FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Get People Talking and Listening!

Dec 14, 2020 Written by Ken Patton, 1999 WFA Winner & Allen Gregory, 2019 WFA Winner





Recently, we got to see some awesome people who wanted to #WalkLikeWoodie - way to go Camdenton LASER!

Do you know what else Woodie was great at? Listening!

With the challenges of communicating while keeping some distance, let us think about effective ways to get people on your robotics team talking and listening to each other. It is a challenge under normal circumstances, right? But it is always important. Conversation engages our newer students in the excitement of robotics, and in a crazy year like this, it is more important than ever to be part of something, as special as FIRST Robotics. 

One favorite way to get newer students involved is to have frequent opportunities where each student is asked to speak about a particular topic. Not only does everyone get a chance to give their input, but more importantly, those people who are not as vocal can have a chance to "own the floor." It's a good way to get some feedback and ideas from less talkative and newer people, especially if they are the first ones to speak! Sometimes the most creative ideas come from someone new to the game...

Another option is to get people talking about subjects they know. Robotics is new to a lot of students; it is often hard to speak on a topic you have not yet learned. Team building activities focused around subjects that everyone knows can provide a way for everyone to feel more comfortable. One example is splitting your team into small groups and asking them to rank their favorite fruits, candy, or Disney movies. Then each member would share in the small groups and by the end, everyone will present at least once. This lets the members get comfortable speaking in small groups and presenting to the whole team without a lot of pressure.

Here's hoping that your teams are putting things in place to make sure that ears are open for all the voices on our teams!

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