Choosing Icebreakers: The Familiarity - Playfulness Matrix
How do you choose the best activity for opening your workshop?
Today, I was supposed to be writing a new chapter for my book about "Ice Melters," but I had this idea that I couldn't let go of until I visualized it.
Over 50 people registered for an upcoming workshop and shared their biggest challenges with "breaking" the ice in groups, and there was one recurring message:
馃ザ Decision paralysis! How to find something meaningful and fun that genuinely gets everyone warmed up and ready to engage.
I have already created a step-by-step framework on how to find and adapt any activity to work for your meeting, workshop or training, but I felt there were too many steps.
That's why I created this Matrix that will help you find an activity based on 3 crucial details:
1. Familiarity: How well do your participants know each other? Are they strangers or teams/friends?
2. Playfulness: How open is this group to engage in fun, less conventional activities? Are they more serious or silly?
3. Are you gathering in person or virtually?
If you have the answers to these questions, you should be able to quickly pick an activity from this image. Then, in the next steps, you should align it to fit your session's purpose and theme.
Lastly, it should be adapted to work with additional restrictions, like group size, space available in the room, accessibility needs, etc.
I am curious if this is useful for you. What do you consider when you pick an icebreaker (or "Ice Melter") activity?
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Jan Keck
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Choosing Icebreakers: The Familiarity - Playfulness Matrix
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