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Cheer Leadership Tip 20 - Poem Pooch Kick

I’m not sure that I’ve met many people who actually look forward to the regular, often boring, staff planning meetings. Break things up with the occasional mindbender. Pick a current office topic, pair up people who don’t typically work closely together and have them create a limerick on the subject. Here’s how: A limerick is a humorous poem consisting of five lines. The first, second and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables and must rhyme. The third and fourth lines only have to have five to seven syllables and will rhyme with each other.

Examples are actually some well-known rhymes: “Hickory, dickory, dock, The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, And down he run, Hickory, dickory, dock.”

“When writing a limerick five Is the number of lines to contrive, To write more or less The rule would transgress And our art of perfection deprive.” Wonderful, healing laughter will ensue at hearing the creativity (or lack thereof!) from fellow staffers.

Did you know that doing some type of mental exercise, in the form of brain teasers or word or number games can boost overall brain activity, increase memory power, reduce the risk of dementia, improve memory and brain processing speed, reduce boredom, and improve concentration?

There is no denying the benefits of routine and consistency, but when it comes to monotony and repetition in the workplace, a change of pace can be instrumental in maintaining optimal levels of productivity, engagement, and efficiency. In fact, one study found that when our brain is tasked with doing the same thing day in and day out and we lack mental stimulation, cognitive function can be impaired. Even being in the same surroundings day after day and looking at the same desk, walls, chair, etc. can start to trigger a sense of boredom and frustration.

One way to get your team’s collective brains flowing is to challenge their creativity and writing skills by having a limerick contest! Pair them up in twos or create teams of three or four based on how many employees are in your department. Working together will create stronger bonds and strengthen the friendships and connections that already exist on your team. Focusing their attention on something new will provide a mental refresh while providing a bit of laughter.

This week, I challenge you to challenge your team to pair up and create their own unique limerick. You can determine a main topic for the limerick or let them decide the theme. Take it a step further and challenge a neighboring group or department to a limerick battle. Have people vote on which team/group/pair comes up with the funniest, most unique rhyme!

FUN FACT: In 1845, Edward Lear published a book called ‘The Book of Nonsense’ in which he featured 72 limericks. This is the first history of limericks, which includes a published work. A later version, in 1872, updated the earlier work. In total, Lear wrote 212 limericks, mostly nonsense.


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