You ran out of time and skipped the debrief? Yikes!
When using play in your meetings or workshops, remember this: All activities have a purpose. They must relate to the overall key messages of your session. Do not skip this part.
Trainers and facilitators will often rush at this stage because they have run out of time.
Some participants are able to extrapolate what they learn from the activities and use it in their working lives—others will need some guidance to connect the dots. Your debrief questions will help participants make the necessary links to have those aha moments. You do not want anyone thinking, “That was fun, but why did we spend time on it?”
The debrief discussion, in fact, becomes the most important part of the session because the activity triggers the conversation. It’s the debrief that helps you uncover those missing pieces of important information. The debrief may help you formulate what you might like to design for the next activity.
Here are my 3 favorite debrief questions:
1. What happened?
2. So what?
3. Now what?
1. What happened? This question allows participants to explain how the activity unfolded. You can go deeper and ask questions around what participants did, what they were thinking, what they were feeling, if they thought that others listened to them, etc.
2. So what? This question addresses the meaning, what you learned, why it is important, how what happened is the same or different from what happens in life back at the office.
3. Now what? This questions takes the participants into the future. It facilitates a conversation so they can really consider all the elements of how what they just experienced could be applied to their work in the future. Maybe a system needs to change or a principle needs to be added. The insights here can be endless.
Our objective for inserting play strategically is that people realize play is important for learning and learning can be fun. Play for the sake of just playing and being playful is also wonderful. But when you have a group of executives in a face-to-face meeting or offsite, make sure the play is followed by powerful outcomes.