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Icebreakers represent an important part of a trainer’s toolkit. They allos the trainer to foster communication, enhance interaction and creativity, and energize group formation. By their composition, icebreakers also help to:
- Facilitate Introductions
- Assist Group Formation
- Introduce Topics, Concepts Or Themes
- Prepare Participants For Learning
- Energize The Group
Icebreakers are generally used at the start of a training session or at stages where new material or sessions are beginning (e.g., after a break or to energize a group before a new topic is covered). Most opening activity icebreakers should last around ten to fifteen minutes though there are a range of issues that influence what icebreaker that you employ. It is important that all participants are comfortable with the icebreaker even though sometimes the exercise may challenge them.
Choosing Ice-Breakers For Training Events
There are many issues that need to be considered when choosing an icebreaker for you training event. These include:
It is always essential that the icebreaker chosen reflects the rationale and goals of the training event.
It is also crucial that it has been tried and tested on others and that as a trainer you are familiar with all aspects of the activity.
- Consider who the audience is?
- Are they there as a group or as individuals?
- What are their ability levels? Remember individuals also like to be challenged.
- Have they completed the icebreaker before?
Connection To The Training Event
The trainer must also ensure that the icebreaker ‘connects’ to a point in the training event. To illustrate, an energizer activity is best used after a break period than before the break!
Structure of the Activity
When considering the structure of activity to be used you will need to be aware of:
- The number of participants involved
- Time required: Do you have enough time to complete the task?
- Place: Where the activity will take place?
- Permission: Participants should be allowed to choose not to participate
- Tone: What tone does the activity set with the group
- Opportunity to include learning points for the training event
- Opportunity to ask questions
The remainder of this icebreakers listed on the right provides examples of icebreakers that you can readily apply and/or adapt to your training events.
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