Ice-breaker activities ease some of the anxiety that trainees may feel. The activities also give the trainees a chance to learn the names of, as well as some personal information about, the others in the training group. The ice-breaker activities are easily adapted to fit the specific training situation. Consider the type of individuals in the training session and what you wish to gain through the ice breaker when planning the activity.
Have each trainee think of two or three different questions to ask. Encourage the participants to go beyond the typical questions that revolve around where you live, if you have kids or what pets you own. This gives the trainees a chance to get to know interesting details about one another. The participants mingle among the group, asking one question to each of the other trainees. They make notes of the responses for later use. After the designated time period, gather the trainees back in a group. Have one person at a time stand up and allow the others to share information about the person based on her responses to the questions. This activity is ideal in situations when you want the trainees to feel more comfortable with one another. The facts that they learn help them make connections and may begin the foundation for teamwork down the road.
This ice-breaker activity adds a creative touch to the introductions. The purpose of this activity is to relate to one another on a more personal level. The activity also eases the participants into the training session with an entertaining activity. This ice breaker is ideal if you want the trainees to think creatively in subsequent activities. Provide paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils and other art supplies. Have each person draw a picture that symbolizes him. The participants can not use words to describe themselves, only pictures. A person who enjoys singing might draw a musical note. Another person might draw his family to share that piece of personal information. The participants take turns sharing their pictures and describing each element. For a different twist, gather the pictures. Hold one up at a time as the participants guess whose drawing it is.
Working in small groups allows the trainees to get to know one another on a smaller scale, which they can then bring back to the larger group. This activity specifically focuses the trainees on finding common ground. This helps them see each other as people and may create a spirit of teamwork with the participants. Divide the participants into small groups of three or four. The exact number will depend on how many trainees are in the session. The groups must discuss their interests, family life, background and other relevant details to find at least three things that they have in common. For more of a challenge, do not let the groups use obvious things such as hair color or the town in which they live. Encourage them to dig deeper to find more interesting commonalities amongst themselves. Have each group share their common traits with the rest of the group.
Guess the Question
The trainees get to determine which pieces of information that they share in this ice-breaker activity. Each person writes the answers to two or three questions about themselves without revealing the question. She shares her answers. The rest of the trainees must guess which question she answered. For example, the answer "cheese" could go with questions about the person's favorite food, favorite pizza topping or something she is allergic to. A color answer might go along with the person's favorite color, her house color or her least favorite color. The other players guess which question the person is answering until someone gets it correct. Continue with other people sharing their answers. This ice breaker gets the trainees' minds working and helps them think beyond the usual format of asking a question and giving an answer.