Your ETR (Estimated Time to Read): 5 minutes
Your ETII (Estimated Time to Implement Ideas):
5 weeks

September 2008

In this Issue:

Say It Quick
a thoughtful message in exactly 99 words

bits of serendipity to inspire and motivate
fuel for your own continuous learning
tips and tricks you can try today
Your Center The North American Simulation and Gaming Association The Proposal Presentation Game It's Your Move

Say It Quick

Is there a link between the many facets of work, home, family, health, and spirit? Here, in exactly 99 words, is an idea worth contemplation. Then find an opportunity to try it out in today's Activities column.

Your Center

Fronton, a game like handball played on a two-walled court, originated in the Basque Country. You can find a fronton court in every Basque village no matter how small. It's usually at the central square and may even share a wall with an ancient church. Across the square you'll see a small bar or a restaurant.

It's hardly a surprise to find a fronton court, church, and bar side by side. Play, spirit, and friendship are central to Basque culture.

What's at the center of your "community" and what does it say about the things you value?




Usually I consider a discovery to be something new, as if I had just tripped over it this morning. Today's discovery, however, is not new to me. I've been a member of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA) for more than ten years. But I do keep discovering new things through NASAGA on a weekly basis.

NASAGA is trainers, curriculum designers, professors, facilitators, and consultants who are committed to playful learning that's effective, interactive, and fun. They explore the use of not only games and simulations but also improvisational theater, storytelling, magic tricks, and many other techniques to enhance learning. The group boasts a very active list serve and on-line community which exchanges best practices and resources. This is NASAGA's most visible asset. It also publishes an on-line newsletter three times a year with interviews, ready-to-use games, and commentary. What makes these NASAGA resources so wonderful is that membership is free and just a few clicks away.

NASAGA's most valuable asset by far is its annual conference, this year to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana from October 15 - 18. The conference has a reputation for insightful keynote presentations, playful breakout sessions, and open sharing of tips, tricks, and techniques. All sessions emphasize action over theory so you'll have the chance to experiment with learning games as you learn about them. And at the conference, everyone is a colleague. The atmosphere of play and discovery tends to ease the professional barriers that can plague other conferences. You'll find yourself playing along side the person who was the presenter at your previous session!

It's not too late to reserve a space at the NASAGA conference in Indianapolis. In fact, early registration discounts end September 15! You can learn more about it, register, or sign up for the list serve at I look forward to seeing you there!



The Proposal Presentation Game

What would it be like to have play take a more central role in your life? Recently I accepted this challenge as my own when I prepared for an intense and conflict-laden meeting.

At a board of directors meeting, I was presenting a proposal to purchase some property. I needed their approval to take the next step and learn the seller's bottom line price. My proposal was complete, the I's and T's dotted and crossed, the "known unknowns" spelled out, but I was nervous. This was a tough group.

Because I wanted to keep my blood pressure below the boiling point I set myself this challenge: What if the meeting was a game? If it was a game, I wouldn't care as much about the outcome. Yes, I'd play hard, I'd play fair, but I would also have fun!

During the meeting, difficult questions were asked and several outrageous, illogical comments were made. I kept my cool, responded as best I could, and was even able to insert a few light witticisms. Surprisingly, the anxiety I had anticipated was not a problem.

Was my proposal accepted?

No, but I went home a winner! I'd done the best job possible, the meeting ended positively, and I was able to sleep soundly that night. Playing the Proposal Presentation game, I had been able to be fully engaged while staying detached enough to keep my emotions out of the equation and my bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinet!



It's Your Move

So now it's your turn in the "Life as Play" game. Take your time inventing the best strategy. You can make your move anytime, anyplace you like.

Are you dreading that discussion with your teenager, anticipating angry team members, plotting your route through rush hour traffic, trying to wrap up before a deadline? Or perhaps you'd like to start with something simpler. Try standing in the longest line at the grocery checkout!

Whatever you choose, instead of expecting the worst, plan for play. What can you do to make a potentially negative experience enjoyable or even fun? How might you be a little less serious but still stay focused on your goal? See if using your playful approach doesn't help sort the essential from the ephemeral.

Good luck, have fun, and when you make your move, please what happened!


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