Thursday, October 09, 2008

Icebreaker: Who am I?

This morning the icebreaker method we tried out was "Who am I?" In preparation for this, we had prepared 30 different names of famous people. Keeping the names hidden, we put each name on each persons back (if you use post-it, you can put the name on the forehead).

Once we were ready, each person starts to figure out who they are by asking only yes or no questions like:
  • Am I dead?
  • Am I male?
  • Am I Asian?
It was nice icebreaker to get people guessing who they are and start talking to eachother. We encouraged people to ask one person only 2 questions each rather than asking the same person all questions. We kept going until everyone had guessed and if you are tight on time, help those with clues those who have not guessed.

During the debrief, we had the following feedback about the method:
  • It was fun
  • Helped to wake me up!
  • It is hard to describe ourselves
  • I am shy so it was a good challenge to make me talk to others.
  • It was easy to forget the information that I had gathered and on the other hand for some it was easy to structure information they had gathered. In the latter case, they would meet new people and tell them what they already knew like "I am a man, alive and from Italy".
  • In case of some people, they had to go beyond assuming known categories. For example, when the name was of a cartoon character which does not qualify as a man or a woman!
  • It was easy to say "I don't know" without feeling bad about it. This might be good way to build relationships in teams.
A variation of this exercise could be:
  • Use names of KS tools (like RSS, Blog, Wiki) and KS methods (Peer Assist, PIPA, etc.) instead of names of people.

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