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Networking exercises (list of suggestions)

by Ross, Barbara

28 August 2001 18:54 UTC

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this list... (also attached as a rich
text file) --Barbara

Networking Exercises:

1. Networking Nexus 45 - 60 Minutes (No Props) -- Rob Benson, First Steps
Training & Development, Inc.

A.      Welcome
B.      "Networking is about doing what your mother told you to never do . . .
talk to strangers.  It's like playing host at someone else's party.  At a
real level, it's about learning about other people and finding the links
that you have with them."
C.      "Since, as Plato said, you can learn more by observing someone in an
hour of play than in a lifetime of work, we're going to play.  We are also
going to be using and enhancing our basic networking skills."
D.      Quick Review: the basic skills of networking are (have folks do these)
a.      Shaking hands
b.      Introducing yourself
c.      Smile
d.      Look the other person in the eye
e.      Place your name tag on the right.
E.      Activity: "In the next two minutes, shake hands with as many people in
the room as you can, say hello, and give them your business card.  There is
only one catch: no two handshake/introduction combos can be alike.  It's
time to get creative . . . go."
F.      "Finding Our Commonalities: networking involves finding those links that
you have with other people, and building on those."  
G.      Activity: Categories (described in several of Karl Rohnke's activity
books.)  I used ASTD member/non-member, Nat'l member/state member, 1st time
to a conference/been here before, work in Gov't/business/private
contractor, Supervisor/producer.
H.      Activity: Pair Share: "Pair off with someone you don't know, find 3
things that you have in common but which are not obvious."  Allow for two
minutes of time, then report out.
I.      Sharing our gifts: "Networking is also about, to a certain extent,
impressing the person that you are with.  This is an opportunity to do
that.  Since we are all trainers, we are going to participate in the next
activity, Each One, Teach One."
J.      Activity: Each One, Teach One.  Pair off, each teach a skill, move into
groups of four, share your skills, then choose as a small group one of
those activities to share with the larger group.  Report out.
K.      Graciously saying goodbye: "If you are going to network well, eventually
you need to find a way to graciously take your leave.  How many different
ways do we know to say good-bye?"  (Take responses)
L.      "And that is where we are now.  Thanks so much."

2. After some discussion together, break people into constituent groups
(groups such as faculty, students, community partners) to pursue the
discussion with their caucus and then report back to the whole group.
Simple, but productive and fun.  --Betsy, Portland Community College

3. Put tape on participants' backs with the name of someone famous and they
have to figure out who they are.  You could use people who are famous for
their volunteer or community efforts. -- Linda Catullo

4. Use masking tape to draw a big map of your area on the floor of a large
room.  Then ask that everyone literally place themselves on the map.  In
the Philadelphia area we have so many people working on so many projects,
often in the same immediate neighborhood, without knowing the others exist.
 I came up with this idea as a way to get folks to literally bump into one
another on the map, shake hands, explain what they do, and most importantly
realize they're right around the corner from each other.  -- Hillary
Aisenstein, Director, Philadelphia Higher Education Network for
Neighborhood Development (PHENND)

5. A People Hunt -- Charlotte Gioe', Synergy Education and Training
Make a printed sheet: "Find Someone Who..." and then list activities or
experiences related to the topic. Each participant finds a person who fits
the bill and fills in their name and contact info as they chat. This info
can then be recorded and duplicated for all.
6. At a United Way training once Dale Nash did an exercise where people were
supposed to fill out a very brief list of questions and then find someone
else there who had the same answer to a question.  They were questions like
"Who came to this event by bus?". "Who has a kid in preschool?" "Who was
born in another country?"   and other questions about people's personal
lives.  It was interesting to make connections. -- Nan Hawthorne, CyberVPM
7. One I made up - We made a selection of extra-size nametags that read

[     My name is _______________________       ]
[    and I ....* ... need some advice about:
... can help you with:
... have trouble with:
... know a lot about:
 [____________________________________    ]

* In the second line I had put things like the following then a space - the
attendees got to choose which they took.  EVERYONE there found a match!
It was great.

--Nan Hawthorne, Editor-in-Chief,CyberVPM.com

8. Bingo - Darlene Davis, Wichita,KS  United Way Volunteer Coordinator
I put together a large "bingo" card for each participant in one of my
trainings to use as an icebreaker.  But instead of calling out numbers and
letters, I told them that they had to get an autograph in each square from
an applicable person.  Each square had a different statement such as:
*       Sends students to visit seniors regularly
*       Has had a successful fund raiser
*       Did a canned food drive last year
*       Is a new coordinator
*       Will be organizing a Christmas project
*       Teachers at my school are interested in Service Learning
But I also included two lines under each signature for the participants to
write the name of their organization and their phone number.  That way they
could remember who they talked with about certain ideas.  They had a great
time, and the winner (the first person with a black-out) walked away with a
delicious chocolate reward!

9. Service-Learning Bingo - Ossie Hanauer, Miami-Dade Community College
Find the person who ______________________and write their name in the box!
(see attachment for table)

10. Completed Thought
After giving each person a pen & paper, explain that participants will be
listening to a list of incomplete sentences. They will write down the
statement and then finish the thought in their own words. For example, "If
I could volunteer full-time, I would…" The facilitator reads a total of 10
incomplete sentences, giving a minute in between each for folks to write
down their answers.

When the writing has finished, re-read each statement and have participants
answer. Answers can be commented on and discussed. If there are a large
number of people, you may want to break people into small groups to report
Sample statements:
A.      Today I wish I were…
B.      The main reason I am here…
C.      When I think of service, I…
D.      I choose friends who are…
E.      I think my best quality is…
F.      Today I am planning to learn…
G.      A pet peeve of mine is…
H.      Students who volunteer are…
I.      Training sessions like this are usually…
J.      If I could change the world I would…

11. Sandwich Boards
Give each participant two sheets of newsprint or poster board, plus several
strips of masking tape. Ask everyone to write a subject at the top of each
sheet, for example "What I know about myself" and at the top of the other
sheet, "What I want to know about you," or "My favorite things to do" and
"My least favorite things to do". Then give everyone 10 minutes to write
words or phrases that describe the heading on each board. After people are
finished, have them put on the sandwich boards and mill around the room
reading one another's boards and discussing the content. You might ask
people to find someone who has a trait in common with their own or comment
on at least 3 other people's sandwich board.

12. Life Events
Handout a print sheet of paper divided into four boxes. Have people label
the boxes with four life stages or characteristics such as:
a.      childhood, teen years, adult life, future
b.      my life… 10 years ago, 5 years ago, now, in the future
c.      my work life, my volunteer life, my college life, my free time
Have participants write words, phrases or draw pictures that symbolize each
box. Have each person share or divide into small groups to share.

13. Problems and Solutions
Give each person two index cards. On the first, have people write down a
real-life problem they are dealing with related to volunteerism or service
in the form of a question. For example, "How do we develop sustainability?"
 On the second, have people write down a possible solution to their problem
and fold it in half. Next, the trainer collects all of the solutions in a
hat/bag, mixes them up, tells people not to read them and redistributes the
index cards. Then each person reads their problem aloud, opens the "answer"
and reads it aloud, too. (This can be both practical or hilarious).

14. Interviews: Break the group into two person teams (have them pick a
partner that they know the least about). Have them interview each other for
about twenty minutes. You can prepare questions ahead of time or provide
general guidelines for the interview. They need to learn about what each
other likes about their job, past jobs, family life, hobbies, favorite
sport, etc. After the interviews, reassemble the group and have each team
introduce their team member to the group. This exercise helps them to learn
about each other. --Donald Clark

Networking Exercises.rtf

Barbara L. Ross, Executive Director
Florida Office of Collegiate Volunteerism
"Working to promote & encourage=20
collegiate involvement in community service"
(850)922-2922  Fax: (850)922-2928
345 S. Magnolia Dr. Suite D-12
Tallahassee, FL 32301

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