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Friday, April 4, 2008

"Do you like doing ice breakers? Yes or No?"

Here’s a great ice breaker for a moderately sized group (15 – 20 people) that doesn’t know each other that well. It creates interaction and puts a new twist on the standard, boring personal introduction at meetings.

Give every attendee a sheet with a single, different question and a list of everyone in the meeting. As people gather, each person attempts to ask their question of as many other people as possible, recording the answers on the sheet.

Then during the introductions, instead of people telling about themselves, the entire group reports the one piece of information that they have on the person in a rapid fire format, providing a brief and varied introduction.

You can limit the introductions to 30 or 45 seconds to keep the report out moving; if not, it can take 90 to 120 seconds per introduction.

One key is to mix up the types of questions and have some fun with them. There may some personal, but not too invasive questions (i.e., How far do you drive to work?) along with questions that can tie to the person who is doing the asking. I once had a rather notorious beer drinker ask each person about favorite hangover remedies; he had a blast with it as did the people he was asking.

For a first hand account about the technique, check out a recent post from Jan Harness about her participation. (Yes, I’m the impersonally referred to “client” in her post!)

By the way, do you dream in color or black and white?

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