overstatementOverstatement is a form of exaggeration, only more specifically related to an individual’s response.

This is how overstatement works:

  • Take a situation, ideally one that’s loaded with a bit of tension.
  • Find the logical response. What would you normally expect to happen?
  • Do the opposite. Make the response unexpected and irrational.
  • Exaggerate to make the response wildly inappropriate.

Here are a few examples of wildly inappropriate responses:

- Pulled over for speeding. Apologise by offering the policeman a beer.

- Having marital problems. Hire a stunt double to sub in for heated arguments with the misses.

- Providing pole vaulting classes for prison inmates.

So let’s apply this technique to our Funny Business challenge of ‘making training more memorable’ and see what creative solutions can be extracted…

  1. Instead of feedback forms, participants could hold up Olympic-judge-style scorecards or maybe each participant has a Britain’s Got Talent style buzzer and when 3 crosses light up the trainer has to change the act to be more entertaining. Take this further and the trainer could be wired up to an electric shock system and they get a small jolt if they are not inspiring. Combining these ideas could lead to the following creative solution…. People are given colour coded place cards that they can flip over when they are confused. The trainer would immediately gain feedback and be able to instruct the group and particular individuals with greater effect. This would provide a means of giving ongoing feedback rather than just at the end when nothing can be done about it.
  2. Why manually split the group into teams for break-out sessions when you could instate team captains to pick ‘players’ in turn? Reminiscent of football practice at school, inevitably, those with the weakest skills will be picked last (oh the painful memories). However, turning this into a creative solution, you could run an exercise where you assign certain people a persona with a prominent character flaw and captains have to pick their teams to best effect from the selection of ‘skills’ on offer e.g. ‘know it all’, ‘nitpicker’, ‘bully’, ‘apathetic’, ‘overbearing’, ‘follower’. This would demonstrate how different personas can affect group dynamics and how to overcome their ill effects. It would be a great exercise for soft skills training e.g. facilitation, management and leadership styles.

So that’s overstatement. There will be more Funny Business very soon…


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Simon Jack

Creative Re-Director at Creative Encounters
Jack of all trades... master of a few too!

Creative communicator and consultant who likes to do things differently and empower others to come up with winning ideas and create a major stir.
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