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Top 10: icebreakers

1I went to market: each person says their name, and one thing about themselves.  The next person repeats what that person has said, and adds their own name and fact.  The next person repeats what the previous two have said, and adds their own name and fact…and so on.  Good for embedding names and listening skills, and you can encourage the rest of the group to help out if someone forgets – ie teamwork

2: alphabet intros: each person says their first name, and chooses one letter of the alphabet.  Everyone is then given 30 seconds to say 3 things about themselves, or their world, with each comment starting with their chosen letter

3: two true, one false: each person chooses three things to say about themselves.  Two are true, one is false.  The rest of the group (on own or in discussion) have to choose which one is false.  Great fun, and a real opportunity to learn things about people

4: 3 things in common: in a group, the group have to come up with three things they have in common – and they cannot be too obvious or boring (we’re all in the same room, we’re all humans…)

5: pairings: write some famous pairs, one per post it, and before the group come in, put one name under each person’s chair.  When they have sat and settled, you ask them all to look under their chair, and find their pair.  Good for getting people moving around.

6: small talk: choose a list of interesting questions.  Number them,  and ideally have them projected onto the screen.  Put the numbers into a bag, and ask the group to draw one of the numbers each.  Their job is then to mingle with everyone else, and ask as many people as they can the question represented by their number.  Of course, since everyone is doing something similar, everyone will have to answer others’ questions too.  Get people talking, without them having to ‘make conversation’ themselves.

7: line up: get everyone to one end of the room, and get them to line up according to a series of criteria – eg tallest/shortest, letter of first name (A-Z), living closest/furthest to this location.  Again gets people moving and talking in a non-threatening way

8: pass the question: ask for a volunteer.  When you get one, ask them a question, which they answer.  They then can choose someone else in the group, and ask for their name, and ask them a different question – and so on round the group, until it comes back to you.

9: who’s?: create a 3×3 or 4×4 matrix, and in each cell, ask a question – eg who’s got the most interesting collection, most sisters and brothers, won an award, been to Africa, etc.

10: speed dating: sort the group into two sets, one facing the other, so you have conversation pairs.  Each pair has – say – 3 minutes to chat, and find out three things about the other person, and after the three minutes, one line moves up one, to form a new pair.  Has lots of movement, isn’t too long, and again, encourages communication and relationship skills

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