Wednesday, 26 October 2016

An Easy Ice Breaker

Do you have any favourite ice breakers?

Ice breakers are such a tricky thing to get right.  I am sure that you, like me, have found yourselves feeling like a pack of planks trying to work through an clumsily delivered ice breaker that becomes cringingly embarrassing

Many ideas should get knocked out because they don't suit the reason that the group is coming together. 

A recent LinkedIn post on the Higher Education Teaching and Learning group by Dr. Low Chin Heng called for ice breaker ideas for use with a group of 35 CEOs on an Executive MBA course.

Dr Heng briefed his LinkedIn audience well. He explained two key constraints: the session needed to last for 30 minutes, and the CEO group was relatively experienced at Exec MBA programmes.

Respondent Caroline Carr had a great idea: simple and effective. She wrote:
[Get them into] 7 groups of 5
  • They each write an 'unusual fact ' about themselves on a piece of paper which are folded up and put in a container.
  • They each then briefly introduce themselves stating their starting position in life and current position
  • Then one at a time, each person draws a slip of paper out of container and has to 'guess' to whom the unusual fact relates. The others can have input before final decision and slip is placed in front of selected person.
  • Continue until all slips allocated.
  • If you pull your own slip, simply swap for another (unless it's the last one)
  • Review before finally agreeing as group.
  • Review for successful matching. [presumably with the entire group so everyone can get some anchoring facts around everyone else]
This gets people talking, sharing and appreciating the person as opposed to their title - really important if you wish them to effectively communicate throughout the event.

I am a petite, blond, female accounting lecturer and ride a motorbike - I'm almost never matched to that unusual fact so good for outlining the pitfalls of stereo-typing too.
While I was reading Caroline's idea, I was thinking that this would be an easy ice breaker to theme. If you were coming together over a holiday weekend, theme the unusual facts around the holiday; if for a site visit, related to the heath and safety; and so on.

Endless options. 

Banking that idea for the future! 


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