T-trade materials Zoom

T-trade and Post-iT Experiential Learning Activity

T-trade & Post-iT

T-trade and Post-it are two separate, complete business negotiation and influencing activities in one box.

T-trade was co-designed with IMD. Three sub-teams negotiate for scarce resources to complete different individual goals.

Post-iT explores influencing and communication as three remote teams work on the same task - this activity needs collaborative effort to succeed.

Click on the first thumbnail on the left to view a short video about T-trade and Post-it.


Availability: In stock


Key Features

    Learning Focus
  • Effective Communication
  • Instruction & Delegation
  • Negotiation & Building Trust
  • Prioritisation
  • Resource Management
  • Risk Assessment
  • Group Size
  • Ideal: 6 - 16
  • Possible: 6 - 16
  • Duration
  • 30-90 Minutes plus review

Activity Overview

The T-trade negotiation training game actually contains two activities:

T-trade: A practice field for inter-team negotiations

The T-trade exercise is designed to be used in a context in which business negotiations are important for success in achieving individual or organisational goals. It involves three groups, each trying to achieve the best business outcome for themselves but needing to 'make deals' with other groups in order to be successful. How do they go about making mutually acceptable agreements and yet maintain their focus on achieving the best individual team results they can?

Post-iT: Building relationships between remote teams

The Post-iT exercise offers an alternative to T-trade if you wish the emphasis to be more on remote teamwork & communication, and the building of relationships between teams engaged on the same task but working at a distance from each other (time and space). How much is assumed about what information and knowledge other teams possess, and what styles and manner of communication can build or destroy relationships? What is the best business outcome for themselves but needing to ‘make deals’ with other groups in order to be successful? How do they go about making mutually acceptable agreements and yet maintain their focus on achieving the best individual team results they can?

Learning Objectives

T-trade objectives:

  • • The negotiation process and the specific stages needed to reach a resolution.
  • • How to develop skills in ‘building bonds’.
  • • How and when to make concessions.
  • • The power of individual interactions.
  • • How to resolve conflicts so that everyone achieves some of what they want.

The exercise demonstrates the three main principles of effective negotiation:

  • • Understanding the mind-set of the other party and understanding that this is driven by emotion.
  • • Recognising that power lies in the interaction between the parties.
  • • Recognising that negotiation requires you to say no whilst maintaining a bond and a dialogue.

Post-it objectives:

  • • The need to establish shared goals and objectives
  • • How to build and maintain trust through written communication
  • • How to avoid making assumptions and check and clarify understanding
  • • How to keep an awareness of the ‘bigger picture’ whilst dealing with the detail of individual tasks

Activity Description

Activity Contents:

96x T-shapes (24x of green, blue, yellow, red), Facilitator manual & Catalogues. 

Package Weight: 2.2kg

T-trade Activity

T-trade involves three teams who are trying to maximise their individual performance by obtaining as many points as possible.

Teams earn points by having the correct combinations of coloured T-shaped pieces required to build cubes of various values, contained in their (identical) catalogues.

The teams meet to negotiate transfer of T-shaped pieces over several rounds, however only two teams ever meet together at one time. It becomes clear that the behaviours and emotions that develop are as crucial to the outcome as a well developed negotiation strategy.

Post-it Activity

Post-iT explores the frustrations and performance issues that can arise when poor communication develops between remote teams.

It is set up with essentially a strategic team (A) that initially has the overall activity brief: by the end of the 55-minute exercise, each group should have one completed cube in their working room. 

The technical team (B) initially has the plan designs: the three cubes should all be different, each following one of the three design patterns that were issued at the start of the exercise. 

The administration team (C) is only initially provided with task materials. The three teams do not initially know that they don’t share the same information and resources. During the exercise, the groups can communicate with each other in writing only. The facilitator runs a postal collection and delivery service. At 7-minute intervals during the exercise, mail is collected from each group, sorted and delivered. 


Excellent! Review by Cameron
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
Excellent tool to bring out commercial thinking and behaviors (or not!!) in teams. Used with sales and non-sales teams with success. Timings and format can be adapted to speed up or slow down depending on the audience. Suggest speed and pressure for most engagement and highlights interesting emotions/strategy/behaviors. (Posted on 01/08/2017)
Brilliant buzz from participantsReview by Glynis (Virgin Media)
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
I’ve used T-Trade numerous times as an experiential activity to tie together a theory session on assertiveness and negotiation. It’s always ended with a brilliant buzz and some competition and collaboration in the room. Following a solid de-brief session some learning for everyone about how they come across and what worked well/less well for them.

At the beginning the activity is sometimes greeted with confusion and less than enthusiastic expressions, by round 2 everyone is bought in because there is a role for everyone whether it be in the planning and costing of ‘T’s or the face to face negotiation. My top tip is to ensure everyone has access to a timer to help make sure everyone is on time. The actual building of the cube can take longer than expected.

Glynis (Posted on 15/06/2015)
Post-iT & Intercultural dynamicsReview by Rob Davies
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
When it comes to the Remote / Geographically dispersed team piece, my default simulation / experiential learning exercise is RSVP's Post-iT.

It beautifully imitates organizational dynamics that so many of my clients face, who are having to deliver quality results on complicated projects, and so often do actually have managers sitting in Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney, Jakarta and Tokyo.

Post-iT is rich in everything a good simulation activity should be:
plenty of room for faulty (and accurate) assumptions;
enjoyable and challenging -- with just the right amount of 'grey' in the instructions -- that allows all to engage themselves;
and have fun.
All the while though it is setting the scene for what every simulation game worth its salt should do: deliver a rich and powerful debrief on "how does the Post-IT game link to present challenges in your actual work place"!?

In summary, Post-iT's value for money is fantastic, and its owner RSVP Design will not be chasing you down to pay for extra re-fills.... In fact, I feel guilty for the amount of value I've milked out of Post-iT since 2010! : - )

Rob Davies
Intercultural Team Learning Facilitator & Coach
(Posted on 10/06/2015)
Massive hit!Review by Colin
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
Your T-trade exercise was a massive hit with our client. So much so they want more experiential activities!!!
Colin Moreland
Head of Assessment & Development
Capita People Development Scotland
(Posted on 20/01/2015)
Very positiveReview by GK
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
We have used Post-it and T-Trade this year. Both exercises allowed us to observe individuals working within and across small groups seeing how they focus their aims and energy, whether they work collaboratively or competitively and how they allow emotions to affect their thinking and decision-making. Both exercises were very helpful for us and participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Graham Kirk
People Development

(Posted on 20/01/2015)
successfulReview by Joe
Quality of Learning Design
Value for Money
I used it with success. I used it in course about influencing skills and also negotiations skills
Joe Gerada
(Posted on 20/01/2015)

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