Tip #184: Favorite Give-Aways #1

My favorite give-aways are the thematic and seasonal ducks, duckies and duckys from Oriental Trading Company. If you go to http://www.orientaltrading.com, you will find them for every holiday (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter), for occasions (happy birthday, graduation, baby shower, bride and groom, fiesta, rainy day, and snow flake), many careers( pirate, cowboy, rock star, armed forces, professional, camouflage nurses, mad scientist, teacher, and star student), for a variety of themes (patriotic, pink ribbon, angel, devil, fairy tale, bingo, Chinese, over the hill, and luau), for pets (dogs, cats, and unicorn), and for sports (golfer, football and cheerleader of every color, basketball, soccer, baseball, ninja, biker, and referees). Every time I check the site, they have new ducks from which to choose. This time, it was the mad scientist and the golfer!

Most of the ducks are yellow or orange, with very colorful attire and appendages- except for the devil ducks, which are bright red with horns! I have found that many participants get a kick out of the devil ducks! Unfortunately, they’ve been out of stock for a while., but you can keep checking. Their catalog number is IN-32/717.

Just bear in mind that, to find the duck you want, you need to search the Oriental Trading Company website using duck, duckie, ducky and rubber duck!

It is really amazing what participants will do to earn a duck! Since the ducks are very light to throw, I also don’t bean anyone when I throw them erratically, which is my typical style! Because there are at least four and often six different kooky styles of every duck in the package of twelve, folks often like to collect more than one.

I’ve been having fun using ducks as give-aways for several years, but I only just recently saw this beautifully affirming article about ducks as symbols of versatility from DailyOM:

“July 23, 2007
Symbols Of Versatility

If you are lucky enough to live in a part of the world that is also a home to ducks, you will no doubt be familiar with the image of their cute feathery bottoms sticking up in the air as their heads disappear under the surface of the water. Perhaps you’ve even taken a moment to wonder what they see in their underwater world, and if they will resurface with a fish or a water bug in their beaks. As we observe them, we see that ducks are denizens of three worlds—the world of air, the world of water, and the world of earth. As such, they have adapted themselves to be able to swim, fly, and walk, and they seek and find nourishment in more than one place. They are symbols of versatility and can inspire us to explore our own ability to adapt and find nourishment in a variety of places.

Ducks are able to float, swim, and dive into the water, fishing for food. They can walk on the ground, eating vegetation and bugs, and they fly in the air to travel long distances relatively quickly. Equipped with feet that are equally good at paddling and walking, as well as wings to fly, ducks seem comfortable in just about any natural environment. Next time you see a duck bottom, you might be inspired to examine your own ability to both float on the surface and to dive beneath it. In many traditions, water symbolizes the emotions—to duck our heads into our emotions means we are able to surrender our minds to our hearts, to go into the watery realm of feeling and see what there is to see, often coming to the surface with nourishment and treasure.

At the same time, we share the duck’s ability to get solid ground under our feet by connecting to the earth on which we live simply by walking on it. And finally, when we reside in our spirits, we fly above the mental, emotional, and material realms, free of all the ties that bind us to this earth, traveling faster and farther than we ever thought possible.”

This article is printed from DailyOM – Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day. For more information, visit dailyom.com.

Since our focus as trainers is to encourage and support versatility and resilience in the face of all sorts of changes, it is truly serendipitous that these funny and charming rubber ducks are available to us!

Tracy Adams of Abn Amro has some wonderful ideas to share:

“First, thanks (again, maybe – I think I’ve written to you before) for this email service. Although I have been in the training business for two decades, I still find interesting tidbits, and enjoy hearing from your other readers.

As a practitioner who regularly uses both toys and give-aways, I have a couple of comments to share:

1) While toys can simply serve the purpose of stimulating participants (i.e., keeping them awake through the afternoon energy slump and giving kinesthetic learners – which I refer to as ‘movers and shakers’ – a place to focus their active energy), I have always found that the most effective and value-producing give-aways are ones that tie in a fairly direct way to the class. To just give participants something to work for is okay, but we bring more value to the organization if the item ties to the subject and continues to reinforce the info/message after the class.

2) Don’t rule out “do it yourself” take-aways. During a customer service session, we provide stand-up “super heroes” to participants. These are figures we created from clip art and print on thick paper. There is a place for participants to write a message on the figure. During the session, we have them create their own personal customer service mission statement and record it on the super hero figure. Just last week I walked by a former trainee’s desk and saw the figure posted there – from 6 years ago! I asked him how he felt he was doing with his mission statement, and he said, ‘Having this posted here, I find that every day I find some new way to live up to it.’ Good for him, good for the organization.

Thanks again for keeping the learning light shining!

Tracy Adams
CTP.CA, CPLP • First Vice President, Trainer • TB NA Training and Development”

Tracy, thank you so much for writing and reminding us all how important it is to tie take-aways to the class content whenever possible. In past Tips, we’ve discussed the use of metaphor and related do-it yourself take-aways in accelerated learning training, such as creating tiny bridges for a workshop on Building Respect in the Workplace and decorating tiny trees with fake fruits and flowers for a workshop on Building Positive Partnerships. I absolutely love the idea of the clip art super hero figure with a personal customer service mission statement! What a creative and elegantly simple take-away that is incredibly powerful and clearly has had a lasting impact on the participants!

I also get a kick out of your reference to kinesthetic learners as movers and shakers,” Tracy. You’ve got a great sense of humor and you are absolutely right about them!

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