Best of the Best


The following gem of an idea—useful and beneficial both in and out of the workplace—comes from

Want to create an instant sense of gratitude while connecting with those around you? Play ‘The Best of the Best.’ Mary used this game as a way to help her kids stay in a place of gratitude over dinnertime conversation. In play, it sounds something like this: What’s the best thing that happened at school today? What was the best thing you learned? What was your best laugh?

After a while, your brain begins to naturally scan your experiences looking for those positive elements that keep us grateful. For Mary’s kids (as for any of us), it leaves little room for complaining—or for casting those clouds of ingratitude—over valuable family time. It’s a good strategy to use to shift the negative energy of any meal-time conversation. My mom is at that age where at dinner she plays, “Guess who died today?”, “you’re not going to believe what happened to…” or “OMG, did you see what Trump tweeted?” Not the best way to get the most out of your asparagus! Today, I quickly gain control with ‘The Best of the Best’.

And guess what? It works just as well in company meetings.

See for yourself. At your next meeting, notice how often the boss or even staff launch into their issues about things that are going wrong. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to focus on gratitude. But you can turn this thinking (and unproductive chatter) right around. Start by asking a question such as, “What’s the best thing that happened since we last met?” or “Can someone please share a positive customer experience this month?” or maybe “Who can share a recent experience where an employee went above and beyond for another employee?” Watch the body language change and the energy shift for the best!

Seeking the best of the best sets a positive, grateful tone for the rest of the meeting.

It’s a game that’s also a game-changer!

When I was President of the National Speakers Association in 2004-05, I had the good fortune of traveling to 35 state chapters and seven international associations. On many occasions, I would go to dinner with the board of directors the night before a meeting. Usually, I knew some in the group, but not all. I often suggested that we play ‘The Best of the Best’ with one simple question, “What are you excited about either personally or professionally?” The game was an ideal way to become acquainted with people in the context of gratitude. And Mr. Negative, who many times likes to dominate a dinner conversation, had no choice but to remain quiet. Guess he realized he wasn’t invited to this celebration! Over the years, I have used this simple game to bring out the best in people and shift many a negative conversation to one of gratitude. And good news flash, this is a game that you can play with yourself to quickly change negative thoughts, emotions, or self-doubt to ones of gratitude. So what are you grateful for today?

According to Don Ginn, “Celebration, in the highest sense, is an elegant combination of joy, love, and gratitude. It serves as a vehicle for the very essence of life to flow through us and share its gifts with the world.”

So add a little gratitude to a ride in the car, the dinner table, any reception or reunion, or to start off any organizational meeting by playing ‘The Best of the Best.’ You’ll be glad you did.

Written by:

Scott Friedman

Scott Friedman, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) and former President of the National Speakers Association (NSA), is an internationally sought after professional speaker and author. As a motivational humorist, Scott inspires and entertains with engaging, interactive, and content-rich programs. Scott’s main areas of expertise are employee innovation & engagement, customer experience, and creating a happier, more connected workplace and life.

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