Cultivating a Willingness to Play
Submitted by Lori Britt
This activity encourages participants to take themselves less seriously and play with ideas (and one another). When we play, we explore—which offers an opportunity to let down our analytical guard and see with fresh perspectives.
Learn how to use techniques like “limiting allotted time” or “creating playful competitions” to enhance creativity.
Set Up: Prepare for the Activity
Organize participants into pairs or small groups (3-5 ppl).
Begin by introducing the learning goals of this activity.
Step One: Introduce Monroe’s Motivated Sequence (5 min)
In small groups, introduce a common persuasive “pitch” formula called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. Participants may recognize this sequence from the format of many television ads and infomercials.
5 Steps (in this order):
Grab audience’s attention.
Present the need– Discuss the current situation and why something needs to be done. Appeal to emotions.
Offer a product/solution that addresses the need.
Describe how the world will look if this product or solution is implemented, help the audience visualize.
Call to Action – Ask them to buy or support the product/solution and why they must do it now.
Step Two: Develop a 2-minute Pitch (10 min)
Challenge the groups to quickly come up with a product or idea that will address a public need. Follow Monroe’s sequence to develop a quick 2-minute pitch. Remind the groups to name the product or idea with a catchy name. Explain to them that they will each be playing a part in the commercials they create. Encourage them to have fun with this and think outside the box.
Step Three: Present Pitches to the Full Group (15 min)
Invite each small group to present their pitch with everyone in the group delivering a part. For fun, the full group can vote on the top pitch.
Step Four: Debrief as a Full Group (10 min)
What did it feel like to do this so quickly? Did you feel like you were free to be playful or silly? Did the format of creating a commercial or infomercial allow you to be less serious?
How difficult was it to come up with an idea originally?
Once you had your idea, how easy or difficult was it to develop a pitch to persuade others to buy or support your idea?
This activity can be completed by any discussion group.
This activity might be considered high energy or more playful than other activities.
This activity can be easily modified to serve as an introductory exercise and completed in less than 10 minutes.
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October 3, 2023 at 5:00:05 PM
Have done this in the past, but today a group really blew me away. I did this as a Fishbowl with 7 students taking roles. Prior to the converstaion they could seek input from a few other students about what which decision they think the person in their role would support and why. I also asked them to come up with some things that were concerns for them. This 10 minute of prep time helped my role play participants really embody and feel confident in their roles. Great discussion about what deliberation looks like in practice and about how power can impact conversations and how a facilitator can try and minimize these power imbalances. I used the scenario above and assigned these roles (I was not sure my students woul be able to consider roles that would offer different perspectives): • Facilitator (non-voting) • Mayor • High school teacher • 17-year-old high school student • Transportation planner for the region • Local business owner • Economic development office for the region (your community and the surrounding communities served by the train) • 50-year-old who lost his job last year and who has been on unemployment
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