New ideas from #charitymeetup

Who inspires you?

What new skill would you like to learn?

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

What legacy do you want people to remember about you?

These are just some of the questions I found myself answering on a dark Thursday evening last week. Not your average winter night out, but no less fun for all that.

Perhaps I should back up a bit and explain what I was doing contemplating deep questions like this on a February evening….

Last week I attended my first ever #charitymeetup. For a freelance internal communication specialist who focuses on clients in the not for profit sector, it seemed a great opportunity to meet like-minded souls, share tips and learn something new. The theme for this month was innovation and who doesn’t love a bit of newness and creativity? I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but new experiences are always worth exploring in my book.

Fortune teller
A fortune teller

The innovation theme kicked in early on. After a bit of free-for-all networking, where I guess most people talked to others they already knew (I know I did), we split into groups according to a key word on our name badges. Each group was given a ‘fortune teller’ game and that’s where the thought-provoking questions came in.

Fortune teller questions
The questions inside

For those that don’t know what a fortune teller is, a quick explanation. It’s a folded piece of paper with colours, numbers and questions on it. You put it on your fingers, move it about to spell the colour or count the numbers, then reveal a question to answer. Fortune tellers were all the rage in the playground at my school 30-odd years ago and they’re popular again today, according to my 8 year-old!

With our trusty fortune tellers in hand, we got to work getting to know the other people in our group. This was a fantastic ice-breaker, first as we giggled our way through remembering how to use the fortune tellers and then as we answered the questions. It was a clever way to learn more about the others in the group without having to trot out the same ‘what do you do’ and ‘what are you hoping to get from this evening’ networking questions. (Those always make me feel a bit like the queen, and not in a good way!) There was lots of laughter and energy in the room and the game got things going with a real buzz.

In my group we discovered things we had in common (a shared desire to make the world a better place – cheesy but true), learnt about each other’s interior design choices and passion for the work we do and discussed the possibility of forming a band – all 3 of us chose learning to play a musical instrument as our desired new skill!

The rest of the evening involved hearing about innovation and culture at Just Giving, playing an innovation game to plan an (imaginary) picnic and meeting other interesting people. I came away with new ideas, new contacts and a spring in my step. Plus I’ll be looking for opportunities to use fortune tellers in my training courses and other facilitated sessions in the future….

Until next time

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