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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

Article Rating:::: 99 Ratings :::: Monday, May 2, 2016

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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Praise Yourself: What Is Good about You?

Praise Yourself: What Is Good about You?
Exercises, Motivation, Personal Impact, Self-esteem

Article Rating:::: 80 Ratings :::: Monday, June 1, 2015

In many social environments, boasting about ourselves is usually frowned on. It is often impolite to keep going on about our own achievements and show off our skills, processions and knowledge. This leads to a certain amount of conformity where we never get to praise ourselves. We are encouraged to praise others (rightly so) and everyone loves to be praised. However, we never get to acknowledge our own achievements internally. In fact, most often we are so focused on learning or owning the next thing that we forget we have come a long way already.

This lack of self-praise can lead people to devalue themselves and not see their own accomplishments as significant or worthy of sharing with others. This can in turn lead to reduced self-esteem and life-worth. Hence, it is useful to have an opportunity to self-praise in front of others.

In this elegant but powerful activity, delegates get to praise themselves in a controlled environment so there is no room to appear rude or impolite. They get to acknowledge their own accomplishments and feel good about themselves by sharing this with others. It is this sharing aspect that makes this activity so powerful by encouraging people to talk about themselves positively while having someone to listen to. It simply reminds people that they have done well, focusing their attention on the most positive aspects of their lives.

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Free Speaking: Avoiding Speaker’s Block

Free Speaking: Avoiding Speaker’s Block
Public Speaking, Exercises, Personal Impact, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 61 Ratings :::: Sunday, April 5, 2015

This is a technical activity to help avoiding speaker’s block while presenting. The aim is to follow a systematic approach in practicing over and over again until delegates are confident enough that they can deliver a speech without getting stuck. This a great activity in handling stage fright.

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Public Speaking Exercises

Public Speaking Exercises
Exercises, Presentation Skills, Personal Impact, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 172 Ratings :::: Monday, February 2, 2015

This is a series of exercises to practice public speaking and presentation skills. The key to mastering the art is practicing. The exercises here provide a template that you can adapt in various training courses. Consider using these exercises in courses such as:

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Personal Impact Exercise: Just a Minute

Personal Impact Exercise: Just a Minute
Public Speaking, Exercises, Personal Impact, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 120 Ratings :::: Monday, January 5, 2015

This is technical exercise to practice public speaking. It is designed to focus a presenter’s mind on a specific goal when giving a speech so it is delivered without pause. The exercise also helps to avoid mental blocks or the dreadful feeling of suddenly not knowing what to say or how to continue.

The exercise is loosely based on “Just a Minute”, a BBC Radio 4 radio comedy and television panel game.

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Debate Exercise: Express Your Views and Persuade People

Debate Exercise: Express Your Views and Persuade People
Public Speaking, Exercises, Assertiveness, Personal Impact, Listening Skills, Persuasion Skills

Article Rating:::: 1662 Ratings :::: Monday, October 27, 2014

Being able to have an opinion about important subjects and defend that position is an incredibly important skill in life. Often, we come across such potentially heated debates during the course of a day, but the subjects are mainly to do with practical daily tasks rather than deeper philosophical issues. The solutions to such issues are usually non-obvious where many thinkers have been putting efforts in exploring them and providing insights.

This structured exercise provides an opportunity to practice debating on such topics in a controlled environment where the main focus is on the following:

  • Practice presenting a viewpoint clearly, concisely and accurately
  • Avoid exaggeration that can be used to derail a position by others
  • Not getting emotional when others disagree and instead learning to see it from their point of view
  • Have a conversation about a topic and learn something about it by listening to others
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Storytelling: Impromptu Delivery with Image

Storytelling: Impromptu Delivery with Image
Public Speaking, Exercises, Acting, Personal Impact, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 93 Ratings :::: Monday, October 20, 2014

This is entertaining exercise on getting delegates to quickly think of a story to tell based on a visual prompt. The options allow you to bias the exercise based on what you want delegates to practice on. They can then get feedback on their storytelling.

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Icebreaker: Who is That

Icebreaker: Who is That
Games, Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Diversity, Personal Impact

Article Rating:::: 70 Ratings :::: Monday, August 18, 2014

Use this icebreaker to help delegates get to know each other better. You can also use the training exercises as a test to see who knows most about others. It is fairly easy to run. You can customise the exercise by changing the questions provided in the “About Me Form”. For example, you can increase the number of work-related or project-related questions to bias the exercise towards a specific direction.

If you run this exercise for people who don’t know each other at all, it would work like a test on stereotyping and first impressions. In other words, the person who identifies most people’s qualities correctly, when he has never met them before, must have a sharp eye in paying attention to detail and a good judgment in placing people in society with respect to their interests. This can be a fascinating training topic to explore at the end of the exercise.

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Communication Exercise: First Person but Few “I”s

Communication Exercise: First Person but Few “I”s
Exercises, Personal Impact, Attention and Focus, Storytelling, Creative Writing

Article Rating:::: 44 Ratings :::: Monday, May 26, 2014

Imagine a person who talks about himself all the time. The conversation is full of “I”, “me”, “my” and they constantly talk about what happens in their lives. Such people don’t tend to last long as friends. Usually, the people we most like are those who are caring and selfless rather than those who are self-centred. To such people nothing seems to be as important or interesting as themselves.

Unfortunately, we all might suffer from a degree of self-centred view from time to time and would need to keep an eye on it. This exercise helps delegates see what it means to shift focus to others even when you want to talk about your own views. It is a clever and subtle way to shift attention to others without overtly forcing them to change.

This exercise also helps delegates see how important it is to let events speak for themselves. It focuses the mind to cover facts more than subjective emotions and let a listener decide for himself on what to interpret. The exercise is ideal for creative writing as it provides a structured approach to storytelling.

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Feedback Exercise: Positive Affirmations

Feedback Exercise: Positive Affirmations
Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Personal Impact, Appraisal

Article Rating:::: 98 Ratings :::: Monday, May 12, 2014

This uplifting and extremely positive exercise is suitable for a group of people who know each other well. The exercise helps delegates appreciate and reinforce each other’s positive traits. It is known that some people get quite positively affected by this exercise and tend not to forget the results they get; sometimes for years.

This is a great exercise for a team that has been working together for a while and you want to bring them even closer and make them appreciate each other’s inputs.

This exercise is also ideal for kids as they get to reinforce each other’s qualities. Often kids are unaware of their traits or don’t yet know the significance on others. The exercise brings this out and helps them become more experienced on what people consider as positive traits and what other see or don’t see in them.

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