Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

An effective and cool ice breaker for your next team meeting.

Thought you might appreciate hearing about this great exercise that you can use as part of a staff meeting, or to kick off a morning or afternoon session with a working team. All you need is 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the team), and a simple worksheet with this partial sentence printed on it: Everyone (on my team) may want to know…..

Participants will have the opportunity to complete the sentence with just one specific piece of information that may help their co-workers communicate or collaborate more effectively with them. Or, the tidbit they offer may simply help their teammates understand them better. For example: Everyone may want to know …..that I’m not a morning person, so if possible, it’s best to approach me after I’ve had an hour in the office; or Everyone may want to know …..that I strongly prefer email over voice mail; or Everyone may want to know ……that when I get busy I sometimes get very focused on what I’m doing and may appear as though I don’t want to be bothered, so please approach me anyway if you need me!

If you’re facilitating the exercise, you may want to follow these—or a variation on these—steps:
– Give people a few minutes to complete the sentence about themselves. Again, they’re sharing information that may help their teammates better communicate or collaborate with, or understand them. You may want to offer a couple of examples (like the ones mentioned above) to get them started.
– Once people have had sufficient time to write their sentence, you may want to break the team up into triads so that people can share their statements conversationally within a smaller group, to start.
– Then, debrief the larger group: Before going around the room so that each person could very briefly state/share their sentence (encourage people to take notes about their teammates), you may want to ask the large group a few quick questions such as: Did anyone hear something from a teammate that they weren’t already aware of? Or: How many of you were already aware of what your teammates shared with you in your small group? Or: How many of you feel that what you learned about your teammate will help you work better with them, and how?

This simple exercise will offer an opportunity to actively engage participants during a meeting, while giving team members a great opportunity to learn more about one another and how they can work better together. And, it may generate some interesting conversations well-beyond the meeting.

If you decide to give this exercise a try, I hope you’ll share your comments/feedback about your and your team’s experience with it. Everyone may want to know……that I’ll appreciate your taking the time to comment!



  Darlene Russell wrote @

This sounds like a great way to increase communication in the workplace and have fun doing it. I really like this exercise.

  donnarawadyblog wrote @

Darlene, I hope you’ll let us know how it went once you’ve had a chance to use it! Thanks.

  Darlene Russell wrote @

I am in a job transition right now but when I land I will definitely want to suggest this activity.

  cousin am wrote @

Don, you are brilliant. I love what you do and am so proud to be your cousin.
Thanks so much for sharing your brain with us. love am

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