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The Big List of Effective Icebreaker Questions

The Big List of Effective Icebreaker Questions
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Personal Impact, Interview Skills

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Suppose you have a group of people that don’t know each other very well and you want to get them feel more comfortable with one another. If you put this group of people in a room together, they will eventually mingle but the process is often inefficient. Most often the talkative or extrovert types dominate the conversations while others simply listen. People receive a lot of information about a few loud people and start to feel frustrated that they couldn’t get a word in. Alternatively, some may simply feel shy and not so comfortable to suddenly talk about themselves among a group of strangers.

In such cases, a structured approach to break the ice is useful. One simple way to do this is to divide the delegates into smaller groups and provide them with a set of questions that encourages them to talk about specific topics. This exercise and its variations help you achieve this.

Note that the questions listed here are designed to excite and encourage the delegates to talk. They go beyond the usual questions often suggested such as, “What is your hobby?”, or “What country do you like to travel to?” The aim is to ask deeper and more meaningful questions that touch the heart and make the person really excited to talk about themselves. In fact, these questions can make the person learn something about themselves which makes the exercise much more useful.

Often it will take much more than a few minutes to answer some of the questions listed here, but this is fine for the purpose of this exercise because the aim is to simply make people talk excitedly about themselves.

The collection of questions presented here can also be used to interview people or when you simply want to get a person talk about themselves. They can be rather effective in making an emotional connection.

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Give Positive Affirmations on Training

Give Positive Affirmations on Training
Exercises, Train the Trainer, Giving Feedback

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At the end of a training course, you should always allocate time so that delegates can review what they have learned in the course so you can get a chance to reinforce key lessons. In addition, this is also a good opportunity to provide feedback. When this feedback is delivered by other delegates it can be even more effective. Hence, this exercise is designed to help delegates receive positive affirmations, reinforce learning on those areas and make the experience more memorable.

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Form a Line Based on Your Birthday

Form a Line Based on Your Birthday
Leadership, Exercises, Icebreakers, Communication Skills, Exercises for Kids, Decision Making, Large Group

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In this exercise delegates get to form a line based on the order of their birthdays without talking. It provides an opportunity for nonverbal communication, self-organisation, nominating a leader if necessary and quick decision making.

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Self-Esteem Exercise: Poor Generalisations

Self-Esteem Exercise: Poor Generalisations
Exercises, Motivation, Self-esteem

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People tend to focus on negative aspects of their personality harshly. Many exaggerate their negative traits or personal observations beyond what they really are which affects their self-esteem and self-worth negatively. This exercise helps people to look at the positive side and avoid negative and destructive generalisations.

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Creativity Exercise: Make a Monster

Creativity Exercise: Make a Monster
Games, Exercises, Team Building, Creativity, Exercises for Kids, Resource Management, Art, Design

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This is a template for a creativity exercise centred on making monsters. It can be used for kids and adults depending on how you bias it and setup the exercise.

You can consider assigning the task to groups for an exercise on teamwork, teambuilding and management or run it individually for focus on creativity.

Ideally, you should run this exercise as a competition between participants to keep it fun and focused.

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Aggressive, Submissive and Assertive Responses

Aggressive, Submissive and Assertive Responses
Exercises, Communication Skills, Assertiveness

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This is an activity on being assertive. A great way to learn how to be assertive is to know how it contrasts with being aggressive or submissive. This activity helps delegates to analyse a given situation and analyse various responses delivered and see how their feelings are affected as a result of each response.

Before going through this activity, you should have talked about assertiveness in detail along with giving examples so that delegates know what is expected of them here.

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Marketing Exercise: Cross Sell Your Products

Marketing Exercise: Cross Sell Your Products
Exercises, Creativity, Sales Skills, Marketing, Persuasion Skills

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This exercise helps delegates to brainstorm how to cross sell products. It focuses on a random set of products so it is rather creative to see what marketing strategies delegates can come up with. The key point to make in this exercise is that any two products can be related to each other and this can be used as material for marketing and cross selling.

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Positive Appreciation, Affirmation and Praise

Positive Appreciation, Affirmation and Praise
Exercises, Team Building, Motivation, Self-esteem

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In this activity, a group of people get to acknowledge each other’s actions and appreciate the impact of such actions on their own lives. People tend to avoid praising despite the fact that it is incredibly motivating. In addition, people also tend to shrug off praise as a way of being humble or they may feel they need to be polite rather than boasting about their actions. Both of these lead to a missed opportunity on boosting a person’s self-esteem. This activity provides an opportunity to do this systematically and in a safe environment.

It is ideal for a team of people who have been working together, know each other well and have gone through shared experiences so they can comment on each other’s actions.

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Teamwork Exercise: Broadcast News

Teamwork Exercise: Broadcast News
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Presentation Skills, Storytelling, Creative Writing

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This is an entertaining and educational activity designed to test a group of people on their creativity as well as teamwork. The task involves producing a video. However, the video production is only an excuse to see how a team goes about a common task where several distinct roles are involved. There is a strict deadline, limited resources and a sense of competition with other teams.

The activity can be used to explore many subjects on interpersonal skills such as leadership, resource management, conflict management, coordination, teamwork, reaching deadlines, accepting limited resources and a focused approach to producing results. It is also ideal for courses on public speaking and presentation skills.

 

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Weekly Slogans

Weekly Slogans
Training Articles, Motivation, Goal Setting, Attention and Focus

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In Chapter 14 of Focused Determination, a motivational technique is presented which we call “Weekly Slogans”. These are inspiring quotes or “Slogans” that you choose for personal motivation. As described in the book, you need a collection of them so that you can use a different one each week. A list is provided in the book (in Appendix B) which is included below.

As indicated in the book, this page is where you can submit your favourite weekly slogans so that other readers can get inspired by them while preparing and extending their own personal lists.

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