My friends and I played charades this past weekend and we had some interesting strategies in play. We played the first round - in which teams were a mix of men and women - and the second round regressed to our eternal battle of the sexes.
In a 3 on 3 battle of charades, I believe it's important for the 'actor' to continually feed us with some information, fueling our guesses, as there are only 2 minds on the receiving end. Regardless, one of my friends received the suggestion and when time started, chose to stand and think about how he would 'sign' the answer to us...for 30 seconds! In the end, we somehow nailed the answer 'American Gladiators' due to his salute to the flag accompanied with his beastly shield colliding with an imaginary opponent...Guys 1, Girls 0...PHEW!
There were a few more close calls and every time the 'actor' started with standing still and thinking for 30 seconds. I wonder, would it have been more effective to just start sending us information and allowing us to fuel his ideas through our guesses? Although it was frustrating watching our team 'waste' time, perhaps it was appropriate in this situation?
There's a great benefit to taking some time to think of a strategy before jumping into an activity as a team. It allows everyone in the team to be heard and feel engaged. Engagement doesn't necessarily mean one has to LISTEN to your idea - the fact that people feel like their ideas were considered to be equal as the others, can engage them and energize them. In many exercises I use in my work with teams, I notice that people like to jump into an activity before taking the time to strategize and employ the best ideas presented among the players. It's natural for us to have our own idea, try it, and if successful, don't change anything. Why should we? It worked, didn't it? Perhaps, but at what cost? If you had said what your idea was, built on it, added to it, and engaged your team, would more people would have felt accomplished?
In charades, I believe that the 'actor' should start acting out SOMETHING relevant and start to give us clues to get us closer to the answer from the first second! That's the only way to engage your team in a game where you cannot speak - act it out, have some guesses, and let the guesses shape your actions. Why take on all the pressure yourself, when you can tap into others' on your team?
Do YOU think there are times when it's best to say the first thing that comes to mind?
Akshay facilitates workshops on leadership, communication, and teamwork for adults and children with Ziksana Consulting. Read his Behavior Blotter for more on his work and his observations. If you have any ideas for stories, please contact Akshay at firstname.lastname@example.org
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