Indoor and Outdoor Ice-breaker Activities

All of us realize the importance and impact of ice-breaker activities. It sets the context, makes the participants comfortable with each other and with the facilitator and creates a sense of fun, engagement and commitment in the learning process.

It is, however, equally challenging and time consuming to decide on which Ice-breaker to be used. Most trainers and facilitators prefer to use ice-breaker activities that is related to the topic and is not just for fun. Such specificity makes the task of selecting an ice-breaker even more difficult.

Just to make the selection a bit easier for you, we have collated some ice-breakers below which can also be used for some specific topic.

Know About Your Neighbor Game:

Learning/Application: Icebreaker/Communication skills/Active Listening

No. Of Participants: 10-20

Duration: 15 minutes

Location: Indoors

Checklist of Items Required: Paper and Pen

Procedure

  • Instruct all participants that they have to find out specific things about other participants seated close to them and write it down on paper. Explain that this can be a mix of professional and personal information such as the place where someone studied, or the area, in which they live, or the most exotic vacation they have taken or the most unusual food they ever tasted and so on.
  • Explain that the aim is to find out something unique about their co-participants.
  • Have each person share the information they collected with the group.

Debriefing Notes

  • Use this activity as an icebreaker with groups where people do not know each other well.
  • Include an additional step of having the person being described comment on the accuracy of the points presented.
  • Use any discrepancy to explain how the act of listening is an important part of communication.

I See You Game:

Learning/Application: Icebreaker/Non-verbal communication skills/Body Language

No. Of Participants: 10-20

Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Indoor/Outdoor

Checklist of Items Required: A large floor/space where people can move unhindered

Procedure

  • Have all participants form a standing circle and bow their heads to keep their gaze on the floor.
  • Instruct that no one is to speak during the game and should only follow your instructions.
  • Ask everyone to look at others in the circle; when two people make eye contact, those two should trade places but without giving up the eye contact until the change is made. Point out that others too will be doing the same thing, so everyone should move slowly.
  • Once the change of place is achieved, the process starts all over again, making eye contact with a new person and swapping places with him or her.

Debriefing Notes

  • Use this game as a light-hearted icebreaker.
  • You may also use it to drive home the message of how eye contact is important in communication.
  • Have the group evaluate how they decided the person with whom to make eye contact and whether they consciously avoided it with others.
  • Ask them about how comfortable they felt maintaining eye contact and if it triggered feelings of anxiety that they tried to overcome by smiling or laughing.

Paper Airplane Game:

Learning/Application: Icebreaker

No. Of Participants: 9 -30

Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Indoor/Outdoor

Checklist of Items Required: Pen/ Pencil and Paper

Procedure:

  • Ask all the participants to make a paper plane and write their names, likes and dislikes or any other relevant information about themselves that they believe is interesting. To make it more specific to any topic you may ask to include information relevant to that topic in the paper plane.
  • On cue, have everyone throw their paper planes around and when someone finds one, they should again throw it around.
  • After one to two minutes, ask every person to hold on to the paper plane they have with them.
  • Instruct everyone to identify who is the person whose name is written on the airplane they have and introduce them to the group.

Debriefing Notes:

  • Use this to help people get familiar with other participants attending the training program especially if the group consists of members meeting for the first time.
  • This can also be a fun way of introducing individuals to the group.

Drawing Game:

 Learning/Application: Icebreaker/Teamwork/Creativity/ Communication skills

No. Of Participants: Multiples of 3 (6,9,12…) – Team Game

Duration: 15 minutes

Location: Indoors

Checklist of Items Required: Paper and Pen

Procedure

  • Divide people into teams with three members each. Give every team a number. Explain that no discussion is permitted during the game and no agreement can be made as to what the team will draw.
  • Give each team a paper and pen and have one person in each team start the game by drawing an outline or a shape.
  • Shout out “Change” after 15 seconds, and have this person pass the drawing to the other team member who has to add on to the drawing within 15 seconds. After another 15 seconds, have this person pass the paper to the last person in the group.
  • Instruct each team to decide on a description of the drawing unanimously within 15 seconds, mention their team number and hand it over to you.
  • Fold this part with the written description so as to be invisible and pass the drawing to another group to guess and write the description of the drawing, along with the team number. Exchange drawings between all the groups and collect back the papers.
  • Give each team two points for descriptions that match the one given by the team that originally drew the picture; one point for a partially correct answer.

Debriefing Notes:

  • Use this game to drive home the point that a team that is on the same wavelength and communicates well does a better job in lesser time.
  • Explain the importance of either sharing the same viewpoint as another person’s or being willing to adapt quickly to do this to ensure the team succeeds.
  • You may use this game as an icebreaker activity too.

Story-telling:

Learning/Application: Icebreaker/creative thinking/insight and awareness

No. of Participants: 10 – 20

Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Indoor

Checklist of Items Required: None

Procedure

  • Get the participants to sit around in a circle.
  • Introduce the start of the story with a simple phrase such as “Once upon a time….” If there is a specific theme you wish to cover later on during the presentation, introduce that here. For example, if you are dealing with teambuilding, start with “Once upon a time, in an office with 10 people…”
  • Ask one person in the circle to complete this sentence and have each member add a sentence or two to take the story ahead.
  • Make it clear that the last person in the circle has to end the story.

Debriefing Notes

  • Use this game to help participants use their imagination.
  • Alternatively, you may also use it to try to gain insight on the dynamics of the group and the issues they face when working together.

Strengthscape® designs and deliver customized training games and activities across India and other SAARC countries. Our activities are highly innovative, full of fun, safe and provide a great way to break ice and build a high-performance team. We provide services in all major Indian cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and many more.

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Trivandrum OBT

Team Building locations around Trivandrum

Outbound training programs have energy of their own – they let people discover things about themselves and their team members – things they may have missed so far or those never really on display in the sterile environs of the office.You can choose from several teambuilding locations around Trivandrum in Kerala that provide the right ambiance for perfect teambuilding programs.

1.About Trivandrum

Trivandrum or Thiruvananathapuram as it is officially known is the capital city of “God’s Own Country” – Kerala. There are several places of tourist interest in Trivandrum right from the lakes and lagoons to the mountains, waterfalls and beaches. Museums, art galleries, palaces, temples and wildlife sanctuaries – this city has them all.

2.  Team building locations around Trivandrum

Some of the locations around Trivandrum also provide the perfect setting for teambuilding sessions. While there are a number of resorts that provide the facilities and infrastructure for indoor sessions on teambuilding and leadership training, the real secret of memorable teambuilding programs is in using the locales in an around Trivandrum to drive home crucial concepts.

3.  Agastyarkoodam

This is a mountain peak of the western Ghatmountains which at 1868 m, is Kerala’s second highest mountain peak. Covered with dense forests, Agastyarkoodam peak is the ideal place to take your team trekking and set them learning about resource management, communication, empathy and working in unity. The state forest department has to be notified in advance and will issue forest passes to allow you entry into this area.

4.  Vaiyanthol/Aruvi Waterfalls

Located in the Peppara forest range, the Vaiyanthol peak is home to the Aruvi Waterfalls. Entry into this area also requires permission from the forest department and after leaving the area called Bonecaud, there is no road. All your team has to do is take a few risks, learn and unlearn, and be prepared to trust and depend on each other for support, besides listening to and obeying the instructions of the guides from the Kaani tribe who guide trekkers to the peak – quite a lot of learning in one session, you’ll agree.

5.  Shangumugham Beach

Less crowded than the more popular Kovalam beach, the Shangumugham Beach can be the perfect spot for some uninhibited fun in the water and on the sands. Besides providing some much-needed stress relief, the beach also turns into the ideal spot for teambuilding exercises when you get your team to begin building sand castles. The castle turns into a metaphor for the organization, and team members begin to introspect, identify and examine their abilities to set goals, use creativity to solve problems and develop of sense of doing their part with responsibility.

6.  Aaranmula Village

To really see the concept of teamwork in action and its ability to fetch results for the team, take your trainees to the little village of Aaranmula during August-September when it is time for Kerala’s oldest river boat festival. Get them to watch as massive teams (100 rowers, four helmsmen and 25 “motivational” singers on each boat work in perfect rehearsed union to win the race. If you manage to arrange a chat with these boating teams – great; even if you cannot, just watching them in action will open your trainees’ eyes to the magic of teamwork.

Taking your team to teambuilding locations around Trivandrum can thus help set the base for team members to develop the willingness to coordinate and communicate. The sharing of experiences that pit the team as a united force against the elements or require them to overcome the obstacles of conventional thinking paves the way for mutual respect, unity of effort and smooth functioning of the team.

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Popular Models

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Ethics In Coaching

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Coaching: A Case Study

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Coaches And Gurus

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Psychometrics In Coaching

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Impact – Employee Retention

One of the greatest dilemmas faced by organizations and corporate is attrition. Organizations hesitate to inculcate knowledge transfer programs because it often results in attrition. Though knowledge transfer is the key for organizational success, it also has other side of the coin, namely attrition. Once employees gain the sufficient knowledge, improvise their skills and have the required experience they tend to look out for other jobs, as their marketability and potential increases with knowledge transfer. Research found that this problem could be dealt effectively with mentoring. Implementing mentoring programs in organization results in higher commitment levels on the part of the mentees even with knowledge transfer, a study found. Not limiting to that the mentees also exhibited strong intentions for higher turnover in the organizations.

Mentoring Is An Essential Component For  Agrowing Organization And The Primary Means to Facilitate Change

In mentoring relationships, the key ingredient demonstrated is the element of trust which the mentees adopt after having experienced the same with the mentor. The whole of mentoring relationships demonstrates the effect of the mentoring on the mentees, affective commitment of the mentees to the organization, promotion of effective knowledge transfer by the organization and retention of key knowledge employees.

One of the key aspects of mentoring relationship is knowledge transfer. That is, knowledge transfer happens from an expert or a highly experienced employee to a less experienced employee. This is exactly what organizations do in knowledge transfer programs, then how different can this affect an employee or mentee in mentoring relationships? In a mentoring relationship, the mentee derives a continual personal support from the mentor which serves as an emotional bond for higher level of organizational commitment. The mentor plays both career and psychosocial functions with the mentee.

The mentor shows interest in career development of the mentee through knowledge transfer and skill development. The psychosocial support is demonstrated by the mentor by expressing concern in the welfare of the mentee. Research has shown that mentoring relationships operate on a dual pathway by developing knowledge transfer and high-quality interpersonal relationships simultaneously which contributes to mentees commitment to the organization.

Filed under: Business EtiquetteTagged with: , ,

Open And Closed Questions

The development of research in business studies and business communication has brought about a lot of new facts and interesting aspects if human behavior. Most of these related to various aspects of customer interaction. On the basis of these studies business communication has developed a process of verbal interaction while doing business or sales. Most business and sales personnel undergo a training of this process and most of the soft skill training include it in their curriculum as well. Open ended and close ended questions form an integral part of these business communications.

The use of these techniques is not just limited to the area of business communication, today almost all surveyors and research questionnaires depend on this form of questioning to generate a more reliable data for their use. The main reason behind this is that these two forms if combined together provide a funnel effect and help reach a desired solution or data rather more easily. A close ended question can be defined as one which can be answered in a single word, this word can be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or any other word. For e.g. questions like ‘how old are you?’ or ‘which grade are you in?’ or ‘Do u like football?’ all can be answered in a single word, hence they are called close ended questions.

These kinds of questions have many uses like opening a conversation or understanding a point more clearly or to generate a concrete response etc.

On the other hand open ended questions intentionally seek longer and more descriptive answers. With such questions the respondent is required to think and ponder over the answer and then convey his or her feelings or opinions or needs. In business communication this is a process of further knowing a person’s needs, requirements or problems etc. for e.g. questions like ‘what are you looking for?’ or ‘why is that so important to you?’ or ‘what is it that you require?’ etc require an elaborate answer to be convey a message clearly, hence these are called open ended questions. Such questions are used to lead a conversation especially during a business communication towards identifying the needs and problems to which one has a solution. It is quite an effective tool in this regard.

So whereas the close ended questions generate quick responses, the open ended questions are the ones that lead towards a solution or a deal. The close ended questions usually leave incomplete remarks which demand an unrestrained and free response that is in turn created by the trust developed with open ended questions.

Soft skill training of various categories and different segments emphasizes on the need to club these two together for a good general conversation. It also helps in leaving a good first impression at someone you have just met. Also such a combination makes sure that no one party is completely overshadowing the other or controlling the conversation, rather it enables to develop a healthy and a mutually interesting dialogue that is satisfactory for both the persons involved. Along with this it also leads to a smooth business interaction that is in the end very yielding. So mastering the art of using these questions can be the best thing a budding sales executive learns. More so because it is something not taught at business schools.

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Body Language

Good communication forms the basis of any successful relationship both in the personal as well as professional domains. But it would be wrong to say that this communication is only done using words. In fact humans have a very strong non verbalcommunication pattern, and many experts believe that we majorly use our body as means to convey some message or to communicate. Such communications include body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, posture and even voice modulation. Soft skill trainings usually emphasize on the ability to understand and utilize this aspect of human behavior to convey messages and express thoughts. Not only this, but it also helps in navigating difficult situations and develop healthier relationships.

More often than not the body language of a person and other non verbal messages help understand the persona and differentiate between what is true and what is not because such communication seldom lies. So if any time one happens to witness a person whose body language does not endorse what he verbally says then the other person is forced to choose between believing one of the two communications and usually people end up believing the non verbal one. This is a universal truth. Soft skill trainings try to drill home this point and encourage the trainees to be more receptive towards such interaction and understand it.

Apart from body language, facial expressions, posture and gestures form an integral part of these non verbal interactions. A careful understanding of these is also required because such behaviors change from culture to culture as well. Often what is considered to be a welcome gesture in one culture is taken as an offence in the other. For e.g. standing or talking at close distances is a practice very fondly followed in some countries like that of Latin America, whereas in countries of the north America or Europe people will not be comfortable with this at all, they prefer to keep a distance. So it is always advisable to have some knowledge of non verbal behavior in other cultures as well especially for those who are in constant interaction with people of those cultures.

Usually body movements or posture gives an idea about the state of the mind of the person whether he or she is relaxed or tensed or impatient or irritated or thoughtful etc. Similarly the eyes convey a lot of messages regarding attraction or affection or animosity, hostility or love or hatred etc. The touch can also be a great indicator of the other person’s feelings. For e.g. consider a hand shake, a firm handshake shows interest whereas a slack one signifies laziness or that the person is disinterested. A warm hug or patronizing pats on the head all have their own significance in their realm of communication. The voice is also a great non verbal indicator although it is related to words but in a totally different way. Part from listening to what we speak people also read our voices, i.e. they reassure the meaning of the words with the tone. A voice can be sarcastic, angry, affectionate or confident. All these are various ways in which a person communicates.

So understanding the non-verbal communication pattern helps in making a person a better communicator and a better manager all at the same time. When we say better manager, we mean a manager of people, time, resources and everything else that matters. It is also interesting to study and learn, quite unlike anything boring.

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