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.