This fast-paced highly active exercise helps delegates to understand each other better and also appreciate their differences as well as commonalities. It generates lots of laughter so it is a good choice as an icebreaker. This exercise is also surprisingly ideal for students who are young.
Delegates to assign themselves stated labels depending on how similar they think they are to a particular concept.
What You Need
- You need two signs to hang on the walls in two sides of the training room. The signs should read “A” and “B”
- Prepare the training room by placing sign “A” on one side of the room and sign “B” on the other side of the room. You may put a tape on the floor to divide the area if you wish and especially if you have many participants.
- Make sure people can freely move between the two signs and chairs or tables are moved out of the way and there is no safety hazard.
This exercise has two parts. To keep both parts entertaining and educational, keep the pace moving steadily. This exercise can be more exciting if delegates are under slight time pressure.
- Ask all the delegates to come to the centre of the room.
- Explain that you are going to read through a number of pairs of concepts or statements. Those who feel that they are similar to the first concept in each pair, should move near to sign “A” and those that feel closer to the second concept, should move to sign “B”.
- Explain that you will read the series of pairs one after another. Participants should continuously respond by moving to different points in the room depending on their preference.
- Use the following concepts (of course you are free to customise this list based on your own needs or if you want to bias the exercise).
“Ok, Are you ready?... here we go...”
- A Pen, A Pencil
- A BMW, A Mercedes
- The Sun, The Moon
- Hot, Cool
- Yes, No
- Stairs, Lift
- Wine, Beer
- Venus, Mars
- Summer, Winter
- 1, 2
- Red, Blue
- A dog, A cat
- Day, Night
- Digital, Analogue
- Strong, Fast
- Sweet, Sour
- Blonde, Brunette
- “Ok, Are you ready?... here we go...”
- Ask the delegates if they could spot patterns and if they thought some delegates where on “their side” more often than others.
- Continue immediately with this part.
- Ask each delegate to pick another person and using papers provided record as many things they have in common in the given time. These can be anything. Examples are:
- We work together on a project
- We are both born in September.
- We both have a single brother.
- We like surfing.
- Tell them that they have only 3 minutes for each person and then they should move to find another partner.
- When the 3 minutes is over, announce it and ask delegates to move to the next person.
- Repeat this for 20 to 30 minutes (7 to 10 rounds).
- At the end, ask who got the longest list and give them a prize. You can give a prize for the longest individual list created in the 3 minute interval or you can give a prize for the overall longest list.
- As a variation, you can use a 2 minute rule instead to make the exercise faster.
- Follow up with a discussion.
Explaining the Test: 5 minutes.
Activity: PART I: 5 minutes, PART II: 30 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes.
Initiate a discussion and ask the delegates what they thought of the exercise? Did they learn a lot about each other? Did they have any assumptions about each other that were negated or clarified? Were they surprised to find other people with so many similarities with them in the group? What does this exercise tell us about our diversity and common interests?
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