If you are working with a group of multicultural participants who speak different languages, this playful jolt will deliver a major impact. Based on an improv activity, this jolt requires the ability to think on your feet. I frequently use Closing Gibberish as a review activity near the end of my training session.
In the description of this jolt, I am assuming English is the language of instruction. My apologies if you’re training in some other language. You should have no difficulty making suitable adaptations.
To review key concepts from the training session.
Minimum: 3, maximum: any number, best: 12 to 30
Brief the participants. Near the end of the training session, announce playfully that you have recently acquired the amazing ability to understand any language spoken anywhere on the planet. Explain that you are going to use this ability to conduct a review of the training content.
Invite a speaker of some other language. Ask for volunteers who speak a language other than English. Select one of the volunteers and find out what language he or she speaks.
Ask a review question. Come up with an easy, open-ended question and ask this question in English.
Listen to the answer. Ask the respondent to provide a brief and accurate answer in the non-English language. Listen intently to the answer while mentally rehearsing a suitable answer that would likely be given by the responder. When this person finishes answering in the other language, immediately give a fluent answer in English, pretending to translate what the respondent said.
Repeat the question-and-answer interactions. Thank the respondent for giving such a thoughtful answer. Ask for any other volunteer who speaks a different language. If no one else is available, work with the same respondent. Ask another review question in English and “translate” the answer from the other language. Repeat this activity a few more times.
Empower volunteer translators. By this time, most participants would have caught on to what you are doing. Tell everyone that you are transferring your linguistic skills to a few others in the room. Ask anyone who feels a sudden increase in his or her linguistic intelligence to stand up.
Continue with a new question. Invite the volunteer to ask a review question in English. Ask a respondent to answer this question in some other language. When the answer is complete, ask the volunteer to translate it into English. When done, congratulate the volunteer for his or her fluent mastery of the other language.
- You can guess the answers given in other languages to your questions by paying attention to the context.
- You can fool some of the people some of the time. If you do this in a playful spirit, your audience members will enjoy your make-believe expertise.