If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I suppose I should have been quite flattered to be in the audience when someone used one of my exercises at a conference at which I was presenting. I wasn’t.
One of the exercises I’ve used for many years is “Stand Up If”. This exercise is one I learned from Izzy Gesell, author of Playing Along*, and adapted with his permission. When Jon or I use this game, we give credit to Izzy.
I suspect many of our readers will be familiar with this exercise, wherein statements are made and participants are asked to stand up if the statement is true for them. The individuals then remain standing till the next statement is read. If it is also true for them, they remain standing, if it is not, they sit down. This causes an up and down movement in the room that creates great energy. This is typically used for introduction purposes in workshops or presentation and Jon and I have delivered this many times at APMP events and used it to kick-off workshops we’ve presented.
The person delivering this exercise didn’t explain the rules of the game and it was obvious people weren’t sure what was going on. He began by just saying, “Stand up if you are attending this conference for the first time.” He then said, “Okay, sit down if you are a new member of APMP. What? Confusion rained and it continued to go downhill from there.
During one statement, while people were standing, this person spoke at some length about the conference and during this time those participants who had been standing sat down. He then said “Okay, now raise your hand if…” Excuse me? Raise your hand? In Stand Up If? That’s not how the game is played…and it certainly caused some confusion among the participants.
Suffice to say, the exercise did not go very well and I was not happy to see the exercise used and abused in this manner.
So, am I writing this just to complain? No. I’m writing this to point out a few important things related to the reuse of content.
Whether you’re using an exercise that you’ve participated in or, as is more often the case in the proposal world, re-using content, ALWAYS:
- Always get permission when using someone else’s intellectual property.
- Give appropriate credit.
- Last but not least (and in fact perhaps most importantly) don’t change the content in such a way as to diminish its quality and associated impact.