Issue 24
Learning CAN be fun. Training SHOULD be fun. Training Games ARE fun!
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In this Newsletter...

The "Doogie" Mouse, LTP and Learning
About ten years ago scientists from Princeton University gave us the "Doogie" mouse ( Named after Doogie Howser, TV's phenom "kid" medic, Doogie Howser M.D. Doogie, you see, is a transgenic mouse. He has been scientifically converted into perhaps, the smartest mouse on the planet! Genetically engineered to have better than average LTP or Long Term Potentiation. When our neural connections or synapses undergo LTP, we, quite simply, learn. Here's more on LTP.

It is the classic aha effect. The instructor lectures and provides some information but it does not sink in. The instructor offers a metaphor to help students grasp the information but still to no avail. The instructor plays a fun TGI Game to further review the information and suddenly….. aha, the student gets it, and LEARNS. Okay, so I got in a commercial.

This LTP phenomenon has everything to do with a wonderful neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate is unique as neurotransmitters go. It is extremely excitatory, and has this dual receptor system (sounds like some kind of hotrod huh). Typically neurotransmitters float from one neuron to the next, and in a "Lock and Key" way, link with receptors on the membrane of the receiving neuron. This is the way our nervous system sends messages which travel through our neural networks. Ah, but glutamate in the brain's cortex and hippocampus exhibits two types of receptors. And although a little glutamate may get a rise out of receptor number one, this connection, this synapse, is not potentiated until enough glutamate is introduced into the system to explode that second receptor. Once this occurs, the synapse undergoes this magnificent change with all kinds of special stuff happening like more receptors coming out of storage with even greater receptivity and all lining up on a newly structured dendritic spine specially designed so that this excitatory wavelet's of energy can spread further. The synapse has changed, the connection is stronger, and an idea, a thought, a fact, has been learned.

So barkeep, pour me another cup of glutamate, RIGHT? Well it's not that easy. But there are things that enhance this thing called LTP. Happy neurons are energized neurons. So learning has a lot to do with your physical state and energy levels. Your brain uses about 1/5th of your available energy everyday. This is why you don't want to go into your next exam, an interview, or a fight with your wife, physically depleted. Secondly, a little stress is good; in fact, another name for a little stress is stimulation. You're attentive, you're focused, and you're ready to learn. A lot of stresses however, say a couple of hours of stressing, reeks havoc with our ability to learn and remember. That is why the environment that we learn in is important and impacts our ability to learn. So instructor, keep on using music, icebreakers, and engaging exercises to keep energy levels high, stress levels low, and learners learning.

Famous Quotes
Cesare Pavese - "Lessons are not given, they are taken."

Joseph Joubert - "To teach is to learn twice."

Products From TGI
Contact [email protected] or call 602-750-7223

The PowerPoint Presentation Game 4.0- NEW!
Step 1. Bring your entire PowerPoint presentation into the Presentation Game, it's a snap, and it's so easy!
Step 2. Now add in our fun and fully animated TGI Interactive Game Slides to engage your audience, enhance your presentation and energize your program.
Step 3. With just a push of one button our automated scoreboard and many great game features are instantly added to ALL of the slides in your presentation.


It takes less than a minute to transform any PowerPoint presentation into an Interactive PRESENTATION GAME.

Game Scoreboard - One click scores up to 36 players or as many teams as you'd like. The scoreboard can be closed or collapsed during your presentation, easily accessed when you need it, and adjusted for the number of teams or players in the game.

Random Selectors - Randomly select a team/player, game points, or fun game exercises. Get creative developing different game rules & activities for your various program presentations

Use our sample exercises or create your own fun and randomly selected activities!

Random # Selector - You input the selection range. Select the # of points, # of turns, # of spins or the # of questions a team will receive.

Use the Mini-Game or Grid point selector to award BONUS POINTS!

"Ready to go" game slides that contain animation, sounds and engaging participative game action. Easy to use true/false and multiple choice questions slides!

Quickly add interactive game slides into your presentation. Play a Feud Game, or have players or teams unscramble keywords using the colorful Word Jumble Game.

The 10,000 Dollar Pyramid Game. Teams give and get clues to "Describe Things That …" , or play a round of The Match Game. Edit these slides to include and enhance your own program materials.

Introduce and score fun and participative exercises in the middle of your PowerPoint Presentation. Your audience will rave about you and your ability to make a presentation come alive!

Engage your audience with this wide array of PowerPoint participative games. ALL contained in the TGI Interactive Slides Presentation. ALL editable, ALL animated and ALL ready for you to use.

Use pre-formatted slides as fun icebreakers and team builder games. We've even included a "Break Time" slide complete with intermission music and a 15 minute or 1 hour countdown clock!

The game slides included with the Presentation Game 4.0 are completely editable. You'll enjoy viewing all the game, question, team meeting and role playing pre-formatted slides included with the Presentation Game.

Other features of the Presentation Game include the ability to connect a USB buzzer system to the game for "Quick Response" quiz games, fun random good and bad sounds (20), a rules/notes pop-up, adjustable point multiplier and an easy to use setup screen for customizing your game features.

Need a presentation to import? TGI offers a wide range of PowerPoint Presentation Content from Customer Service to Coaching, and from management to Motivation. To see our PowerPoint Content, click here.

Need more information on the Presentation Game? Click here to open the PDF Help file which is included with the Presentation Game. Click here to open a brief PowerPoint presentation to guide you through the steps for creating and playing the Presentation Game.

Single User Lifetime License only $99.99 - Buy Now

10 Tips for Coaching Excellence
This article was written by Rich Meiss and reprinted from the TEAM Approach website at You'll find other great articles and team building information here!

Rich Meiss, contributed this article. If you are involved in training any type of team leader, supervisor or manager I'm sure you will see applications immediately.

Raise your right hand. Now, pat the top of your head with your hand. Now, put your hand on your right ear. Now touch your nose. Now touch your chin. Now put your hand down.

Were you able to easily comply with my instructions? When I do this exercise in a seminar, I find I usually get 100 percent compliance! Everyone in the group is able to follow my directions. And then I ask the key question: Why were you able to comply with my directions?

After a few moments, participants begin to share their answers: "Because you were clear with your directions." "Because we know the difference between our right and left hand." "Because we all know what a hand, ear, nose and chin are." And of course, all those are right answers.

The point that I make is that to be effective in coaching people, we have to start with some common language and definitions. I then ask these questions:

 * What is the definition of "good" customer service?
 * What does it mean to put in a "good" day of work?
 * What does being "on time" really mean?
 * Does everyone in your organization share the same language and definition around these important concepts?

Unfortunately, the answer to that last question is no. Because people were raised differently, have different values, and have unique life experiences, each of us has our own definition around those concepts. For example, some people believe that to be "on time," they need to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Others believe that 8:00 means 8:00 . And still others believe that 8:00 means that as long as I get there by 8:15 , I will be okay.

The most important lesson I've learned about coaching is that the coach (manager, parent, teacher, etc.) needs to be clear about what his/her standards are. What does "good" look like? What does being "on time" really mean? What is the definition of an acceptable day's work?

When you have an employee who is not performing up to the standards, the first question to ask yourself is: "Have I shared with him/her what the standards are – have I defined what "good" looks like?" This idea has become my most important learning in coaching people. Until we define what "good" looks like, it is impossible for people to know if they are operating according to our standards. As we teach in our Coaching with Confidence program, "If you don't have a goal, you are not coaching, you are meddling!" Good coaches clearly define the vision, values, goals and standards of the project first, in order to coach effectively.

So here are my Ten Best Coaching Tips, based on my experiences with people:

1. Identify the vision, values, goals and standards of the project. Let people know what "good" looks like.

2. Recognize good performance. "When you see it, say it!" ("Joe, I've noticed you've been at your desk taking calls by 8 a.m. every day this week – thanks, and keep up the good work.")

3. Confront poor performance. Remember that "what I allow, I teach!" ("Joe, I noticed that you came in 15 minutes late yesterday. Remember, I need you here at 8 a.m. every day, ready to take calls. Is there any problem with you being able to meet that standard?")

4. Coach for values as well as results. How you do it is as important as what you do!

5. Be specific in describing behaviors and/or words. What did you see or hear?

6. Become a confidant to others. Help them discover their own best solutions, because "people don't argue with their own data!"

7. Motivate people in the direction you/they want to go, rather than away from what you/they want. "What I really want is …," or "What do you really want?"

8. Help people recognize the impact of their behavior. "When you do this, the result is…!"

9. Use consequence statements for managing very difficult behavior. "When you do this, this will be the result!"

10. Remember the difference between managing and coaching. Managing is about "getting things done," while coaching is about "growing people while getting things done"!

Copyright Meiss Education Institute, 2003. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Coaching Survey
Take the following survey by answering yes or no to these questions. If your answer to two or more questions is "no," please call us for some help on turning your managers into effective coaches.

Our managers know the difference between coaching and managing.

1. Our coaches/managers know how to confront poor performance.

2. We do a good job of recognizing excellent performance – we know how to acknowledge it correctly.

3. Our coaches/managers have a plan to effectively facilitate and resolve conflict between employees.

4. We understand the five key roles of coaches and how to carry them out.

About the author: Rich Meiss has played a key role in the Human Resource profession since 1972, holding executive positions with Personal Dynamics Institute, Carlson Learning Company and now in his own company, Meiss Education Institute

Copyright Meiss Education Institute, 2003. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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