In a Minute, But Not Yet
A Priceless Gem:
Do you have one of those "gems" in your bag of tricks that is so simple and so wonderful that you use it all the time and can't believe you didn't come up with it yourself? That is what this one is for me. I use this line in almost every activity I facilitate now.
Okay, here's the scenario. You're standing in front of a group, having just introduced the basic concept and goals of an activity. During your explanation, you say something like, "When I say 'Go,' you will then -(blah blah blah)." Suddenly, you've lost control of the group. The chatter begins. People start milling around. Chairs are scraping the floor. And no one is listening to what you are saying. You spend the next 3 to 5 minutes yelling, "Wait! Come back. I'm not done." You try in vain to get the focus back so that everyone hears what they need to know -- only to have déjà vu all over again.
Here's THE GEM: "In a minute, BUT NOT YET..."
That's it. So simple. So easy to remember. And, most importantly, it gets and keeps the group's attention. Obviously, the "but not yet" is key and should be stressed -- and sometimes you will need to say it twice. The 'but not yet' part lets them know that they need to keep listening before they act-and they actually do! I find this to be an effective group management tool that is not only helpful for you, but for your participants as well.
For you theatrical types, you can add a pause before and after the "but not yet" and raise an eyebrow for effect. You might get a chuckle or two, and people will be listening. Have fun with it.
Example: "In a moment [slight pause], but not yet...[eyebrow raise], I am going to say a two-letter word that begins with 'g' and ends with 'o' indicating that you may begin the activity - and begin talking."
Have fun out there,