Recently I received an email from a Human Resources colleague who I have enormous respect for. She was looking for some ideas for teambuilding icebreakers for an upcoming event. I get this kind of request fairly frequently and have made it a practice to not suggest any specific activities.
Here’s why in my response below, where I outline 10 things to consider when you’re picking a great teambuilding icebreaker:
I make it a practice to not recommend icebreakers to folks without knowing more about the setting. When I’m planning activities for workshops I lead for example, these are some of the things that go into the selection:
- number of people
- how well (or not) they know each other
- are they from the same organization or different oganizations
- if they are from the same organization:
- do they work in close physical proximity or not
- are there any issues I should know about that are going on recently in the workplace (eg pending bargaining, conflict etc)
- what is the organizational culture like
- are there any access issues
- what is the range of ages
- what is the gender breakdown
- what’s happening before and after the activity
- what is the room like; the seating arrangements etc
(hmmm this has the makings of a blog post me thinks)
I love that you thought to ask me (really, I’m honoured as I hold you in very high esteem) and hope you understand my reasoning.
You may be interested in this online resource for learning activities: www.trainingmakescents.com. You can sign up for a free newsletter that includes teambuilding icebreakers; I’ve found the activities to vary in applicability to my audiences but there are some good ones.
Simply & sincerely
P.S. She responded very graciously and understood my reasoning.
What about you? What ideas do you have for picking a great teambuilding icebreaker?
Dyana Valentine says
Thank you (imagine large whooshing FYEW! coming out of me here):
I get this request SO often AND even though it makes me feel scratchy, I usually try to send out a few ideas. Thank you for voicing my unearthed concern and for giving me an excellent script to use to respond next time. I also LOVE all of your resources. I think it means the most to me that you, a seasoned trainer, use these resources and don’t refer them lightly. You are such a gift (to me and to my work!).
Lee-Anne Ragan says
Verrrrry interesting to hear that you get this request a lot too. It’s tough for me to say, in effect, no but it’s helped to frame WHY I don’t like to give recommendations for specific activities. So glad you found it helpful and that you’ll use it.
Catching your FYEW! and sending it back at you!