Breaking the ice

Posted 12 September 2016 by
Penny Moyle, CEO OPP
Getting to know you bingo

Our work as facilitators often requires us to quickly create rapport with and among relative strangers. Getting a group energised and priming them for the learning to come is a great way to open any event.

Icebreakers are a tried and tested staple for trainers and here’s one that my colleague Gil Parsons ran for us at one of our European MBTI Trainers’ Conference. This was a mixed group where some people had known each other for many years, and others were completely new to the group. The icebreaker encourages participants to share a little personal information about themselves, and can be a great foundation for establishing new connections and building trust. 

‘Getting to know you’ bingo

Bingo, and variants of it, has been played around the world for hundreds of years and has cross-cultural appeal. This version requires players to match simple personal statements to others in the group. We’ve prepared a bingo card and instructions, with a selection of ‘safe’ statements that are likely to apply to a good proportion of the population. Or you can edit it to include specific facts about your participants. Click here for our free-to-download exercise: ‘getting to know you’ bingo.

What I love about this icebreaker is the observational data it provides, both in terms of seeing MBTI Type at play, and reflecting on FIRO needs. More of that is explained in the download.  

Alternative icebreakers

Another short, impactful exercise to kick off MBTI group sessions is the numbers icebreaker – again available as a free download. It illustrates the relevance and usefulness of using a framework to make sense of the seemingly random, and can be used to counter the challenge that ‘MBTI puts everyone in a box’.

Tell us what works for you

If you have a favourite icebreaker or exercise that helps you to position the MBTI and FIRO instruments or other sessions that you run, I’d love to hear from you. Why not add a comment below, or share your ideas in our LinkedIn group, OPP Qualified Professionals?

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