One of my favorite give-aways is the rainbow-colored mini slinky that comes in a variety of different shapes, such as stars, fish, hearts, and butterflies, as well as geometric shapes, like circles and hexagons. They are very easy to use as metaphors for any training content that emphasizes flexibility and resilience, such as responding to change, making effective presentations, or meeting the needs of different learning styles- or content that emphasizes extending yourself without losing yourself, such as assertive skills or risk taking. I’m sure you get the picture: they are extremely flexible (no pun intended)!
As the trainer, all you need to do is to ask the question: “How is [whatever the training content is] like a slinky?” Your participants will take off brainstorming and create their own meanings and references, to which you can return throughout the training session. There is also the extra added benefit that the slinkies are lots of fun to play with, keeping hands busy and minds active!
Although I really do NOT own any stock in Oriental Trading Company, it is very nice that they offer an assortment of 50 for less than $15. Just look for this under mini rainbow magic spring assortment.
Another favorite give-away is a small plastic kaleidoscope. When the participants look through their kaleidoscopes, they work beautifully focused on the colorful kites I put up on the walls. If your content is concerned with appreciating diversity or different perspectives (in team building, negotiation, or conflict management), or creativity, they are very relevant. The one drawback is that the plastic covers come off pretty easily, so I always warn participants not to take them with them if they or anyone around them, such as small children, might put them into their mouths! As a result, they often leave them.. In comparison, it is exceptionally rare that any participants leave the slinkies!
Next week, we’ll continue a discussion of my participants’ favorite give-aways and prizes, looking at bendables and bug-eyed novelties.