How do you support people to get to know each other when there are more than 20 or 40 participants at your workshop?
This is what I was thinking about for my upcoming two teambuilding workshops with Innovation Haven when I had my HEUREKA moment! I came up with an introduction game idea that seems to have the perfect combination of fun to break the ice faster than global warming does, cold hard effectiveness to put a smile on any corporate facilitator’s face, and simplicity so you can run this game right after you have read this article.
The Best Wingpartner
The Best Wingpartner is an icebreaker game that you can easily use to break the ice, build familiarity and have some laughs for groups larger than ten participants. It takes around 20 minutes to run the game and you don’t need any special preparations or tools for it.
What will this introduction game bring to your workshop
- Break the ice and give people a reason to talk to each other.
- Raise the energy of the room.
- Have people learn each other’s names, backgrounds and interests.
- Strengthen the habit of introducing ourselves and our friends in the best way possible.
- Create a fun and creative vibe while building magical moments and fond memories for the workshop participants.
How to lead the teambuilding game?
Script for running the game
- The next exercise will be a fun game for getting to know each other. The game is called: The Best Wingpartner
- How you play this game? First, you go up to someone and introduce yourself to each other in around 30 seconds each. You tell your name, background, interests and superpowers in what feel that you are very good at.
- After you have introduced yourself, you became each other’s wingpartners. What wingpartners do is supporting each other to get to know other amazing people. As a pair you will go up to another pair who is not speaking to anyone at that time with the intention of getting to know each other. It is important that at this time, you won’t be introducing yourself but rather your wingpartner will introduce you to the other pair based on what she or he has learned about you.
- AND, as any good wingpartner would do, you enhance your partner’s introduction with one epic, outrageous addition.
- So, imagine it like this: (do a little demo with someone.) I am wingpartners with John and we want to get to know another pair. I would introduce him as “Hey, have you met John? He is a project manager working with innovation, he is super keen on playing board games and he is a real prodigy when it comes to working with excel. Oh, and did I mention that he is the national bear-wrestling champion of Estonia?”
- After you have introduced your partner, one member of the other pair will introduce their wingpartner. You keep switching and introducing each other until all 4 of you have learnt each other’s names and heard about each other.
- When all of you have introduced your wingpartners, you switch partners with the other pair and find another couple to get to know with your new partner.
- Your goal is to meet as many people as you can and get to know them and introduce them to other awesome humans. Plus, bonus points for coming up with the most epic additions to their intro.
- There will be around 20 minutes to play this game. I suggest to keep the introductions short, around 30 seconds per person, so you can get to know as many people as you can.
- Are there any questions?
- Then get into pairs, introduce yourself and let the games of Best Wingpartner begin!
And this is the Best Wingpartner script Innovation Haven style. Bon appetite!
Conclusions and Teambuilding science
In theory, people could meet and get to know around 10 other workshop participants in 20 minutes play time, learn their names, strengths, interests and share some hilarious moments together.
From a scientific perspective, this teambuilding exercise builds familiarity, safety and trust in a newly forming group accelerating the first forming stage of group development.
The creative aspect of the game helps the group members to tap into their creativity and provides a platform for individual self-expression through creating the epic additions to each other’s introductions. Feeling of safety in a group and feeling free to express oneself will be very important as the group matures into the second, storming stage of group development.
Experiment with the Best Wingpartner game in your workshops and write to me what was your experience with the exercise.
Learn more about team development
At Innovation Haven, we are huge enthusiasts of science and research based facilitation. If you’d like to grow your book smarts then you can start here with one of our favorite books.
If you want to learn more about group development theory, then I recommend one of my favorite books, Creating Effective Teams by Susan A. Wheelan. It is a practical guide for team members and leaders to understand and navigate the different stages of a group’s development. At Innovation Haven, we use its models in many of our teambuilding workshops.
I’d like to highlight that these links are affiliate links meaning that if you buy the book through this link, then I will get a small percentage from its price .
TIP: The book is based on lots of research, hence it is quite pricey. If you don’t want to spend such amount to learn about group development then you can consider getting an older edition. Or simply continue reading my blog.