I strongly believe that one of the main success factors for a good workshop is the vibe of the event. You certainly want to create an ENERGIZING & SAFE CLIMATE that enables your participants to let their creativity go.
One of the most important steps towards creating such atmosphere is making sure that the participants are comfortable with each other. This is especially important if you have partakers who have not known each other before.
Next, I will show you 3 easy to use workshop tools to introduce participants to each other and kickstart teamwork. Read on to feel confident that you have a fitting exercise for any intro situation!
Human Check-In for general introductions (5-10 minutes)
This is one of my favourites to kickstart participant interaction and do the general introductions in a quick and safe way. This exercise is good for corporate settings where you don’t want to go too crazy with the introduction games. I only recommend this to up to 20 participants. Otherwise, it takes too much time.
This is how it goes:
As a facilitator you ask your participants to introduce themselves one-by-one by answering three questions about themselves.
- What is your name?
- What is your background and expertise?
- Tell us, when were you the happiest in the last few days?
Keep it fresh, max 40 seconds per participant. Thank everyone after introducing themselves and make sure that nobody is left out. In the end of the game, you can introduce yourself if you want to.
Simple, isn’t it?
The magic is in the third question where people show their human side. Just imagine, who would you remember easier; “Bob the guy from accounting”, or “Bob the guy from accounting, who plays guitar in a garage band”?
To add a creative spin, you can experiment with a different third question.
- What superpower do you wish you had and why?
- What’s your spirit animal and why?
- What colour are you feeling like today?
Check this post for extra ideas.
Rapid dating for networking meetups (5-15 minutes)
Use this to burn through social awkwardness and kickstart networking!
I saw this cool exercise at a meetup where the goal was to connect conference ideas with potential organisers.
This is how it goes:
- Split your participants into two teams and organise two rows so you have two lines of people looking at each other.
- When you say GO, the people standing in front of each other introduce themselves. Keep it short, give about 40 seconds per pair.
- After the time is up, then one of the rows moves one person to the right and repeat the introductions. In the end, you have all of the participants introduced themselves to each other knowing who they want to continue networking with.
Try this to start networking quickly, making it easier to start conversations and helping participants to identify the most important few people they should definitely speak with.
Idea: This might be an interesting game for a communication training to have people practice their pitch…
The Legendary Leonidas (5-10 minutes)
Lastly, Legendary Leonidas is an easy to lead, playful introduction game to raise the energy from the start. The main concept is that people introduce themselves with their name, an alliterating adjective and a movement. For example: “I am Victorious Viktor” then I do a jump.
This game is good for up to 10 people. If you have more participants, consider to split the participants into more circles to keep the game fresh and quick.
This is how to lead Legendary Leonidas:
- Organise participants into a circle.
- You can say a short intro short story about Leonidas, the heroic leader of Sparta, the man of legends. Do you know how is he remembered in the ancient myths? He is remembered as LEGENDARY LEONIDAS, the man with the epic fist pump! He always introduced himself, “I am Legendary Leonidas!” And he did a fist pump. In this game, you will introduce yourself in a way as Leonidas did.
- One-by-one, you introduce yourself by stepping into the circle, saying an ADJECTIVE alliterating with your name, saying your NAME and doing a MOVEMENT. For example, “I am Daring Diana & clap.”
- We go around in the circle clockwise. After one of you introduced yourself, then everybody steps into the circle and repeats your introduction. Then the circle goes on and the next person does his or her intro.
- The game goes on until everybody introduced themselves.
Tip: If you want to put a little bit of challenge into the game, then when the circle finished, ask the team to repeat all of the introductions together.
You can see that none of these games aim to create deep connections. Their purpose is to establish the groundwork for later teambuilding by showing the participants that everyone is cool in the event, they are with similar people so they can relax. If you are familiar with Tuckman’s stages of group development, then this is the first Forming phase. Here is the Wikipedia link if you want to dig deeper into Tuckman’s model.
In the future, I might also write about how you can use Tuckman’s model to strengthen team spirit and make your teambuilding process as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
But for now, these three games are more than enough to open a workshop.
What have you learned today:
- The Human Check-in. A general safe-bet exercise to quickly introduce people to each other.
- The Rapid Dating game to kickstart networking on a bit deeper level
- Finally, the Legendary Leonidas (and his fist pump), a bit crazier game to break the ice, raise the energy while doing the introductions.
That’s all folks. Tell me in the comments which game you liked the most.