To illustrate:
a) the importance of astutely observing an environment
b) the degree to which we make inferences from limited data
c) the difference between observation and inference

Best used at the very beginning of a program before the trainees have had a substantial opportunity to gather much data. The trainer simply asks the participants to state all things they 'know' about the trainer. There are listed on flip-charts or white board. After these are adequately collected, the trainer then asks the group to generate all the inferences they have made about the trainer thus far. These are recorded on a separate list (either through direct group discussion or through previous individual responses on paper.

The trainer may then invite the group to comment on the items produced. For instance, "Are any of the inferences really like facts? Are any of facts more like inferences? Why does some confusion exist?" The trainer should direct the group toward a series of points such as the following:
a) The group 'knew' a lot more about the trainer than any one person did
b) Careful attention to our surroundings can help us learn to acquire more data than we might otherwise have.
c) We often infer a lot about people from very limited first impressions; these inferences may not be valid until examined.
d) We often act upon our inferences, but believe we are acting on the basis of facts.
e) The processes of making accurate observations and astute inferences are quite different and should be consciously separated in our minds.

1. Why did the observations and inferences differ among group members?
2. Why are first impressions often inaccurate?
3. How can we improve upon our observation and inference skills?


15-20 minutes

Games Trainers Play, John W. Newstrom & Edward E.Scannell, McGraw-Hill.