I've always thought that ice–breakers have been a little dry and a mostly quite forced. 'Hello, my name is Grant and my inner animal is a lion because I am a born leader'.
It's just not inspiring, and no one enjoys talking about themselves to a bunch of strangers, however large the ego.
While discussing the mechanics of a design workshop that both myself and Yvonne of Wildwon plan on running in a few weeks we both agreed that it would be by invite only, and to ensure the calibre of participants is high we'd ask each person to introduce their invited guest and explain why they invited them. This tweaked my interest in a great alternative to the traditional ice breaker. I call it 'This is my friend', and it It works by either:
- Each person in the room introduces the person to their left, starting with 'This is...'
- While introducing the person you mention one thing you've been involved with together
- While introducing the person you discuss why they're valuable to the workshop
- Each person in the room introduces someone selected at random by the facilitator
- Again, while introducing the person you mention one thing you've been involved with together
- Again, while introducing the person you discuss why they're valuable to the workshop
Interestingly we'd also be increasing the human and personalisation of workshops, and reiterating the value that each person brings.