How to Learn With Matti


One of the things I love to do are trainings for young members within JCI. They start to know the organization and aspire to learn as much as possible about it. The sparkles in their eyes when they have seen where and how to engage as well as what they might gain from it belongs to the great joys I have as a trainer.

The challenge for the trainers thus is to create the sparkles! To achieve this independently from the tons of information to give, making them a bit too many for some, it is important to find a way to make the training a lasting experience. For this training, Diana, one of our trainers had the wonderful idea to bring Matti along.


Matti is a huge yellow rubber duck. Yes, I'm serious a rubber duck!


Well, Matti is a visual symbol for activities and partnership within this organization. Explaining where Matti came from, why he is attending all kinds of events and why it is fun to have him assist in the activities gave real insight to the participants. Matti served as materialized experience.

Another important role Matti had was to make the participants smile. Some of the participants smiled because the trainers were playing with Matti, others were simply smiling at the duck itself and the others were smiling that everyone was having fun. All had in common the feeling of something nice happening during the training.

Last but not least the ability to connect ourselves to our memories as a kid, simply by seeing a big rubber duck, reminded us of the energy we had as kids when we used to learn and have fun. Connecting to this feeling enabled the participants to use exactly this energy to enjoy the training and take as possible out of it for themselves. Connecting to this feeling also helped us as trainers to smile and remain energetic during all the training.


This training was as so often a valuable learning experience. Seeing the effect of participants connecting to visual tools as well as to fun elements was a good reminder to provide the correct mix for the different perceptions people can have: thinking, acting as well as feeling. Providing all three will enable the trainer to connect with all the participants and will give every participant something they can personally connect to and take home after of the training.

Photo credit: Jan, JCI Frankfurt


  1. Great post. The concepts which I will try to remember from your WHY section are:
    – How useful symbols are as a way to explain things
    – The fact that they appeal to people, make them smile and remind them of happy times (depending on the choice of symbol of course!)

    Thanks, Françoise.
    Jenny (“Fun with languages”)

  2. Françoise Hontoy says:

    Exactly Jenny! We all have different ways to grasp what is happening around us and adding something visual is always of great use.
    Thank you very much for your feedback!

  3. Tero Rantaruikka says:

    Great post Jan! You should try to make Matti a CLT before he returns to us next August. And I’m not joking. We are trying to activate our memebers to take part in the trainer programme and it would be cool if Matti would be able to act as an example. “If an inflatable rubber duck can become a certified trainer, what’s you’re excuse”

    Take him with you to Trainer + Presenter and clock in the needed hours 🙂

  4. Very nice blog Françoise! Matti’s twin brother Teppo is also as much inspirational in Finland :)And thanks to Matti’s fans in Finland, I got to find your blog.

  5. Françoise Hontoy says:

    Thank you so much Pinar. It’s great to see you pass by! And I’d love to meet Teppo 🙂

  6. Françoise Hontoy says:

    That’s a pretty cool idea Tero! I’m sure Matti would love to as it was real fun to train with him and if you need someone to train with Matti it would be my pleasure to come over to Finland. Françoise