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How to break the Ice in training sessions ?
Human Resources » Training & Education

Chrm Message From: srini Total Posts: 163 Join Date: 18/07/2006
Rank: Leader Post Date: 21/05/2008 00:10:53 Points: 815 Location: India

Hello professionals,

Icebreakers are discussion questions or activities used to help participants relax and ease into a group meeting or learning situation. There are two types:

Facilitating Introductions : Icebreakers used to help participants relax and ease into a meeting or training; and to help participants learn each other's names and personal/professional information.

When participants are meeting for the first time, start with an icebreaker that helps everyone to learn names and personal/professional information. If you are facilitating more than one session, choose a few icebreakers -- you can use one to get people chatting and exchanging personal information, another to help memorize or review names, and another at a stretch break.

The icebreakers "Everyone's a Liar" and "What's the Question?" are fun games for exchanging personal information. Both can be used even if participants already know each other. "Alliterative Introductions" and "Name Chain" help participants to memorize names. "Seating Plan" requires movement and can be used to enliven a tired group.

Everyone's a Liar

1. Facilitator writes three statements on the board. Two statements are true, and one is a lie. Example:

I have been teaching for 10 years.
I have a pet cat called, "Mini"
I lived in Mumbai for a year.

2. Participants ask "lie detector" questions to get further information, in order to determine which statement is false. For example:

Teaching - Where have you taught? What have you taught? What year did you start?
Pet - How old is Mini? What does Mini eat? Where do you keep Mini?
Mumbai - Where did you live in Mumbai? What language was spoken in Mumbai?

3. Participants vote on which statement is a lie. Reveal which are truths and which are lies.

4. Place participants in small groups (3 or 4 works well). Small groups repeat steps 1 - 3.
5. Have participants introduce each other to the large group.

What's the Question?

1. Facilitator writes some facts on the board. Example:

16 months

2. Participants try to find the question that matches each fact.

purple - What's your favourite colour? What colour is your car? What colour are your toenails?
16 months - How long have you lived in this city? How old is your child? How long have you been married?
Japan - Where were you born? Where have you worked? Where are you going on vacation?

3. When participants have discovered all of the questions, place them in small groups (3 - 4). Repeat 1 and 2.

4. Have participants introduce each other to the large group.

Alliterative Introductions

1. Introduce yourself to the group with an alliterative sentence based upon the first letter of your name. Example:

"I'm Srini. I like playing guitar."
(Pattern: I'm ADJECTIVE NAME. I like ACTION-ing NOUN)

2. Participants introduce themselves to the group with alliterative sentences.

"I'm Varsha Purohit. I like embroydering clothes."
"I'm Prashant Shah. I like giving gifts."

Name Chain

You can play "Name Chain" as a follow-up to "Alliterative Introductions."

1. Introduce yourself, and the person to your right.

I'm Srini. This is Prashant Shah.

2. The person to your right repeats previous introductions, and introduces the person to their right.

He's Srini. I'm Prashant Shah. She's Varsha Purohit.

3. Continue with the next person to the right, until all names have been repeated.

4. Challenge voluteers to rhyme off all names quickly!

This game can be repeated for a few days, moving around the group to the left, or in random order, until participants have memorized each other's names.

Seating Plan

1. Ask participants to arrange their seats:

* alphabetically, according to first name, or
* sequentially, in order of birthday month and date

When participants have already met, but don't know each other well, try a mixer like the index-card activity, "Do you Know Me ?" This icebreaker encourages participants to circulate and share knowledge about each other. Facilitators can also use index cards to help remember names and take attendance.

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