A new ice-breaker

I recently attended a BC HRMA consultants’ roundtable event on Visioning and Strategic Planning for 2010. It was a very informative event and made for a great networking opportunity.  The roundtable was comprised of HR and training professionals who were either currently running or starting up their own consulting companies. Having facilitated or participated in many, many ice-breaker activities over the years, it’s challenging to find an activity that impresses a room full of HR and training professionals. The facilitator at this event managed to do that admirably!

At the start of the session, the icebreaker activity was conducted to help us focus on the evening’s topic. Before the roundtable event started, the organizer printed 50 to 60 postcard-sized color images on card stock. The images were an assortment of stock image photos (i.e., crossword puzzle piece with a keyhole and key inserted, a bonfire, a ladder, a treasure chest full of gold coins, a storm over an ocean, etc.). The postcards were scattered randomly around the tables in the room. We were asked to get up and choose two images: one that represented us in 2009 and the other that represented where we wanted to be or wanted to accomplish in 2010. Everyone chose their two cards then sat back down. We then introduced ourselves and showed each card, in turn, to the audience explaining why we chose them. There were some very interesting and thought provoking choices and explanations. We also got to know each other very quickly on a more personal level and it provided some great discussions during the networking chat at the end of the evening. 

Most everyone agreed that the icebreaker was one of the most effective and interesting activities of the evening. It gave us each the opportunity to reflect on our successes and challenges from the past year but also focused us on what we wanted to accomplish in the coming year. 

This icebreaker can easily be adapted for a variety of topics and purposes – not just for training but for group meetings and team building events. I’m looking forward to trying it out soon. My challenge will be to find just the right images to match the topic.