“Brain Breaks” and other mental stimulation are valuable for increasing group performance as measured by the velocity and innovativeness of ideas. Use Google’s Ngram Viewer as a way to stimulate group energy, teambuilding, and topic related discussion—all at the same time.
For example, in the chart and result above, we compared the occurrences of the terms ‘war’ and ‘peace.’ As you can tell, the use of both terms are on a decline, amplifying the many shades of grey that exist between these two end states. The term ‘war’ remains largely prevalent and the term ’peace’ experienced a slight rise during the Viet-Nam conflict era, the 70’s.
Comparing the term ‘facilitator’ with ‘dictator’ we surprisingly discover that the term ‘facilitator’ become more popular (as measured by frequency of use) around 1995 and the trend appears to be increasing. The message is clear. If you want to be more popular, be a facilitator and not a dictator! Oh well, have some fun on your own, and help get participants back from breaks and lunch in a timely fashion with this tool. For other “Brain Breaks” do not forget to access your FAST alumni resources.
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs)
- Fun with Google Books Ngram Viewer (householdopera.typepad.com)
- ngram.sh: a script for extracting Google Ngram data (opendna.com)
- How to Facilitate Three Actions We Take Next (mgrush.com/blog)
- On Being Neutral – Take Only Photographs, Leave Only Bubbles (mgrush.com/blog)
- Google Labs’ NGram Viewer: what we learned from 5 million books (nextlevelofnews.com)
- Live post: In search of the first use of ‘Data/Information Visualization’ (visualisingdata.com)
- How not to do things with words. (tedunderwood.wordpress.com)
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Building consensus helps groups identify gaps, omissions, overkill, and confirm the appropriateness and balance of their action plan.