Ice breakers - Management Games
Each participant is asked to choose a letter of the alphabet. Duplicate letters are permitted. They are then given five minutes in which to describe themselves using single words beginning only with that letter. You could award a small prize for the person with the most number of words.
A further optional stage is to ask participants to write down their chosen words on a sheet of paper with their name at the top and display it on the wall for the duration of the event. Others could be asked later on in the event as to whether the words accurately describe the individual.
Make up anagrams of the participants' names and either: display as pairs on a flip chart (for finding pre-allocated partners), or use them on name plates (for pre-arranged seating).
Ask participants to find a partner and sit on the floor (or on chairs) back-to-back with that person. Now ask them to take turns telling the other person about an event in their life which is particularly significant for them. The partner may respond non-verbally, but not verbally. Allow at least five minutes for each partner. At the end of the activity ask them to
turn and face each other and discuss the activity for five minutes.
Instead of going round the class in order when making introductions etc, throw a ball (preferably a soft one) at one of the students who then does the first introduction. This student then throws the ball to someone else. Challenge the class to complete the introductions without throwing the ball to the same person twice. It's probably a good idea to clear the coffee
cups before starting this exercise.
This simple exercise makes people aware of the impact of change and how they feel about it. Ask the participants to fold their arms. Then ask them to fold their arms the other way round. Wait in silence for a few moments before asking them to unfold their arms. Debrief by asking: how difficult it was to fold their arms the other way; what it feels like with their arms folded the other way round; and did they have an urge to unfold or re-fold their arms.
The traditional version of Chinese Whispers is to whisper a sentence to the first person in the class, who whispers it to the next person and so on until the last person repeats the message out loud to the rest of the class.
Typical of the kind of distortion you can get is the classic where: 'Send reinforcements, we're going to advance,' becomes: 'Send three-and-fourpence, we're going to a dance.'
Debrief the exercise by asking:
Where did the message get distorted?
How can we help the communication process? • Big picture • Key points •
Headline • A bit at a time • Look for meaning and connections
Have the group form two concentric circles with the same number of participants in each circle - the people in inner circle facing outwards and the people in the outer circle facing inwards. The inner circle remains stationary and the outer circle moves one person anticlockwise every 30 seconds. The aim is for everyone to introduce themselves in the shortest
Count the F's
Hand out copies of the following quote:
FEATURE FILMS ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITHTHE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.
Ask people to count the number of F's there are in the passage. Very few people will identify all 6 at the first attempt.
The objective of this exercise is to design and construct a device that will protect a raw egg from cracking or breaking when it is dropped from a height of 10m or more. The group is given 30 minutes to plan and 15 minutes to construct the device using only the following materials:
• 12 drinking straws • 2m of masking tape • 1m of string • 1 000 cm2 of tissue paper
This is an exercise which demonstrates the difficulty of delegating. Just before lunch or the evening meal, divide the group into pairs and ask that everyone delegate the task of getting or ordering their meal to their partner.
No further communication is allowed between the pair once the task has been set.
Debrief by asking if anyone got a meal that was close to what theywanted. Ask how the situation might have been improved.
This exercise works best with a self-service cafeteria and before the group gets used to the cafeteria's layout and menu. This makes the task more complex and involves the 'delgatee' in showing initiative.
Variations include preventing the use of note taking.
This is an exercise which demonstrates the importance of feedback in communication.
Ask a volunteer to sit with back to class and to describe a drawing that has a number of touching rectangles.
The class attempts to draw the arrangement of rectangles without giving any feedback or asking any questions.
Repeat the exercise with another drawing. This time the class is allowed to ask questions and to give feedback.
Discuss feelings, emotions, results and effects.
This is a good exercise for warming up a group when you are part way through a course. It's also great for revising course content. Divide the group into two teams. Give the teams a pile of blank cards and challenge them to write as many questions (and answers) as they can, in 15 minutes which cover the course content to date.
The trainer alternately selects a 'valid' question from one team and directs the question to the other team. The process continues until all 'valid' questions written by both teams have been asked.
The teams score one point for every question they answer correctly and another point for every one of their questions which is selected as 'valid'by the trainer.
This is an excellent exercise for developing teamwork. First obtain a long bamboo cane or other long, light, small-diameter pole for each group. Line the groups up so that people face each other, then ask one side to take a step sideways to the left so that their eyes are in line with the gap between the shoulders of two opposite participants. Ask them all to put out
their hands palm up and at the same height (about elbow height). When all people have their palms out and lined up, place the cane along their hands.
Let them know that they should keep their hands in contact with the cane, but they shouldn't grasp it. Now ask them to lower the cane down to the ground. The cane always rises. Repeat the exercise until they can achieve the task.
Stand the members of the group in a circle, spaced 2m away apart. The objective is for each participant to each throw a raw egg to the next participant until a the egg makes a complete circuit without being dropped.
Once a circuit has been completed successfully, the participants should move three paces away from the center of the circle and try again. The process is repeated until the group runs out of time or they find it impossible to throw the egg around the circle. 20 points are awarded every time the egg is thrown round an enlarged circle.
This exercise is best done in a large area - preferably outdoors. Get the group to space themselves along a rope. Say that they should grip the rope tightly and, without removing their hands, tie the rope into a reef knot.
If anyone asks, a reef knot is 'left over right and under; right over left and under'.
The children's game of hangman can be used as a diversion during a course and for reinforcing terminology that has just been learnt. At its simplest, the trainer selects a word from a list of words that are related to the subject and, on a overhead transparency, draws a number of dashes equal to the number of letters in the word. The participants guess a letter that
might be part of the word. If the letter is part of the word, it is written above the dash or dashes where it occurs. If the guess is incorrect, an element of the hangman diagram is drawn on the transparency. The exercise continues until either the word is guessed or the hangman diagram is completed.
Provide a length of stair carpet for each group and get the group to stand on it. The objective is to turn the carpet over without any group member touching the floor. 50cm per person in the group should be more than long enough, but you can always use shorter lengths to make the exercise more interesting.
Ask the students to bring either a passport photograph or their identity badges to the course. Display the photographs on the wall along with an identifying letter (the identity badges should have the names taped over). Supply each student with a copy of the course list which has had the names substituted with the identifying letters. The objective of the exercise is
to write the names of the other students against their identifying letters on the course list. This involves matching the people in the room with the photographs on the wall. When approached, people should only give their
They should not say which photograph is theirs. The worse the photographs,the better this exercise works.
Some people do not like talking about themselves in front of the class. In this type of introduction the students pair-up with the person they know the least and interview each other. After about 15 minutes each person reports back with a brief biography of their partner.