Thiagi Group

Quick Situations

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30 - 458 + Low
Here's a debriefing card game that enables participants to reflect on a variety of situations and to come up with suitable action ideas


To allow participants to apply skills and knowledge from the training session to unexpected situations. This game helps in contextualizing theoretical concepts into real life and drawing out remaining questions and uncertainties.





    Below are the four criteria for generating appropriate situation cards:

    • Keep them brief. You are not writing a lengthy case for a business textbook. Come up with a short scenario that describes a relevant situation. Pretend that you are writing a 140-character twitter message.
    • Keep them authentic. Describe situations that participants could confront in their real-world jobs. (See also Variations below.)
    • Keep them generic. Don't write the situations to suit a specific skill or lesson. Include ill-defined, vague or grey situations from the real world. (See also Variations below.)
    • Keep them mixed. Don't limit yourself to negative situations. Include some positive events. You want to be sure that the participants can handle success as well as failure.


    Introduce the activity. Explain that the time has come for a review and debrief. You will challenge participants to apply their new skills to real world situations. They will need to think fast and expect the unexpected.

    Brief the participants. Run participants through the activity directions. Give them a copy of the directions to follow along with you.

    Prepare the room. Ask participants to stand and make space in the room—by pushing in chairs, and moving personal items under the tables).

    Distribute the cards. Give each participant one of the Situation Cards. Ask them to keep the card to themselves.

    Begin the activity. Ask the participants to form pairs and begin the activity according to the directions. As a facilitator, you can watch and count down the remaining time.

    Conduct small debriefs. At the conclusion of the activity, ask participants to form small groups of four to six people and compare cards. Allow them to talk and debrief each other for a few minutes.

    Prepare for a large debrief. After a few minutes, ask each small team to pick one card from their team for a large-group discussion. Encourage them to select the most common situation, the most challenging, the most difficult, or something worthy of the entire group's attention. Once they have chosen, they should give the card to one team member, return the remaining cards to the facilitator and return to their seats.

    Debrief as a group. Once all participants are seated, ask for one volunteer who has a chosen card to read it aloud. Ask this person what was the best response she heard. Ask which other participants encountered this card and what responses they got. Ask other participants to contribute their responses to the situation. Ask how common this situation is. Ask if there are variations on this situation that should be discussed. Continue the debrief through each of the chosen cards until all the key points have been raised.


    Have participants write the Situation Cards. For a suitable topic, you can ask participants to create the cards themselves. Careful instructions will be required to ensure a wide variety of situations (not just the obvious ones). You may want to form small teams and assign each team a theme (such as positive situations, negative situations, and unexpected situations) to ensure variety.

    Involve the facilitator in the game. There is nothing to stop you from participating in the game—it's a good way to sample how participants are applying the knowledge. If you are a SME, invite the participants to pair up with you when they encounter a particularly challenging situation. If you have an odd number of participants, your participation ensures that everyone gets to pair up.


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