Leadership Inspirations Activities

Early Bird Vs Second Mouse

A debate activity that requires groups to think critically and speak publicly


10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity






In this activity, groups build relationships and knowledge of other team members while refining their presentation and analysis skills.



  • Split the group in two.


  • Comedian Stephen Wright states, “The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
  • Nominate one team to be ‘early bird’ and the other team to be ‘second mouse’.
  • Give the teams 10 minutes to prepare a 1 minute presentation on why their strategy would be best for business (or work or life, depending on situation). Encourage the teams to make use of the knowledge and abilities and views of all team members in creating their presentations.
  • After the two presentations, conduct a 5-10 minute debate between the teams of the question: “Early bird or second mouse: Which is the most effective strategy for business (or work or life)?”
  • After the debate hold a ‘free’ vote to see what the combined group now believes about the question. Allow but do not encourage abstentions (‘don’t knows’). Encourage group members to vote as individuals, putting their team loyalty to one side.


  • Allow groups another round to refute the other groups argument with a rebuttal.
  • Allow groups to switch sides – they must use new arguments that haven’t been used yet.
  • You can hold this debate with any number of topics (silly or more serious).


  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Meeting Skills

  • What are some of our effective and ineffective meeting habits?
  • When are you most engaged in meetings? When are you least engaged?
  • What are the roles that people play in meetings? Why are these roles important?

Project Planning

  • What has worked in other projects you have done? How have you dealt with setbacks?
  • How do you connect with the process of planning? Do you like it/not like it? How does this impact you/your group?
  • How do we manage our time? How does that affect our ability to complete our projects?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?