The AMA Trainers' Activity Book: A Selection of the Best Learning Exercises from the World's Premiere Training Organization


"The American Management Association's seminar and course leaders are among the most insightful and skilled educators in the business, consistently delivering outstanding, innovative exercises to improve individual and organizational performance.

The AMA Trainers' Activity Book presents 25 exercises used successfully by AMA's seminar leaders throughout the world. Reflecting the most up-to-date concerns of participants, trainers, and managers, the book addresses fundamental learning categories including learning ...

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"The American Management Association's seminar and course leaders are among the most insightful and skilled educators in the business, consistently delivering outstanding, innovative exercises to improve individual and organizational performance.

The AMA Trainers' Activity Book presents 25 exercises used successfully by AMA's seminar leaders throughout the world. Reflecting the most up-to-date concerns of participants, trainers, and managers, the book addresses fundamental learning categories including learning and creativity, communication and connection, influence, compromise, problem solving, and leadership. Easily adapted for use with both individuals and teams, the collection includes exercises on topics such as:

• Making Great Decisions

• Clarifying Goals and Values

• Developing Your Brand

• Managing Difficult Projects

• Building a Positive Work Environment

You'll find eye-opening discussions of training issues such as:

• Information Retention

• Problem-Based Learning

• Focused Listening

• Perspective Switching

• And much more

In addition, a special activity template gives you all the information you need at a glance, and helps you incorporate the exercises seamlessly into your established routine, improving your training sessions immediately.

The AMA Trainers' Activity Book presents the combined efforts of the very best trainers and seminar leaders anywhere, in conjunction with the world's preeminent learning organization. It is a practical and comprehensive tool for better training, smarter learning, and higher performance in any organization."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814408148
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 6/3/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Nilson (Sandisfield, MA) is a recognized expert in all aspects of training. She has served as an advisor at organizations including AT&T, AMA, Hungry Minds, Padgett-Thompson, The World Bank, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Armed Forces Training Institute, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She is the author of How to Manage Training, Team Games for Trainers, More Team Games for Trainers , and more than 20 others books.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Preface xi
1 Getting from Seminar to Workplace
Introduction: Wisdom and Skills for the Learner 1
Developing the Seminar Roadmap 3
Information Retention: Make the Seminar Most Valuable 11
Closing Game for Success! 15
Problem-Based Learning: A New Teaching Tool 21
2 Learning and Creativity
Introduction: Wisdom and Skills for the Learner 37
The Mindreader Icebreaker: An Easy and Clever Card Trick 39
Protecting Ideas: The "P.I.N." Formula 45
Identifying and Leveraging Hidden Strengths 51
From You I Have Learned 59
Crossword Challenge: Making Your Own Crossword Puzzle 71
3 Communication and Connection
Introduction: Wisdom and Skills for the Learner 81
New Normal Coaching 83
Become the Audience 91
Interviewing 97
Focused Listening: Knees to Knees 109
The Disinclined Decision Maker: Partner Role Play Case Study 115
The Classroom Power of Cultural Diversity 125
4 Influence, Compromise, and Problem Solving
Introduction: Wisdom and Skills for the Learner 131
Famous Gary's/Famous Names 133
Perspective Switching 139
Good and Bad Politics 145
Forced Choice Values Clarification 157
Putting Together the Pieces 163
5 Management and Leadership
Introduction: Wisdom and Skills for the Learner 169
Where's the Gap Between Vision and Reality? 171
Brand Image Exercise: Developing a Snapshot of Your Brand Today 179
Managing a Simple Analytical Project 193
"Magical" Presentations 207
Building a Positive Work Environment: Changing Negative Norms into Positive Ones 227
Index 233
About the Editor 239
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First Chapter

The AMA Trainers' Activity Book

By Carolyn, Nilson


Copyright © 2004 AMACOM
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8144-0814-1


We begin Chapter 2 with a set-up for learning-a participatory and lively demonstration of the use of a learning tool. Seminar Leader Dr. Steve Albrecht has a card trick with a dual purpose. In addition to helping trainees focus on how to use learning tools, using the flashy card trick at the beginning of a seminar also sets the mood for creative teaching and the intentional learning that follows.

Steve comments that this icebreaker is useful for training programs in which the participants don't all know each other, such as public seminars. He suggests that it is also useful for on-site programs in which "participants come in acting like they know it all already." Starting a seminar this way focuses attention clearly on the seminar leader and smoothes the transition into learning.


* The card trick reminds the audience to use simple but effective tools in business situations that call for intelligent shortcuts, in other words, for problem-solving, brainstorming, team processes, staff meetings, training sessions, delegation of responsibilities, time management, and so on.


The card trick is a good, early icebreaker that sets the tone that the tools demonstrated and discussed during the training seminar are memorable, not too complex, and easy to master, use, and repeat. The card trick focuses trainees on the task at hand and encourages them to think creatively.


* To experience relief from early tension

* To create of a sense of expectation that the rest of the seminar will be unique, fun, and taught in many creative ways

* To experience the use of an effective learning tool


An ordinary deck of cards in its original cardboard box, with a thumbnail-sized square cut out from the bottom right corner of the box.


The instructor should be in the front of the room and should choose two participants from those sitting at a nearby table.


5 minutes


Before you do this icebreaker/card trick, cut a small, square, thumbnail-sized hole in the bottom right corner of the card box. Place the deck of cards back in the box with the card suit and number visible through the hole in the corner. The "trick" is easy to complete when you simply look at a card through the hole in the box. Read the trainee's chosen card to the crowd and enjoy their great amazement.


1. Pull an ordinary deck of cards (still in the box) from your jacket pocket and show it to the group.

2. Say, "I'm holding an ordinary deck of cards. I'm going to use it to show you how easy it will be for you to use the tools we will learn in this program."

3. Remove the deck from the box and hand the deck of cards to one of the seminar participants nearest to you. Hold the card box discreetly in one hand, covering the hole with the palm of your hand. Ask the trainee to show everyone "your best Las Vegas or Atlantic City card shuffling technique!"

4. After the person shuffles the cards at least once, ask him or her to hold the cards face down and fan them out in a semicircle. You can ask one of their nearby colleagues to choose one card from the deck.

5. Turn your back on the crowd as he or she prepares to do this. Ask the person to show the card he or she has chosen from the deck to the rest of the people in the room, saying "Tell me when it's safe to turn around, once everyone has seen your card. Before I turn around hide your card from my view."

6. When you turn around again and face the group, tell the person holding the card to place it on the bottom of the deck (held by the other person), facing the same direction as all the other cards, and hand the deck back to the person who first shuffled them.

7. As you hold the card deck box in your hand, ask the person who shuffled the cards to help you put them back into the box, with the design side up, and the face or numbered cards side facing down. Hold the card box tightly, with the "hole side" of the box facing down in your palm and your thumb on top.

8. Once the person has pushed the cards back into the box, step back away from the group, taking a quick moment to see the face and suit of the chosen card, as it appears through the hole in the box. Make a showy flourish of placing the cards against your forehead and explain that like Houdini, you've been blessed with the tool of ESP.

9. Make your first guess wrong, but only slightly. If the card is a three of clubs, guess that it's three of spades. Ask the group, "Is that correct?" The group will usually say no. Before they can correct you, tell them the actual card.

10. Wrap up the trick by saying, "Thank you!" and tossing the cards on to the table, acting as if you're ready to move on without explanation. Let the tension build for a moment and then hold up the box for the room to see and say, "You know, if you cut this little hole in the box, the trick is much less difficult than you might think."

11. Answer their inevitable groans by saying, "So you see, this is a perfect example of using tools to your advantage."


Name: Steven Albrecht

Address: Albrecht, Tau & Farrow 9528 Miramar Road #270 San Diego, CA 92126


Telephone: 619-445-4735

Dr. Steve Albrecht is the Senior Partner for the San Diego-based Albrecht, Tau & Farrow, a seminar and management consulting firm with offices in San Clemente and Long Beach, California. He teaches seminars on human resources subjects, negotiating, service management, and employee behavioral issues. He also provides management, supervisory, and employee coaching sessions in areas related to developmental or corrective issues. He has been a Seminar Leader for the American Management Association since 1996, facilitating AMA programs on supervision, management, and leadership.

A retired police sergeant, Steve is internationally known for his work with high-risk employee behavioral problems, workplace security concerns, and the prevention of workplace violence. He is the author or coauthor of 12 books, including: Added Value Negotiating (McGraw-Hill Trade, 1993); Service! Service! Service! (Adams Media Corp., 1994); Ticking Bombs (Albrecht Training & Development, 1994); The Timeless Leader (Adams Media Corp., 1995), and Crisis Management For Corporate Self-Defense (AMACOM, 1996).

He holds a doctorate in Business Administration, an MA in Security Management, and a BA in English. He is certified as a "Professional in Human Resources" (PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management and as a "Certified Protection Professional" (CPP) by the American Society for Industrial Security.

Steve Albrecht has taught these AMA seminars:

2538 The Brain Power Course: Learn to Develop Your Thinking Skills

2513 Negotiating to Win

2248 Management Skills for New Supervisors


Excerpted from The AMA Trainers' Activity Book by Carolyn, Nilson Copyright © 2004 by AMACOM. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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