Okay, kids. We’re going to kick off this blog post with an exercise to get to know one another a little better. Let’s do the tried-and-true icebreaker “3 Truths and a Lie”.
(Did you think I was kidding?)
I’m going to share 4 statements about myself – three of these statements are true, but one is a lie. Below, in the comments, you’re going to try to guess which of these 4 statements is the lie. I know you know how this works! Here we go:
1. I graduated 20 years ago, but I still hold a school record in swimming at my high school.
2. I have a crippling fear of hamsters.
3. I have been to 45 of the 50 states.
4. I own over 100 pairs of shoes.
How well do you think you know your friendly phase(two)learning blogger? Tell me what you think. I’ll give you a day or so to add your comment, and then I’ll confess which one is the lie.
Icebreakers can be a great way to kick off a training session. But I’ll admit, I have been using this same “3 Truths and a Lie” exercise for oh-so-many years. So many years, that I’m surprised no one has ever called me out for using repeat material… ;)
I know other icebreakers, but sometimes in a pinch, it’s just easier to stick with what you know will work.
Earlier today, a non-trainer friend of mine leveraged the power of Facebook to crowd-source some icebreaker ideas for an upcoming meeting (social learning, anyone??). Naturally, I was intrigued. I offered her a couple of no-prep icebreaker ideas that I’ve used in the past, and thought I’d share them with you all here.
1) “Common Ground”
Divide into small groups of 3-5 people, have each group list as many things as they can think of that EVERYONE has in common – “We are all the youngest sibling in our families,” “We are all wearing black shoes,” “None of us have been to South America” – etc. Give them about 3 minutes. It’s always fun to see what they come up with.
2) “Combined Experience”
This is quick – you can split into small groups or stay in a large group. Everyone shares how many years of professional experience they have (or years with the company, whatever is relevant for the group), then add the individual years together to get your “combined experience” total. If you’re in small groups, you can have fun with “veterans” vs “rookies”, etc. If there is time, people can share a little about their professional background or experience.
I got both of these ideas quite some time ago from my good friends at Langevin – check out their blog for more great tips!
For the third icebreaker that doesn’t suck, I modified this from one of the crowd-sourced suggestions on my friend’s Facebook status:
3) “What’s for Dinner?”
As you do introductions, everyone gives their basic information, but then also shares their favorite restaurant. If you have a group of locals, you might come up with some great tips on new places to try. If the group is geographically diverse, it gives a neutral glimpse into others’ cultures and interests. Either way, people typically enjoy talking about food.
And you call it “What’s for Dinner?” because chances are you’ll be craving something yummy by the time the exercise is over…
These are easy to use. Honestly, a good icebreaker should require little-to-no advance preparation. As facilitators, we should always have an arsenal of good icebreakers and energizers to utilize in our sessions. What are your go-to exercises? After you guess what my “lie” is, please share an icebreaker idea in the comments below. Because as you know, facilitators are constantly on the lookout for new ideas…
Preferably ones that don’t suck.
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