Thursday, August 23, 2012

Facilitate physically… with inspiration from the Olympics!

A Usain Bolt lightning pose! A javelin throw! A triathlon swim, bike and run! I was inspired by these Olympic moments and sports and created physical activities for two webinars I facilitated this week. 

When facilitating, I like to build upon events in the world that most participants in my sessions will know about.  The Olympics just finished and everybody knows something about them; whether they watched or not. 

Here’s three fun and productive activities I used:

The Triathlon:  sitting in our chairs, we swam, we pedalled bikes and then standing up, we ran on the spot.  Then, I asked the participants to relax and take a recovery moment like athletes do after physical exertion.  During the recovery time, I asked each person to think about one thing from the session that stood out for her.  On the webinar, each person typed this aspect into the Chat area.  In a face-to-face session, each participant could turn to someone else and share the aspect.

The Usain Bolt lightning pose:  We stood up (or if more comfortable, remained seated) and struck the famous Bolt lightning pose.  I was using my web camera during the webinar and participants could see me demonstrate the pose.  I also encouraged them to google Usain Bolt to see pictures of him doing his pose.  I asked participants to hold the pose and think about one thing from the session that they would use in their work or volunteer life.  Then, each person shared it.  In a face-to-face session, each person could turn to someone sitting at a different table and talk about the thing they would use.

The javelin throw:  I invited participants to stand up and hurl a javelin.  I used an analogy for envisioning the future; throw the javelin towards what you wish to create in the future.

These physical activities inspired by memorable events let participants stretch and move, enabled kinesthetic learning, encourage reflective thinking, and provided good old fun!


  1. I am intrigued by these activites. I really like how you have used them. What were your motivations and purposes for using each one? How do they reinforce what you were discussing?

  2. Love your questions. For any activity I design and facilitate, I always say out loud (first to myself, and then to participants) why I am doing the activity. In other words I state my purpose (desired result) and intent (why I am doing it). I used these activities to help participants think creatively through physical movement and mental imaging from analogies. The movement helps stir the brain cells differently than looking at a computer and typing. The analogies of recovery time, lightning bolt, and javelin throw gave them a different perspective on what they liked about the webinar information and how they would use it. And, the activities provided fun!