Ice breakers for the trainers
Draw a 5 x 5 table on a sheet of paper and write in each box characteristics that you know the group possesses, eg “once lived in Sweden”; “won top consultant prize in May”. If you don’t know the group, make the entries more general, eg “loves cats”; “collects stamps”. Copy the sheets for each participant and tell them to mingle and fill up their 25 squares with names of people who meet the descriptions, just as in Bingo. The game ends when everyone has a signature in each square.
Give people a minute or two to think about answers to the following question: If you were marooned on a tropical island, which three people, imaginary, living or dead, would you want with you and why?” Put people into one or more groups and then get them to share their choices. It helps to start with your own choices to set the climate of self-disclosure.
This is similar to what’s known as 8-minute dating where couples have 8 minutes to get to know each other. In this icebreaker, it’s limited to 2 minutes. Start by telling everyone to pair off and talk on any subject they like. After 2 minutes, sound a klaxon or whistle and get everyone to move onto someone new. Continue until everyone has met everyone else. One good alternative is to tell people to pass on what they found out about the previous person.
That Reminds Me of a Story
Before your training event, email the participants and ask them to bring something along to the course with them related to the topic under discussion. Then at the start of your session, ask the group to present their item and, in a minute or two, tell the group the story behind the item, such as why they chose it, what memory it holds, and why it is related to the topic.
Create a list of thought-provoking questions for as many as are in your group. Examples are, “What is your favourite quotation?”; “What was your first memory?”; “What prizes have you won?”; “Where would you go in the world if you could?”; “What job would you do if you had a free choice?” Put them in a hat and get each person in the group to pull one out and give a reply.
Hang a large map of the world on the wall. As people enter, give everyone a pushpin. Have them pin the location of their birth on the map. Remind people at the start of the activity or meeting to check out the map later.
Creative Name Tags
Give everyone 10 minutes to make his or her own nametag. They can list hobbies, draw a picture, or write a self-profile.
Who Is It?
People write down something about themselves they think no one knows. The leader reads the slips of paper and others guess whom the person is. It is amazing to see the things some people reveal about themselves.
Two Truths and a Lie
Have participants say three things about themselves. Two should be true and one should be a lie. Have participants guess which response was a lie and give their reasoning.
Have everyone form a circle. Instruct the participants to put one piece of information about themselves on a small slip of paper, fold it, and put it in a blown up balloon. Throw the balloons in the middle of the circle and then have people take turns popping a balloon, reading the piece of paper, and guessing to whom the information applies.