(First published, May 2004)
I use Epigrams to provide an advanced organizer for my training sessions. It is a framegame into which you can load your own content.
Before the session, I collect or create several pithy sayings, quotes, aphorisms, adages, maxims, slogans, truisms, mottoes, proverbs, or one-liners related to the training topic.
At the beginning of the workshop, I distribute these pithy sayings in such a way that each participant gets two different epigrams and each epigram is given to two different participants.
I ask the participants to reflect on each epigram, discover its deep meaning, and identify its personal application. I warn the participants that they will be asked to make a short presentation on both epigrams they received.
After a suitable pause, I display one of the epigrams from the collection. I ask the two participants who reflected on it to take turns and make their presentations.
After the two presentations, I invite comments from the other participants. If appropriate, I ask the participants to vote (by their applause) to identify the better presentation.
I repeat the procedure with the other epigrams.
Sometimes I postpone the presentation for a later time (for example, after a coffee break or prior to the discussion of a specific topic).