Activity - Communication skills - Room 101
The purpose of this exercise is to practice your influential and persuasive skills in a competitive fun debate focusing on communication skills like choosing positive language, being passionate and enthusiastic about one's case, showing 'benefits' to others ...etc.
Time / 60 Minutes
Flip Chart , Flip Chart Marker
The title of the activity relates to Room 101 as featured in the George Orwell novel ‘1984’. Room 101 is to where ‘Big Brother’ banishes anything that is deemed to be destructive or contradictory to the idea of the society created in the novel.
In this context we will use the Room 101 concept to argue against ridding the world of any annoying, pointless or unpleasant – things we would like to place into Room 101.
Split the group intro threes:
• Their first task in their trios is to come up with three things upon which firstly, they can all agree should be placed into Room 101
They will later need to persuade the wider group of their rationale, so it’s important that they can convince themselves unanimously in their trio if they are to have any hope of convincing the wider group.
If needed the trainer can supply some varied examples of things that people may have argued for in the past (these include things as varied as mosquitoes to Simon Cowell, marmite to world hunger).
This is a competitive activity and only if the majority of the wider group agree will they have their wish of getting their item into Room 101.
• Once the group have come up with their list, tell them to formulate their rationale / arguments to the wider group
• In turn ask each trio to present their opening argument for their first item to be put into Room 101
• Invite the wider group to debate / argue against these points
• Allow the proposing group to defend / persuade the others in response to the arguments
• Next, ask them to make a closing statement summarising their case to have the item placed in Room 101
• Hold a vote amongst the wider group (except those in the proposing trio) as to whether the item should be placed in Room 101. If the majority agrees the item goes into Room 101
• Trainer marks up a tick /cross on flipchart for the proposing group
• This repeats until all groups have taken turns to argue one point in turn until all three items, for each trio have been debated
• The group(s) with the most items placed in Room 101 wins
Note for Trainers
Keep the arguments light hearted – groups will quickly ascertain that it is a competitive game and that it is in their interests to argue against the other proposing groups. Despite this, it is normally possible to persuade enough people to your point of view though if you have chosen good items and put forward a good argument.
Also be mindful of time. Ideally this activity should be completed within 60 mins for a typical sized training group, so you may need to prompt groups to make their closing statements and move the game along if the debates get too lively!
Discussion and debrief
This persuasive communication skills warm up activity whilst it is a fun activity, it focuses on some of the techniques displayed in this warm up such as choosing positive language, being impassioned and enthusiastic about one's case, selecting "benefits" to others of coming to way of thinking etc.