31: Using Engaging Content for the Win with Sharon Fisher

We are happy to have Sharon Fisher, the CEO and Founder of the company, Play With A Purpose, joining us on the show today! Sharon has been playing with a purpose for the last thirty years, and she has been doing it with the clear objective of helping organizations integrate fun into their learning processes.

In today’s episode, Sharon discusses the difference between engagement and content. You will learn that you do not have to choose either one or the other because you need both, so Sharon explains how to blend engagement and content. She also talks about engaging virtually in our current day and age.

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Sharon Fisher’s Bio

Enthusiastic. Relevant. Creative. Sharon Fisher is the CEO & Chief IdeaSparker of Play with a Purpose, an experiential strategy firm devoted to sparking more innovative, participatory, connected, and fun learning events. They custom design play-based experiences to help organizations solve challenges innovatively and compellingly.

A passionate advocate for the power of PLAY in business, Sharon and her team create interactions that make a point, generate ideas, facilitate learning, create connections, inspire change, and make people laugh. Whether your event is virtual or live (or one of the many combos in between) you can show courageous leadership by infusing more play.

Sharon’s crazy obsession with play started in college. When all her friends were getting “real degrees”, she chose to major in “whistleblowing” as her father called her BSED degree in Recreation. Since then, she’s created with clients including Disney Imagineering & Disney Publishing, Chevrolet, Camp Jeep, BBDO, Novartis, American Express, Frito Lay, CarMax, IBM, McDonald’s, and the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. The winner of numerous awards, her most prized includes being named one of Orlando’s Best Places to Work and setting two Guinness World Records.

Her highly energetic & interactive workshop-style consistently delights audiences and makes learning fun.

People thought she was crazy

When Sharon told her friends she was going to start a business that was all about play, they told her she was crazy, and she would never make it because there was neither enough business out there nor enough people who would be willing to pay her to do that.


Sharon was unfazed. She decided to take a chance anyway to see what would happen.

Sharon Fisher’s favorite inspiring quote

Sharon Fisher truly loves what she does! For all her life, a quote from the author, James Michener, has inspired her.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor, and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information, and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both.” James A. Michener

When you love what you do

Sharon explains that when you love doing something, you are willing to devote the time, energy, and effort that it takes to learn more and to keep on building it. You also invest the curiosity that is needed to keep inventing and to stay ahead and stay practical in the game.

A melding of work and play in your life

Sharon explains that when you are doing something that you truly love, you never turn off because everything always flows, and you are always alert to the opportunities in work to laugh, have fun, and bring joy to what you are doing. And in play, you have the chance to get inspired for new things to do at work.

Why you should stop separating engagement and content

People go to meetings to learn, to meet other people, and to engage and network with them. At meetings, the content and learning are usually separate from the engagement, and Sharon has never understood why engagement and content get seen as two distinctly different things. She believes that they should get blended, and people should figure out ways to put more engagement into the learning pieces for a better outcome and better results.

Skill sets and passion

The passion and skill set of an awesome logistics person differs from that of a designer or a strategist.

Sharon Fisher’s thoughts on the perfect design

It makes no sense to Sharon to focus only on logistics in a meeting without considering the content, the purpose, the strategy, and the results. The perfect design has not yet been found for organizing teams to maximize the skill sets that come from the different halves of the brain.

The team

The results of an event usually depend on the team leader, and how the team members are integrated and made to feel like part of the bigger picture, rather than the details. The team needs to understand the purpose, the strategy, and the vision of the meeting before thinking about how to engage people.

Learn Feel Do

Sharon learned to use a simple tool called Learn Feel Do, which she has adapted to suit her needs, to get everyone on the same page for setting the ground and knowing where they are going with a meeting.

Re-engaging the brain

People’s brains need to be re-engaged every ten minutes in a physical meeting, and every four minutes in an online meeting. If that does not happen, people will tune out and they will not be able to retain much of what they have learned.

A framework

At Play With A Purpose, they are all about understanding what you want people to know. They use a framework to determine what kind of game, activity, or interaction will work best to help accomplish the learning that is needed.

Working online

Working online does not mean that you cannot be interacting together. To make things work online, however, the interaction needs to be restructured or reformatted a little.

The Better News Network event

The Better News Network event used to be a live event. It has now successfully transitioned to being a hybrid and virtual event.

Sharon Fisher’s tip for online sessions

Online sessions do not have to be short. They need to be engaging to be good.

Links and resources:

Sharon’s website

Sharon’s email is sharon@playwithapurpose.com

Play With a Purpose on LinkedIn

Play With a Purpose on Facebook


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Eric Rozenberg

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