It can be tempting to dive right into business when you’re eager to share your knowledge at a workshop, but a quick icebreaker is likely to make participants more comfortable and facilitate better conversation. Consider how to balance the needs of introverts and extroverts, and if any accommodations need to be made for people with disabilities.
Have your group stand in the centre of a large space (with accommodations made for anyone who needs them). Ask an either/or question that is relevant to your event (e.g. Do you use personality assessments with your clients? Do you work with newcomers?) and have the group split into two depending on their answer.
Divide your group into two. Have one group stand in a circle, facing out. The remaining people must each choose a partner to stand in front of, thereby forming a larger, inward-facing circle. Read a question out to the group, and have them discuss their answer with their partner (e.g. What is a challenge you are facing at work? What is one of your proudest accomplishments?). After a few minutes, change up the pairs by having everyone in the outer circle move one spot to their left.
Me, Myself and I
This storytelling activity forces participants to talk about anything except themselves. In pairs, one partner begins by speaking for two minutes without any lengthy pauses. They may speak on any topic, but cannot use the word “I.” The listening partner cannot speak until the roles are reversed. After, have both participants reflect on how they felt being the speaker and the listener.
Participants introduce themselves to the group by presenting their name as an acronym. For example, “Hi, I’m Karen. K for kind, because I’m nice. A for ambitious. R for rock, my favourite music. E for elementary, the age group I work with. N for Nipissing University, where I went to school.”
Source: Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers Brian Cole Miller AMACOM, 2004 0-8144-7201
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