Yellowfire Press

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By Ivan Scheier
@ -- permission for use-with-acknowledgment

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1999 Note: This is essentially an earlier version of "The Glad Gift Game," and was originally presented in "The Bridge: A Guide for Networkers" a 1981 publication, now out of print, from Yellowfire Press, Boulder. Colorado. 

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Demonstrate the Glad-Give concept in an exercise that enables people to easily exchange their glad-gives and needs. Can also be used as a connecting method in ongoing networks.

TIME: from 30-50 minutes

NO. OF PARTICIPANTS: over 15 works well, up to 100 is possible

MATERIALS NEEDED: Five 3X5 cards for each person, straight pins or tape

A. Explain the idea of a glad give (see text).

B. In small groups (3-5 people)

1.share first thoughts of glad gives related to the purpose of the group.

2.brainstorm and share individual needs.

(Both of these for the purpose of clarification and to give individuals time to start thinking about their own glad gives and needs.)

C. Have everyone who wants to participate write 2-3 of their glad gives on a card with their name and phone number (one glad give per card). Affix cards by pin or tape to sleeve, chest, etc. for others to easily read.

D. Walkabout the room: mix, mingle, keep moving. After clarification and negotiation, any person who sees a glad give they can use picks it up. It is then their responsibility to arrange with the glad give person a time and place convenient to that person for the transaction.

E. To preserve balance in the system, no one can donate more than one or two glad gives until they get at least one for themselves. In about 10 minutes of walkabout, virtually all participants either have given or received at least one glad give, typically. Allowing people to write further glad gives as they move around further opens up the process.

F. The walkabout can continue for hours so you’ll need to let the group know the time frame you’re working under. You can help the group debrief with a discussion on the following:

--what matches were made?

--did you feel you were balancing the give and take relationship with others?

--how often could you do this exercise in this group before all possible matches were made?

A more extensive process for matching glad-gives to needs is called Mini-Max and is described in The New People Approach Handbook, by Ivan Scheier, Yellowfire Press, 1981.

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The Trade Up Game @ 
(Thanks to Maureen Watkins who re-organized this material and greatly improved it formatting.)

Trade-Ups mainly involves the exchanging of items and services. But this is not just any kind of trading, certainly no the type that victimizes one person for the advantage of the other. Nor is this the closely calculated equal value barter system. The Trade-Ups takes it name from the concept of a trade in which both parties feel they have gained more than they gave. This is only possible when each person trades something of relatively low cost to them, while receiving something of higher value.

Thus, say you are a skilled assertiveness trainer and have already given this training to your staff. Now your staff needs to know about grant-writing. You find a trainer in grant-writing and offer to give his/her staff as assertiveness training workshop in exchange for a grant-writing session. The other trainer is thrilled because he/she has been wanting to offer that sort of training to his/her staff and finds it easy to give you group the training it wants.

((((Other examples: I have extra furniture in reasonably good condition I don’t need anymore. I give it to the Salvation Army which, with its clients does value it highly. They give me justification for a tax deduction which I value highly… any exchange of surpluses between people where one person’s not highly valued surplus becomes the other person’s (relative) treasure… I have so many (name of plant) in my garden they’re going to need thinning. My neighbor has none of these plants and really likes them, so comes over to thin them for me and take some. Meanwhile he’s driving up to Albuquerque next week, I need a ride there, and its not extra trouble or expense for him to take me along….))))

While not all trade-Ups are this clear cut, each person can exchange what is easy to give for a high value item. This produces a truly magical increase in value for bother parties through knowledgeable identification and connection of win-win trading partners.

To acquaint group members with the concept of trading low cost items for high value items in a mutually satisfactory exchange.

To Understand concepts of "Value-increase" interaction

TIME: 1 hour or longer, depending on the size of the group

Paper cut into strips

Facilitator explains the principles of Trade-Ups (see introduction)

Form groups of 4-8 people and ask each person to take several minutes to write their trades on slips of paper. Each writes 4-6 tradable items or services.

Begin the game with one person reading aloud his/her tradables. If he/she finishes without any takers, proceed to the next reader on the left.

Anyone interested in the tradable being read can:

1.Ask for clarification of the item being offered;
2.Negotiate as needed;
3. Take the person’s name and phone number to arrange the exact trade later. Note: the trades does not necessarily have to be two-way. A could give to B who gives to C, who then give to A.

The person who takes the trade then becomes the reader in order to become a giver after being a receiver. This helps enforce the one-up rule: You can’t get ahead more than one give or take.

Gives X      
Takes X X X X  

This person cannot take another unless she/he gives another.

After trades within the circle have been exhausted, the group can rotate and begin trading again with new people from other small groups.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask the group to evaluate the game. What suggestions for improvement would they make?
  2. How did the small group function?
  3. What made trading easy? What made it difficult?
  4. What kinds of resources were traded? What might be traded if you do this again?
  5. In what other settings could this activity be successful?

As the final example in the first-page footnote indicated, there’s such a thing as "do-it-anyhows" that can be traded between people, much as are trade-ups. Related, are "have-it-anyhows."

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Ivan Scheier
607 Marr
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 87901
Tel (505) 894-1340

For comments and editing suggestions please contact Mary Lou McNatt