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Think on your feet !

 



Not always easy to “think on your feet”: reacting to unexpected proposal during a meeting, responding to a difficult question while making a presentation, finding a way to break the ice during difficult negotiations, …

Much more difficult when it is not in your mother tongue.

Cambridge Training Institute created a workshop designed to help, those who feel very comfortable in English in most business and social situations (minimum C1 level on European scale), think on their feet and maintain their ability to communicate and convince in English when put under pressure. It clearly improves the ability to think in English as opposed to think in one’s mother tongue and translate.

It can be organised as a full or half day (4 or 7 hours workshop) during which participants are invited to be part of “improvisation games” which will give them multiple opportunities to “think on their feet”.

 After each game, there is a short feedback session to summarize key learnings and identify improvement opportunities. The trainer will select on a real time basis, the improvisation games that best fits the group level and dynamic.

Examples of improvisation games to be played in the workshop


 Warmups

Two Truths and a Lie

Each participant writes down three interesting facts about him or herself, two true statements and one false statement. Participants take turns reading them aloud and the class decides which statement is not true.

Selling lemons

Participants are shown pictures of ridiculous gadgets and asked to prepare a sales pitch to impress potential investors. Participants work out what the products could be used for, which develops creative muscles.


 Activities

“Alphabet” Improv Game :

This game consists of 26 lines of dialog. The first line starts with a given letter (say `R`). The reply to that line must start with an `S`, and so on, until the whole alphabet has been covered. After `Z` comes `A`. Players that hesitate, or use the wrong letter `Die`, and are replaced by another player. 

Yes And...

Players sit in a circle and build a story one sentence at a time.  Each sentence must begin with "Yes, And..."  Each sentence must refer to one statement from the previous sentence.  For example, if I say "Let's design a new logo for our company", then the next person might say "Yes, and the logo should be pink with flamingos”.  And the person after that could say something like "Yes, and we should market it to kids" and so on.  Since you don't know what the person ahead of you will say, you can't plan ahead.  A great improv activity to practice support and creative thinking.

Murder Mystery

In this game, the participants are collected at a dinner party. One character is chosen to be the victim and the other characters all have personalities, history and motives. One player is set aside to play the detective. The characters interact, trying to figure out who the murderer is while also trying to avoid suspicion. 

 After every character has been interviewed, the detective calls all characters together, discusses the motives for each character. Together, the group decides who the murderer is.

Fast-Forward/Rewind

In this game you will need to pick a “director” and the rest of the group will serve as actors. The actors will act out a scene and at any point the director can “rewind” or “fast-forward” the scene at which point the actors will adjust their scene accordingly. This is a great game for improving impromptu skills and also forces the actors to work in unison.

Dating Game

This guessing game is based off of a blind dating show. One player, the bachelor or bachelorette, leaves the room. Three other players, the contestants, are given their identities by the host. The bachelor(ette) comes back in the room and asks the contestants questions to figure out who or what they are. The contestants give hints about their identity in their answers to the questions. The game ends when the bachelor(ette) picks their favorite contestant or decides they don’t like any of the contestants.

Story, Story, Die

Players stand in a line on the stage. The host conducts the story by pointing at individual players. When the host points at a player, that player has to begin telling the story from where it left off and continue talking until another player is singled out. This could mean starting in the middle of a sentence, a word, or even speaking simultaneously.

 

The trainer

Angela studied theatre at Fairfield University (USA) and the British American Drama Academy (London). Angela completed her TEFL teacher training in Paris, France in October 2011 and since then has taught privately and in language schools in New York City, Paris and online. Most recently, she has been teaching test preparation (focusing on TOEFL, IELTS, SAT/ACT) and tutoring a variety of subjects including reading, writing, literature, and history. In addition to beeing a teacher, Angela is an actor, singer and published writer, possessing wonderful enthusiasm, performance skills, and a love of the English language.

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