One-Minute Openers and Closers (reposting)

I’ve been asked again about topic-related, learner-centered “Connections” (aka: openers) and “Conclusions” (aka: closers) for training programs. So I’m reposting four strategies that can be used with any topic and any group of learners. These activities will energize learners while actively engaging them in making connections and drawing conclusions.

TBRWkbkCoverFinalA4 1These topic-related, 60-second activities are grouped into two categories:

1. CONNECTIONS (also called openers) – These activities connect learners to the topic and to each other at the beginning of a class or training.

2. CONCLUSIONS (also called closers) – With these activities, learners (rather than the trainer) summarize what they’ve learned and state how they plan to apply the new information.

The connection and conclusion activities listed below are just a few of the dozens of interactive instructional strategies that participants experience in the 2-day train-the-trainer class: “Training from the BACK of the Room!”


1. Quick Start: Don’t post a title slide for participants to read as they walk into the room. Instead, post a slide that reads: “Quick Start: Introduce yourself to your those seated near you and tell them 3 facts you already know about the topic.” Then, when the training begins, invite them to do what the slide says to do, if they haven’t already done so. Give them about a minute to talk to each other before you begin the formal class introductions.

2. Top Take-Aways: Within the first 5 – 10 minutes of the class, have participants write their “Top Take-Aways” – their own personal learning goals – on large sticky notes and post the notes on a wall chart. My Agile and Scrum colleagues have taught me to give participants a “User Story” formula which participants copy to write their Top Take-Aways: “ As a _______ I want to _________ so that __________.” An example might be: “As a sales associate, I want to learn how to close a sale so that my customer is happy and my company makes money.” Give participants about a minute to write and post their Top Take-Aways.

ballCONCLUSIONS (Closers)

1. Celebration Ball Toss: Give each table group a small Koosh ball (any soft, squishy ball will do). Have participants stand and begin tossing the ball to members of their table group. The person with the ball verbally summarizes what he/she learned and how he/she plans to use this information. If the table groups are small (3 – 4 people), this activity will take about a minute. If larger (5 – 7 people), the activity can take 3 – 4 minutes. When done, participants give each other high-fives. Do this activity AFTER the evaluations so the class leaves on a positive, high-energy note.

2. Pop-Ups: For the instructions to this exciting conclusion activity, click on “60-Second Pop-Ups!” This article is a short, downloadable, detailed explanation of how and why this activity works so well and is so successful at the end of a class or training.

If you’re interested in finding out more about “Training from the BACK of the Room!” or “The Trainer Certification Course, click on the links above, or click on the registration links on the WHAT’S NEW? or TRAINING EVENTS pages. And for 3 more great openers and closers, click on the button below:


Thank you for reading!