#3 Posted: 13 Jul 2007 23:13
In the not so distant past I have used an idea I borrowed to break the ice. It was not for training of new employees, it was actually in a meeting. The context was that I was bringing together two different teams of people, and I would be the manager of all of them.
I asked people to physically move to different ends of the room depending on their internal and unspoken responses to questions I asked. I think it went something like this:
-How do you like to spend the last day of your work week? Would you rather be in a crowd with lots of music and party atmosphere or would you rather be at a table with 1 or 2 or 3 friends eating dinner and talking?
-When you want to shine in your work, do you do it through the details or through the big picture?
You can easily generate questions about behavior preferences and what makes people tick.
The commotion over the movement is itself an icebreaker. People have a kid spirit in them usually and they like to see when others participate in the humor to be found in exercises like this.
When people appear on different sides of the room by the third or fourth question, you could wrap it up by stating how different approaches to enjoyment don't necessarily mean different results in the work we do, since differences can supply a benefit, particularly when you need cross-training and a chance to become active on something new. Or difference can help you when you are not equipped and need to call upon someone's guidance.
I had to be a manager of two groups of people that didn't know each other and didn't understand what they did for the company, and this was a good ice-breaker in a context of bringing people together. It might be good for people who are brand-new together too.