I learned this one a few months ago and have been using it in retrospectives and in some of the training I have been part of.  It’s called “Fortunately/Unfortunately”. I explain that this warm up exercise helps with communication skills by making the participants actively listen to what the previous person said and then responding appropriately.

The instructions are quite simple. The first person in the group starts a sentence with “Fortunately” and the next person follow up on the sentence with “Unfortunately”.  It’s important that they listen to what was said and make their sentence follow the same theme.  During one session I had started with “Fortunately my wife is pregnant” and the next person, who obviously wasn’t paying attention stated “Unfortunately the Raptors are out of the playoffs.”.

I use the “Fortunately my wife is pregnant” when I am explaining the game to the group because it also loosens them up and gets them laughing as I follow that statement up with “Unfortunately the baby isn’t mine”!

During this exercise there is a lot of laughter and creativity, which really helps everyone loosen up before your session.

Difficulty: Easy