Introduction exercises for Speakers and facilitators

Marius, the sales manager, spoke  again:

Now you have introduced everyone, you have oriented them, but you still have not explained the topic or started with the actual material all this was just introduction, now the speaker too has his or her introduction. This is taking very long.

True, you have only crossed the first threshold from their outside world into the learning space, now they still need to cross from their current understanding to a new understanding of the topic.  Yet it does not take long.  The only thing we added was this idea of asking them to air reservations or express feelings. This takes five minutes maximum compared to  the alternative : people remain distant and never really engage with the learning wasting their whole day and all your own effort..

Also, if you know that you need to do all three these things before continuing, you may find ways to condense your processes and combine some of them. The BBYB exercise for instance, both introduce the participants’ current reality regarding the topic in the room (step one of the second threshold) as well as present an invitation to participate (step 2 of the first threshold)

After you completed the first cycle with the agenda, and explanation of the working method and an opportunity for attendees to air their mixed responses, you introduce the speaker.

The speaker now tackles the next cycle of the double journey by building on the BBYB exercise showing how the perspective of the audience is mirrored in the world.  The speaker can do this by talking, letting people talk, or creating a whole brain participative experience.


Your bio of the speaker has set him/her up as expert, so the audience believes the, when they now paint a picture of the current reality from a global perspective. They also show the problems that arise from this perspective and its consequences., back it up with graphs, statistics, research and events that are in the news. All the time you are further building out the current reality of the topic be it leadership, sales , marketing or wellness.

Letting them talk

You may also choose more experiential and participative methods by inviting the CEO of the company to give an overview of the situation with financial reports, staff statistics, stories  and so on. You can also let people share stories of their experience relating to the issue with one another.


In a customer service training programme we designed for Spier Wine Farm, we used theatre images to really help participants feel the pain of the current reality. In four groups they had to create   theatrical tableaux where participants show scenes from lived experiences using their bodies to build statues. Each group showed a different set of consequences of bad customer service: the effect on 1. customers, 2.  the organisation, 3.  staff and their families and 4.  the wider South African community. People play out characters like a  disgruntled customer telling their friends not to go to this hotel (group 1), or perhaps the CEO needing to lay off staff because of cost cutting (group 2), or the husband telling his wife he had lost his job(group 3),, or children begging in the street because tourists are not here to support our economy (group 4). Playing out these scenes drive the message home using  Attention, Generation and Emotion (AGES model).

With the stage neatly set and the current pain identified and empathised with, you can now move to creating new possibilities again.