Sometimes training participants come back from break or lunch a few minutes late. Well, OK, this happens a lot of times. Years ago, I decided to create a fun penalty for tardiness. If you were late, you had to tell a joke, BUT it had to be a clean joke. If you couldn’t think of a clean joke, you had to sing a song … of my choosing: My Bologna Has a First Name or I’m a Little Teacup. My classes embraced this idea, and the number of late arrivals went way down. When students were late, we heard a good joke or had a musical interlude. If the participant sang Teacup, my students insisted that they act it out, too. Who knew?
One day, a student screeched through the doorway, just seconds before the deadline. She smiled at me and said, “Someone tried to stop me, but I told them I had Barbara, and they had to tell me a joke to stop.” The person didn’t offer a joke, and she didn’t stop. The class loved it.
One note to keep in mind, this tactic does NOT work with sales people. I tried it once, and only once. Several of my students lingered just outside the door until they were late. They all had a joke to tell!
And then there was the class that turned the game on me. I always returned from lunch at least five minutes early. But on this day, I walked into a room full of waiting students. They shook their heads and pointed at the clock. I was late! Confused, I checked my watch. It said I was early. I shook my wrist and tapped the watch dial, deciding the battery must be dying. I shrugged my shoulders and told a joke. Then, they took the clock off of the wall and reset it to the correct time. Bazinga! They got me.
Although I rarely use this method these days, it started my journey of finding wacky ways to liven up the day and keep us laughing while learning. A little fun never hurt anyone.