marshmallow ChallengePopularized by Tom Wujec, who presented a TED Talk on the subject, the challenge is to build the tallest possible free-standing structure, which will support one marshmallow on the top, using 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape and one yard of string.
Seeing the Point: This puzzle challenges teams to do more with less. Each is given a set of 7 pieces and asked to create 5 uniform shapes. Creating four of these shapes is easy, but making the fifth takes creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and alignment of resources.
River Crossing:  In this one, the experience of trying to get your group across the river mirrors the challenge of a group working toward a shared goal. As participants move into the river, their perspective changes, they can’t see obstacles, but need to figure out how to move forward.
Perfect Square: For practicing leadership and consensus building, this challenge requires teams to form their 60-foot rope into a perfect square—blindfolded. Generates great discussions about interdependence, communication, leadership and more.
Search and Rescue—Let teams experience the power of teamwork and benefits of interdependence as they work together to guide the rescue plane from landing pad to landing pad using three guiding ropes.

Toobeez – a giant construction kit with oodles of exercises that will let you focus on creative problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills. Build your own exercise or use one of the Toobeez Activity Guide (sold separately).

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Huddle Deck – Use these 60 discussion prompts spark conversation and build mutual understanding, start meetings, alleviate stress, or identify perceptions and misperceptions.
LIVE a Life Less Ordinary -- A board game that helps you learn what makes your colleagues tick. After the game you’ll know and appreciate them at a deeper level.
Ups & Downs Card Deck -- This card deck feature a little pink fellow who lives the whole gamut of experiences and emotions out on the water, in an absurdly inadequate vessel, a bathtub. The range of scenarios presented on the cards reflects common workplace experiences and dynamics.
Strengths to Max Card Deck – Build understanding of one another’s strengths. This deck illustrates many character traits typically perceived as strengths, and others often seen as deficits. Have a rich conversation about the balance of strengths needed for a well-rounded team. 
Stones have Feelings Too Card Deck – A great tool to explore and discuss Emotional Intelligence, and build emotional literacy. Each card in this set features an expressive image of a stone on one side, and three words on the reverse, which describe the emotion.
View Changer Cards -- Ideal for coaching and conversation, this deck inspires reflection,, discussion, and relaxation. Each of the 53 stunning photos is matched with a thought-provoking question on the back.

BUILD SKILLS


LISTENING

Murder Mystery Each card in this deck contains one clue. Without writing anything down or sharing their clues, teams need to sort out the logic puzzle and find the victim, murder weapon, time place and motive.
WorkstationsLike Murder Mystery, each card contains one piece of information. Without trading cards or writing anything down, team members must share information verbally in order to solve a logic puzzle.


PROCESS IMPROVEMENT


Pass the Chicken teams pass around a bunch of squawking animals quickly and efficiently in 4 rounds, during which teams try to improve their process and efficiency despite increasing complexity.
What Goes Around Comes Around –  explore the challenges of shared responsibility and the critical importance of making incremental improvements in process.  Participants must pass a huge ball from person to person in record time, even when additional challenges are thrown their way.

“CO-OPETITION” & NEGOTIATION


T-trade™ involves three groups, each trying to achieve the best business outcome for themselves but needing to 'make deals' with other groups in order to be successful. How do they go about making mutually acceptable agreements and yet maintain their focus on achieving the best individual team results they can?
Win-Win-Win -- In this game participants will discover that competitive spirit works only up to a point but it is collaboration that actually builds success. Played in 5 rounds, this activity revolves around a profit maximization objective. The game offers lesson in collaboration both within teams as well as across teams.
Common Currency -- Teams representing fictional countries must cooperate in trading coins and information while competing for the most valuable combination of coins. Interactions involve both task (outcome) and relationship (process) skills. Good for teamwork and strategic planning, leadership, communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision making.

COMMUNICATION WITHIN GROUPS


River Crossing -- In this one, the experience of trying to get your group across the river mirrors the challenge of a group working toward a shared goal. As participants move into the river, their perspective changes, they can’t see obstacles, but need to figure out how to move forward.
Toxic Waste -- Teamwork, communication and problem solving skills are required to move the "toxic waste" into neutralizing containers.
Toobeez – a giant construction kit with oodles of exercises that will let you focus on creative problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills. Build your own exercise or use one of the Toobeez Activity Guide (sold separately).
What’s My Communication Style? Uncover preferred styles of verbal and non-verbal communication with a quick personality assessment tool. Discover preferences for one of 4 communication styles and ways to use the styles to enhance communication.
Simbols is a game using colorful cards to assemble into specific patterns very quickly. Participants efficiently describe the cards they’ve been dealt, then “launch” their solution before the deadline.
Tall Ships teams must work together under pressure to build the tallest ship mast possible at the lowest cost. To win a building contract, teams must demonstrate the “Seven C’s”: Clarity, Capability, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication, Continuous Improvement, Creativity.
Colourblindblindfolded participants hold a collection of colored plastic shapes. Teams must work together to identify the pieces missing from the set. Success demands effective group management, questioning and listening.
Electric Mazeworking under time pressure, teams must move across a 6 foot by 9 foot electronically-programmed grid without triggering an alarm. Teams, broken into top and middle managers and group members, must respond only to verbal directions.

COMMUNICATION BETWEEN GROUPS

Seeing the Point -- This puzzle challenges teams to do more with less. Each is given a set of 7 pieces and asked to create 5 uniform shapes. Creating four of these shapes is easy, but making the fifth takes creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and alignment of resources.
Communication Derailedtackle three common communication challenges (communication within a team, between teams, and during organizational stress). Includes 3 comprehensive modules, each 2-3 hours long.
Minefieldif you don’t want hard-won organizational knowledge to go down the drain this game’s for you. Inter-team communication and cooperation are a must as teams gather costly information to solve this complex logic problem.
Chainlink -- An exercise in managing the demands of being in an internal supply chain, and how to cope with meeting customer needs while managing suppliers.
Chinese CheckersTeams must moves their players across a human-sized Chinese Checkers board. Teams quickly see they will achieve their goal more easily without “silos.” Success requires that they stop focusing on their own goals, interests and capabilities.