Want to start Your next Presentation or meeting with a bang? Use this proven method of Pair and Share

Daily Quote on what makes-up highly successful TEAMS

” Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”. Andrew Carnegie

” All winning teams are goal-oriented. Teams like these win consistently because everyone connected with them concentrates on specific objectives. They go about their business with blinders on; nothing will distract them from achieving their aims”. Lou Holtz


Need a quick and reliable way to connect with your audience? Try to say something relevant to the topic for the get together and get them engaged and involved in the presentation. I discovered this method many years ago when doing a workshop on Performance reviews. If you ask a relevant question and provide a structure for the audience members participation it usually resulted in great start because this type of experiential exercise raises the energy in the room,helps people to connect with other participants, says to reluctant members and skeptics this workshop maybe fun after all and maybe I can learn a few things. Most importantly this opening leads the participants right into the content and subject matter of the workshop. Here is mu proven method for opening a meeting and triggering a lively discussion and interest from the audience of what is going to happen next.

  1. Divide the meeting participants into a pair by having them number off 1 or 2. Then ask the even numbers and odd numbers to pair up. You do this so that your participants get to know fellow attendees. People generally begin a meeting by sitting next to someone they already know, so this is a way to meet new people and stimulate discussion of different points of view. Tell the newly formed pair their assignment is to think for a minute and then to share with the other person three characteristics word that describes THE BEST TEAM THEY HAVE EVER BEEN ON.  In my first venture with this exercise, I was leading a session about HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS with 50 high tech software engineers .  So, my request of the new pair was that they think about their own experiences in working on a highly successful team discuss the characteristics and come to agreement the ONE most important characteristic to share with the audience when called upon.
  1. This exercise helps the group explore their thoughts on a common issue. This ice breaker is an effective lead in the topic of the meeting or training class. I am always surprised by the variety of the words chosen. As a result of this exercise you get to tap-in to the participants needs because it gives you a snapshot into their current thinking and perceptions of teamwork.
  2. This exercise sparked spontaneous conversation in every pair as the participants questioned each other about the reason they choose these characteristics and story behind it.They asked for examples and found that the combination of the participants’ chosen words did describe their experience with a very successful team.
  3. Upon completion of the initial spontaneous discussion, ask the participants to share their one word with the larger group. Ask for a volunteer to start and then, ask each participant to share their one word that described their team. (Even your most quiet participants were comfortable sharing their word.)


Next, after the participants have listened to the variety of words from the larger group, ask them to explore several questions in their pair. In this instance, asking each participant to select one word to describe their present experience in their company with teams.

Your opportunity for follow-up questions is endless depending on the time you have available. The rewards in using this exercise are wonderful because during the discussions people connect with others, gain insight to other people’s experiences and perspectives,m experience fun and positive interaction generated remarks, insights, ah-has, and examples.

Upon completion, move into the rest of the material you have prepared for the session.


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