Last month in Chicago, I gave a keynote address to group of several hundred people.
You can imagine the scene: stage, bright lights, multiple video screens. Because the speaker was the focus of the event, setting up exercises was a bit more challenging.
However, I tried to weave in some activities, because sitting and listening is seldom the best way to learn.
Here’s a favorite I used that day. It’s modest and brief, but very effective.
This worked with a group of 400 and it will work with a group of four.
The More You Push, the More Resistance You Create
Set the exercise up this way.
“In a minute,” you say, “I’m going to ask you to stand up. But before I do, please find a partner and assign one of you as A and the other as B.
“Okay? Now stand up.
“A’s, extend one hand toward your partner and make a fist with your thumb on the outside.” You can demonstrate by raising your own fist.
“B’s, you have five seconds to open A’s fist.”
Wait five or ten seconds and then ask everyone to sit down. Most of the people in the room will have tried to pry the fist open, starting with the thumb. Mention that to the audience.
“I saw that most of you tried to pry open your partner’s fist. Did anyone find another way to open the hand?”
Chances are someone in the room simply asked her partner to open her hand. Or perhaps someone else extended his hand as if to shake their partner’s.
Invite people to report on what they did.
From here, ask people to gather in small groups to discuss the lesson of the exercise and how it might apply to fundraising. If time is limited, you can ask for comments from the entire group.
This exercise takes no more than five or ten minutes. However, if you ask someone about the session six months later, this is what they are likely to remember.
Respect Tops Pressure Every Time
This exercise is easy to set up, fun to do, and makes a clear, important point:
In fundraising, never try to force someone to give. All you need to do is to ask in a simple, respectful way.
A colleague taught this activity to me years ago, and I’m indebted. I’ve used it many times and it works without fail.
Do you have a small, simple exercise in your back pocket – one that you’ve used many times? Please share your favorites in the comment box below.