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Using Icebreakers

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Broken ice and sunset
Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash

Icebreakers encourage involvement because they allow the audience to participate without feeling threatened. Rule number one about icebreakers is that they must require little or no risk to the audience. Rule number two is that they ought to serve a genuine purpose.

Books for trainers devoted entirely to icebreakers are on the market but need to be used carefully; too often the activities suggested are unrelated and irrelevant to your specific training. Make your icebreakers relevant and where possible keep them brief.

In seeking high levels of participation start out with low risk activities and simple interactions. Slowly engage participants over the course of the training in more complex and higher risk exercises and questions that require explanation.

Some simple icebreakers to get you started:

Stay standing if you think…
Use simple statements about the topic to begin the thinking around the topic. This is a fun and active way to start. Depending on time you may want to open up disicussion on why participants stayed standing or not. A sitting version of this is ‘Stand up and change places if…’

e.g. ‘Stand up, and change places if you think learning is always conscious.’

People Search
The statements on a people search are easily adapted to any topic and are good to start conversations. An example is included in the resources section.

Ask participants to introduce themselves. There are many ways to facilitate this. You could begin in pairs, Where person A introduces themselves to person B, who then introduces person A to the big group.

"Anytime you facilitate a movement activity you are embedding learning on a celluar level. Physical activity can also lessen stress and alter mind states."
- Jensen

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