Conduct an effective conversation with an angry customer.


Brief the participants. Explain that all participants will alternate between team discussions and one-on-one roleplays to increase their ability to conduct an effective conversation with an angry customer.
Form groups. Divide participants into two equal groups and identify them as Group A and Group B. If one group has an extra person, make her an observer or you join the other group so both groups have equal number of participants. Place different colored dots on the nametags (or foreheads) of members of each group to make it easy to identify the group to which each participant belongs.
Get ready. Ask members of the two groups to move to opposite sides of the room. Ask members of Group A to take on the role of a frustrated customer and brainstorm a set of provocative statements, questions, and demands. Give examples such as these:
This is the fifth time I am trying to get someone to fix my problem.
Your salesman cheated me. He did not tell me that I have to buy a monitor separately.
I don't like your attitude. Can I talk to your supervisor? I am not leaving until I talk to someone who cares.
At the same time, ask members of Group B to take on the role of CSRs and brainstorm effective statements for defusing an angry customer and empathic reactions to provocative statements.
It's clear that you are frustrated. Let's try to reduce your frustration by solving your problem.
You are right. It's our fault and let's get it straightened up.
Sir, I am sorry you feel that way. If you insist, I am can set up an appointment for you to talk to my supervisor tomorrow. We can save your time by fixing your problem right now.
Announce a 3-minute time limit.
Conduct the first rapid roleplay. After 3 minutes, blow the whistle. Explain that you are going to conduct a series of one-on-one conversations between an angry customer and a CSR. Ask each participant to pair up with a member of the other group. Explain that the person from Group A will initiate an angry conversation by asking a question, making a provocative comment, or demanding an outrageous concession. The person from Group B will respond to it in a calm and empathic fashion to defuse the hostility. The two people will continue their conversation.
Also explain that once every minute you will blow the whistle. Participants must stop the conversation immediately (even if it is in the middle of something) and pair up with a different member of the other group. Instruct them to begin another angry conversation with this new person.
Blow the whistle to start the first conversation. Blow the whistle once every minute or so. Conclude the activity at the end of about 5 minutes.
Getting ready for role changes. Explain that participants are going to switch their roles and conduct more rapid roleplays. Before doing that, invite everyone to get ready for their changed roles by reflecting on what they experienced during the first round.
Ask members of Group A to think back on what happened during the earlier one-on-one conversations. What did the CSR do to listen empathically, focus on solving the problem, and reduce the level of hostility? What best practices can you borrow from your interactions when you are playing the role of the CSR?
Ask members of Group B to think back on the provocative statements and sarcastic questions used by the angry customers. When you play the role of an angry customer during the next round, what kinds of hostile statements and questions can you come up with?
Invite participants to work with members of their group to get ready for the next round of rapid roleplay. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this preparation activity.
Conduct the second rapid roleplay. Explain that you are going to conduct another series of rapid roleplays as before with the same rules but with different roles: Members of the Group B will pair up with members of Group A. Group B members will initiate the angry conversation. Group A members will respond to it in a calm, reassuring, and business-like fashion. Whenever you blow the whistle, participants will stop the conversation and pair up with a different member of the other team.
Blow the whistle to start the first conversation. Blow the whistle once every minute or so to change partners. Conclude the activity at the end of 5 minutes.
Conduct a debriefing discussion. Thank everyone for their enthusiastic participation. Invite the participants to discuss what they learned from the two rapid roleplay sessions. Ask them to forget all about making provocative, angry, and sarcastic comments. Instead, focus on the techniques for disarming angry customers.
Get the discussion rolling with these types of open-ended questions:
What are some of the techniques and statements that worked effectively for defusing and calming down an angry customer?
Let's focus on different types of statements used with angry customers. Empathic statements demonstrate your understanding and sympathy. Can you give some examples of empathic statements?
How do empathic statements help you in dealing with an angry customer? When will you use this type of statement?
Apologetic statements involve regretting personal inconvenience—without accepting unrealistic responsibility for the situation. Can you give some examples of apologetic statements?
How do apologetic statements help you in dealing with an angry customer? When will you use this type of statement?
Reassuring statements promise specific action on your part. Can you give some examples of reassuring statements?
How do reassuring statements help you in dealing with an angry customer? When will you use this type of statement?
Limit-setting statements prevent the angry customer from abusing you and making unreasonable demands. Can you give some examples of limit-setting statements?
How do limit-setting statements help you in dealing with an angry customer? When will you use this type of statement?
What are some common elements among different types of statements?
When you listened to angry statements from the customer, how did you react to them? How would you have reacted if this were a real-world situation?
Did you observe the behaviors of the angry customer—or did you absorb them? Did you take the customer's rude behavior personally? How would you have felt about these types of customer behaviors in a real-world situation?
What one piece of advice would you give to an inexperienced CSR who is worried about her ability to handle an angry customer?
A set of provocative statements


40 minutes





To get all the way through the group without anyone laughing; its infectious if someone starts laughing.

1)Everyone lays down so that their head rests on another person's tummy; the group should all be interconnected by heads and tummies.
* Set a mock "serious" tone
* Optional: Eyes closed
* The challenge is NOT to laugh

2) The other part of the challenge is for the first person to say out loud "Ha!"  The second person says "Ha-ha", and so on

*The groups tries to see how far the "Ha" gets along the line before someone laughs
*After a few attempts, this generally descends into a crescendous wave of uncontrollable laughter



10 minutes



Help the trainees to develop specific methods for optimizing creativity in their workplace through better management and work groups. 

1) Divide group into small teams
2) Ask the teams to allocate 15 minutes to compile list of methods that might improve the way teams are used in the workplaces to produce new ideas
3) After the teams are done, have representatives of different teams share their results.
4) Lead a discussion about how to improve team management in the workplace. 

a) To what extent are teams in your workplace currently successful at generating new ideas?
b) How do current team management techniques in your workplace help or hurt the creative process?
c) What kind of training might your organization provide to teach people how to manage teams better in order to boost team creativity? 

1) A pen/pencil each.
2) A blank sheet paper (without lines) each.

30 minutes 

The Big Book of Creativity Games, Robert Epstein, McGraw-Hill Professional.




To explore the relationship among suppliers, employees, and customers.

15 to 30 minutes.

6 or more, divided into three approximately equal groups. This game works best with groups of 20-50.

A large number of index cards (cut in half)
Play money
Instruction sheet for each group. Use the samples given at the end of the game description below.

Room arrangement:
Assign Group 1 to one end of the room and Group 3 to the opposite end. Place Group 2 in the middle.

Flow of the game:
Brief the players. Explain that the groups have slightly different objectives. Also explain that members of Groups 1 and 3 may not interact directly with each other.Distribute the materials. Give $200 in play money to each member of Group 3 along with the instruction sheet. Give $5 to each member of Group 2 along with the instruction sheet. Give 50 index card halves to each member of Group 1 along with the instruction sheet.

Ask the participants to read their instructions. Visit each group and answer any questions.Announce the beginning of the game. Blow the whistle and start the timer. Let the participants play the game for 5 minutes.
Stop the game. Blow the whistle at the end of the 5-minute period.Identify the winners. Ask members of the first two groups to count their money. Ask the members of Group 3 to count their cards. In each group, identify the winner and congratulate him or her.Debrief the participants. Link the activity to the customer-supplier chain. Relate the activity to the workplace.

Instruction Sheet for Group 1 Members
All members of your group have the same instructions. The two other groups have different instructions.
Your goal is to make more money than any other member of your group.You have a large supply of index-card halves. Sign your name on each card half. You can sell the signed cards to any member of Group 2. You cannot sell the cards to anyone else. The suggested retail price is $1 per card. You may sell up to five cards to a single person at any given time. You may not sell more cards to the same person until you have sold some cards to someone else. The game will end after 5 minutes. At that time, if you have the most money in Group 1, you win the game.

Instruction Sheet for Group 2 Members
All members of your group have the same instructions. The two other groups have different instructions. Your goal is to make more money than any other member of your group. You begin the activity with $5. Your job is to buy cards from the members of Group 1, sign your name under the signature on each card, and sell the cards to the members of Group 3. The suggested purchase price of the cards from Group 1 is $1 each. The suggested selling price to Group 3 is $2 each. You may sell only one card at a time to any Group 3 member. You may not sell another card to the same person until you have sold a card to someone else. The game will end after 5 minutes. At that time, if you have the most money in Group 2, you win the game.

Instruction Sheet for Group 3 Members
All members of your group have the same instructions. The two other groups have different instructions. Your goal is to collect more cards than any other member of your group. You begin the activity with $200. You use this money to buy cards from the members of Group 2. Each card costs $2. Make sure that the card has two different signatures, one below the other. You may not collect more than two cards that have the same two signatures. The game will end after 5 minutes. At that time, if you have the most cards in Group 3, you win the game.




Brief Description:
People write down two truths about themselves and a lie.  Then introduce the three "facts" to the rest of the group who tries to guess which one is a lie.

2 Truths & a Lie:
A different kind of get-to-know-you activity which is engages and challenges each group member in a fun way. Particularly useful as an icebreaker, e.g. can be used as a opener for a workshop/conference. For large groups (e.g., 30+), it is best to split into smaller group sizes.

Hand out cards or paper and pens (or if participants bring their own, that's fine). Explain that in this activity each person write two truths and a lie about themselves and then we will try to guess each other's lie.  The goal is to: a) convince others that your lie is truth (and that one of your truths is the lie) and b) to correctly guess other people's lies.
Allow approx. 5+ minutes for writing 2 truths & a lie - this isn't easy for a lot of people - there will some scribbling out, etc.  The slower people will probably need to be urged along to "put anything you can think of" down.  Allocate 5-8 minutes, but you will probably need to urge people along.
Announce that we will now walk around and chat to one another, like a cocktail party, and ask about each other's truths and lies.  The goal is to quiz each about each statement to help determine which are the truth and which is the lie, whilst seducing other people into thinking that your own lie is a truth.  At the end we will caste our votes and find out the truth. Emphasize that people should not reveal their lie, even if it seems others might have guessed. Allow min. 10-15 minutes of conversation time.
Gather together in a circle.  Start with one person who reads their three statements aloud (to remind everyone).  Then read the statements again, stopping to allow a vote for each one.  e.g., "I am Turkish.  Who thinks that is a lie?  [Vote]  I am vegetarian.  Who thinks that is a lie?  [Vote]  I have a metal pin in my right leg.  Who thinks that is a lie?  [Vote].  OK, my lie was "I am vegetarian.""  The facilitator will need to help each person out, especially intially until the basic format is understood.  The facilitator may add drama and reinforcement, etc. for correct guesses, tricky statements, etc. The exercise can be run competitively, e.g., count up how many correct guesses of other people's lies and take away the number of people who correctly guesses your own lie.  Highest score wins (honesty counts!).


15-20 minutes




by Sharon L. Bowman, M.A.

Want a 5-minute game that takes no preparation beforehand? Want a game that engages learners in a fun yet memorable way, without a lot of time wasted in setting it up? Want a game that helps learners review information they heard, that increases retention, and that can be played a number of different ways?

Enter Grab that Spoon! It's a quick, five-minute game with a dash of friendly competition. It's a game in which everyone participates regardless of the size of the group (5 or 500, it still works!). It's a game that allows the learners to generate the review information, to participate in it, and to discuss their own understanding of the material learned. In other words, it's a game in which the participants learn a lot in a little time!

Here are the instructions for the game followed by a number of variations. Feel free to experiment with the game until it works easily for you and your learners.

3x5" index cards (one per person)
pens or pencils (one per person)
plastic spoons (one for each group of 4-6 people)
Room Setup
Learners sit in groups of 4 to 6 people, either at tables or clustered together in chairs.

Game Instructions
1. Each learner writes a review question and answer on a 3x5" index card. She also writes a point value for the question on the card (points between 1-5; 1 = easy question; 5 = difficult question).

2. One spoon is placed where each learner in the group can reach it (in the middle of the table, in the middle of the group on someone's knee, binder, or on the floor, etc.)

3. One person volunteers to be the first reader. The reader may not grab the spoon.

4. The reader reads aloud her question. The first group member to grab the spoon answers the question. If correct, the answerer gets those points. If incorrect, the answerer loses those points or stays at zero points.

5. Group members take turns being the reader and reading their question cards.

6. All groups play the game for 5 minutes (or longer, if time permits). At the end of the time limit, each person adds up her points. The person with the most points wins applause and high-fives from the group. Or there can be small token prizes.

Game Variations
1. Play the game using an object related to the training—something easy to grab that also has to do with the training topic or theme. Examples: Grab That Mouse for a computer class, Grab That Ear (with plastic ears) for a communication course, Grab That Key for keys to customer service, Grab That Number with dice for financial training, and Grab That Whistle for safety training. You can use items found in your home or office. You can also purchase small, inexpensive, training-related items from Kipp Brothers http://www.kippbro.com/ or Oriental Trading Company http://www.orientaltrading.com/. Get their free catalogs and spend a few minutes looking for possible game items and token prizes.

2. Give each learner 2 to 4 index cards. At different times during the training, have them write on each card a new question and answer pertaining to what they just learned. Then, as an overall review, allow about 10 minutes near the end of the training to play the game.

3. Play one round (one question asked and answered) at a time and spaced throughout the training to make the game a short, high-energy, ongoing break from the lecture.

4. Instead of points, learners can play for chips or other small tokens. Each group gets a small pile of chips or tokens to use for the game. Or they can play for a card from a card deck and the person with the best poker hand at the end of the game wins.

5. If you, as the trainer, want to do the work, you can make up the questions and print them out, one set per group. Then each group plays the game with your questions and answers.

6. If you have time and choose to debrief the game afterwards, you can ask open-ended questions like:

What was the most important thing you learned from the game?
What was a question that your group discussed or debated the answer to?
Was there a question with more than one right answer?
What is a question you still have after playing the game?
Final Thoughts: A game is only as useful as its purpose and its content. As an activity that reviews crucial information in a quick, relevant, high-energy way that involves all learners, Grab that Spoon! fits the bowl, uh, bill. Use it and enjoy watching your learners take an active part in their own learning.




For groups of six to thirty people.Play as a team game in pairs, threes, fours or fives, which keeps everyone involved all the time, and introduces teamwork and tactics.The game is essentially team bowls (played like beach bowls or green bowls) using balls of newspaper.

Scoring is one point for each ball closest to the 'jack' ball. If a team gets say three or four of its balls closer than the balls of any other team then three or four points would be scored accordingly. The potential to score high - notably for big groups split into big teams - means a winning team can emerge surprisingly late, which sustains full involvement of all players.

A floor or corridor giving at least 5'x15' playing area.
A sheet of newspaper for each player.
A different coloured roll of electricians insulating tape for each team
(to differentiate their balls from other teams).
Tape measure for the facilitator.
The larger the floor area then the more energetic the game will tend to be. The game can also be played outside provided there is no strong wind. (For a more messy game outside for kids, supply a bucket of water and instruct that the balls should be wet..)

The winner is the player/team who rolls or throws their ball(s) to stop nearest the 'jack' (a smaller ball, suitably different, rolled by the facilitator or a contestant to the far end of the playing area). Decide order of play, which should be a player from each team in turn.

Play a specified number of 'ends' (rounds), totalling the points to produce the eventual overall winning team. Or play 'ends' until a team reaches say five points. Or more points for a longer game. (Decide a points target mindful of total maximum score per round per team - for example teams of five can potentially score five points in one round.) A player may roll or throw his/her ball at another player's/team's ball to dislodge it or achieve a position nearer the jack.You'll need a clearly understood rule in the event of the jack being hit out of the playing area, if this can happen. (For example replace the jack to its starting position, which should therefore be marked by the facilitator; or mark the position at which the jack left the playing area as the target.) If you are running this as a reasonably big activity, offer a trial game first for players to practise, develop tactics, and to clarify rules.In any event, you can offer players the chance to practise rolling their balls a few times before the start of the game (they'll probably do this anyway..).

The game is very adaptable. Consider and decide your own rules and scoring for your own situation.If playing the game with individuals (for example in a small group of five), allow players two balls each. This makes the game more interesting for individuals, in which the order of throwing can be reversed for the second ball, making it fairer for all, assuming playing only one 'end'.Or play big 'marbles' instead - best on a square playing area - in which players eliminate other players by rolling their ball to hit another player's balls. Players take turns to roll their balls. The winner is the last player remaining whose ball has not been hit by another ball. Players have to decide how close to risk leaving their balls to other balls, so it becomes quite a tactical exercise. Simplest rule here is to eliminate only the first ball hit with each roll, not rebounds.

REVIEW POINTS, optional, chiefly for team play, for example:
Would you use different tactics, knowing now how the game is played?
Was the teamwork good or could it have been better, if so how?
Did the construction (of the balls) affect the quality of play/performance?
How competitive did the exercise feel? Why?
What advantages arise from playing in a team?
How would you change/develop the game to improve it?



Trust Lean
Create a careful, concentrating, respectful tone. Watch out for bravado; focus on trust and care.Sequence appropriately e.g., after icebreakers, name games and initial get to know you activities, but often before or as part of  team building activities.

Ask participants to find a partner of similar height, weight and same-sex pairs. One person is the Faller and one the Catcher.

Faller must have adopt the falling posture: standing upright, feet together, hands across chest, resting on shoulders, tight butt cheeks and keep body stiff (to avoid buckling)

Catcher is taught "spotting" one leg in front of the other, arms extended, "give" with the weight, taking it mostly through the legs.

Start with small falls, then build. Establish clear communication calls (like climbing calls), e.g.,
Faller: "I am ready to fall.  Are you ready to catch me?" Catcher: "I am ready to catch you.  Fall away." Faller: "Falling." Catcher: "OK" After about 5-10 minutes, swap Catchers and Fallers. Can progress to Trust Falls & Dives from chairs, tables, etc. with whole group catching.

Ask partners to share with each other: What made you feel trusting? (e.g., clear communication, positive encouragement, etc.) What made you feel less trusting (e.g., laughing/joking, lack of communication, etc.) Invite people to contribute to a group discussion about what things their partner did to make them feel more or less trusting.

Large area preferably with soft ground e.g, grass.

20-30 mins

Brief description:
In pairs of similar size, one becomes a Faller and one the  Catcher.  Teach methods for spotting, falling and catching.  Start small and build to bigger falls, then swap.  Debrief - what made you feel more or less trusting?



SOURCE: http://thiagi.com

Here's a short activity to increase participant's ability to find humor in ordinary, everyday events.

The best way to describe this activity is to provide a “transcript” of how I conduct this activity. You can adapt it to fit your personal style.

Part 1. Rounding up circular objects

Quick, look around you and count the number of circular objects. Count as many as you can within the next 20 seconds.

(Pause for 20 seconds.)

How many circular objects did you find? Actually, the exact number doesn't matter. The point I am trying to get across is that you did not create these circular objects. They already existed in your current landscape and you just found them. You simply chose to notice them and focus your attention on them.

First Debrief

By the way, did you “cheat” while performing the task? For example, did you include parts of noncircular objects that were circular as in the case of a circular knob in a rectangular radio? Did you count the same object twice as in the case of a round CD and a round hole in the middle of the CD? Did you treat an oval as a circle as in the case of the buttons on your telephone dial? Did you count multiple occurrences of the same object as in the case of all of the periods in a printed document? No, you were not cheating. You were just operating at at a higher level of vigilance.

Part 2. Laughing at Life

Let's now move on to the second part of the exercise. The circle exercise involved scanning your present landscape for a tangible physical element. The next exercise involves scanning your past timescape for an intangible conceptual element.

Here's how you do it. Close your eyes and think of everything that happened in your life last week. Count the number of funny things that happened. Choose to find funny things that already existed in your timescape during the last week. Be creative in coming up with laughable events. Pretend that you have a remarkable sense of humor and look at your life for comedy materials. Do some creative cheating and put a comic spin on your recent reality. Spend 30 seconds doing this.

(Pause for 30 seconds.)

Now focus on one of the funniest episode from your recall exercise. Make it funnier through creative editing, exaggeration, and distortion. Keep working on it until it becomes so funny that you have to burst out laughing. You have another 30 seconds for this exercise.

(Pause for 30 seconds.)

Now pair up with someone else and share the funny segment of your life. Be sure to laugh uproariously at your partner's story.

(Pause for 2-4 minutes. Roam around the room eavesdropping on different conversations.)



Zooming Around 
by Kat Koppett


The same series of events or information can be transformed into a myriad of stories. This exercise helps the storyteller work like a movie camera—zooming in for close focus, zooming out for a broader picture—in order to highlight elements of a process that is being relayed. The storyteller can zoom in or out on an action, a descriptive detail or an emotion.

The key element of this interactive story is that the storyteller tells the story and is periodically instructed by a “director” to “zoom in” or “zoom out”.

To review and reinforce key steps and principles in a work process.

Any number, organized into pairs.

10 to 20 minutes.

Divide the participants into pairs. Have the pair identify one person as “A” and the other as “B”. Ask B to act as the storyteller and A as the Director.

Explain how the storyteller and the director interact with each other:

The storyteller begins telling her story. The director periodically instructs the storyteller to zoom in. The storyteller focuses on a detail within the story and provides additional information.From time to time, the director instructs the storyteller to zoom out. The storyteller moves to a higher-level view.

Sometimes the director may say “zoom in” or “zoom out” more than once in a row to get wide variations of levels in the story.The director continues in this way until the process is finished or time is up.Announce a suitable time limit of 5 to 10 minutes. Ask storytellers to begin. Start a timer.

Circulate among participants, eavesdropping in on different stories. However, don't interfere with the flow of the activity.When the allotted time is up, stop the activity.

Ask the directors and storytellers to exchange roles and repeat the process.

Have participants work alone, writing their stories on paper. From time to time, call out “zoom in” and “zoom out” to the whole group.

Use the technique as an interactive lecture. Encourage participants to direct you to zoom in and out during your lecture presentation.

Have members of one team tell a story while members of the other team direct the flow of the story.

A Sample Application: Telemarketing

Facilitator: Please begin.

Storyteller: Once upon a time there was an outbound sales rep named Peter. Every day, Peter called prospects from his database.

Director: Zoom in.

Storyteller: He clicked on the dial icon on his computer and waited for the dialer to ring a prospect. Once the prospect answered, Peter said, “Hello.”

Director: Zoom out.

Storyteller: Peter greeted the prospect and attempted to make a sale.

Director: Zoom in.

Storyteller: Peter probed to uncover the prospect's needs.

Director: Zoom in.

Storyteller: Peter asked open-ended questions about the prospect's current situation.

Director: Zoom out.

Storyteller: After identifying the needs, Peter asked the prospect how he might help him. Working with the prospect, Peter some services that his organization could provide.



Ice Breakers - 65 of Best Exercises To Build Team Spirit In Training, Eric Garner

This exercise invites trainees to think about the values that are vital to the course

1) Tell the group there is one value that you think overrides all others on this program and that you have written it in the center of the flip chart and covered it up.
2) Go into small team mode
3) Tell trainees that they have only 5 minutes to jot down the values that they think are vital during the program. They can also guess the value is in the center of the flip chart.
4) After 5 minutes, invites the teams to write on the flip chart their values. Then reveal your value. Reward them  in a token way if any team has included it in their values.

1) Flip Chart
2) Paper
3) Pens

15 Minutes



Enable people in a group to know each other in a fun way

1) For groups of four to around dozen people; split larger groups into smaller teams (the exercise works just as well), in which case apply these instructions for each of the teams.

2) Pass or toss a toilet roll to one of the group members. Ask the person to tear off as many sheets as they want and then pass or toss the roll to another member of the group to do the same, and then on to another member to include the whole group. (Tossing the roll at random is more fun as it increases fun and expectation).

* Do not explain the purpose yet. Some will take two or three sheets, some will take more. This, and the interpretations made, will generate a lot of amusement and comment. Be sure to have a spare roll on hand, and obviously if splitting the group into teams ensure sufficient supplies for each team.

3) You then reveal the purpose: each individual must give as many facts about themselves according to how many pieces of toilet roll they have. Those with the most modest requirements will therefore need to say least; those tearing off a couple of dozen sheets will be under a little more pressure...


Toilet Roll

30 minutes