How many meetings have you been to that are the same thing over and over again -boring events that you just can’t stay for long enough to leave? Many meetings are poorly organized and unproductive.
I’ve worked as an instructor, consultant in management, and facilitator of meetings for more than twenty years. Through the hundreds of seminars and classes I’ve taught, I have come to the conclusion that people gain more out of your meetings when you add a bit of amusement.
With group exercise and other icebreakers, you are able to turn your next gathering or class, or even a team-building activity, something exciting and enjoyable.
It is essential to take into consideration the fundamental elements prior to making a decision on a team-building exercise or an icebreaker for a meeting.
Ownership First, icebreakers work best when participants are able to take ownership of the game that was arranged by the instructor. It is essential to put five essential elements in the correct order.
1. Define the task.
2. Set out the objectives of the exercise.
3. Define the plan of the exercise.
4. Give time for questions.
5. Allow them to participate in the manner they feel comfortable.
This last aspect is vital and often left out. Announce at the start of an exercise to make sure that everyone understands that they aren’t “bound” to participate in the exercise or team meeting.
If you do not want to participate, you could invite them to become “observers” and see if they feel comfortable giving an overview at the conclusion of the exercise. Offer them something to engage in during the exercise. If given the freedom to decide, they are more likely to take ownership of their participation.
Set the Climate Icebreakers to determine the atmosphere for the meeting to take place. Based on this, it is sensible to select an icebreaker that aligns with the atmosphere of the event. An exercise to build teams could convey an unintentional message. Unintentionally, it could lead the meeting in the opposite direction. It is therefore sensible to take the time to select the correct meeting break.
Learning Objectives Certain instructors and facilitators of teams favor using either a team-building or ice-breaker exercise that focuses on learning objectives that are related to the group’s meeting, training program, or the goal for the team. Others may prefer an unrelated activity in order to break up the ice. However, each icebreaker can be active and comes with both and unintended outcomes. Be aware of this prior to the event to enhance the experience and create a compelling and cohesive group.
Protection –The primary rule is to avoid taking any risk that could result in physical injury to your participants.
One of my most favorite group building activities is”the “Terrorist Toxic Popcorn Situation.” It’s a simple group activity that is suitable for adults as well as teens. The aim is to remove the can that contains “toxic” popcorn that has been hidden in your room from “terrorists.” Your team needs to quickly devise an action plan to build tools as well as equipment. and then move the substance into the “safe” container before the “toxic” substance explodes. This is a great way to determine the doers, planners, and thinkers in your group. It also shows how important it is to have a well-thought-out strategy.
Sample Team Building Exercises and Icebreakers
A Great Day for Hats!
Each participant will be given the donut-shaped pieces of felt or another material that is approximately 18 inches wide. Invite participants to create a hat using the material. The participants should have enough time to construct their own hats. After the team activity, give each participant the opportunity to describe the hat they made. It is also possible to put individuals in teams and hold some friendly competition among the groups to see who can come up with the most original hat.
Letters and Names
Give everyone some time to come up with an adjective that begins with the same letter in their primary name (e.g., “Great Greg”). Begin by modeling the phrase yourself. Then, go around the group, asking each participant to spell their name or adjective combination. At different points during your exercise or towards the conclusion, ask participants to recall and repeat the adjectives and names they have volunteered to date. Give prizes to those who perform the most well.
The Napkin Game
Invite participants to form groups of equal size. Each group will be given the napkin and request participants to fold the napkin so small that it is possible. But, it should be large enough to allow members of the group to place their feet onto the napkin.
The icebreaker for this meeting only takes 5 minutes to run.
Hand each person a blank 8 1/2 by 11-inch piece of paper. Inform them that: “We are going to do something that will show us some important things about communication. Pick up your sheet of paper and hold it in front of you. Close your eyes and follow my directions-and no peeking — you cannot ask questions.”
Explain to them this. “Fold the sheet of the sheet in two. Then, tear off the upper right-hand edge. Fold the sheet in half and then tear off the left-hand corner of the upper part of the paper.
Fold it back in half. Take off the right-hand side of the sheet.”
When the tears are over After the tear is over, say something like, “Now open your eyes, and let’s see what you have. If I did a good job of communicating and you did a good job of following my directions, all of your sheets should look the same!”
Put your sheet on display for them to view. It is doubtful that a sheet will be exactly like yours.
Discuss with the team why one’s paper was the same as yours. You’ll probably receive responses such as “You didn’t let us ask questions!” Or “Your directions could be interpreted in different ways.” And then guide them through an open discussion on the importance of communicating effectively.
Greg Smith’s innovative keynotes, consulting, and corporate team-building programs have helped companies build stronger teams, lower turnover, boost sales, find better employees and provide superior customer service. Greg Smith has written nine insightful books, including his most famous book entitled, Icebreakers and Teambuilding Exercises.