How Different Are We All? – Ice Breaker Game
In an office environment, all doing similar jobs, a new candidate may walk into the room and see everyone as the same. But as we all know, time soon turns this concept on its head! After several days, it’s easy to distinguish everyone not just by name, but how they are in certain situations, how they speak and how they go about solving problems.
In How different are we all? the purpose is simple – to seek out these differences and similarities and break the ice by way of a fun activity that really gets you thinking! With so much to discover, everyone will have a very different take on this game, which is suitable for all individuals working in a team environment. Think of this as a great ice-breaking activity which will help new workers settle in, or as a way of building better communication between existing members of a team.
Everyone will need a pen, so even if there are only a few of you, one per person is essential. You’ll also need to give everyone a sheet of paper and something to lean on. A clipboard is great for this as you probably already have a few in the office and they can be carried around easily.
How it works
Begin by handing out the equipment, and don’t worry about where you do this game. It can be done outside if the weather is nice, or inside. Tables are not essential, which is great because sometimes at a conference it’s good to get away for a coffee and do something a little bit different.
Now everyone has a pen and paper, ask everyone to draw three vertical lines an equal distance apart, so as to form three distinct spaces. Ask the team to write Similar things in the middle, and Different things in the third column. In the first one, put Name. The best part about this is that it doesn’t have to be perfectly neat – what’s more important is what everyone will soon discover…
At this point, it’s time for some interaction. With most people knowing each other, this will be easy. As everyone gets talking, ask them to record the names of the people they meet in the Name column. This is a good activity for new participants, too, as it sets out a formula and keeps everyone equal, allowing people to talk to others who they may not usually connect with.
What are the differences between the person with the paper and the person they are speaking to? Equally what are the similarities? Ask the team to be imaginative and write down as many of these as they can in the correct columns, and soon they should have quite a list! There are lots of examples of what might be written, such as languages in common and one person owning a Parrot while another owns a snake! And here’s why this is a fun activity: with no rules governing this, everyone will learn something of use, even those people who have been working together for several years.
Using this format there are bound to be differences, and the more the better. It all aids in the end result, and means that once you get back to work, a level of knowledge will exist within the team that simply wasn’t there before.
As we said above, the rules for this activity are extremely basic, so it’s easy for all to follow. To ensure that as much is learned about everyone as possible, ask the participants not to record the same thing repeatedly. For example, as fascinating as it is to know that three or four people love a certain well known crème egg, it’s better to write down other things (like marshmallows!). These might be countries workers have visited on holiday, favourite TV shows or things they have done which scared them.
At the core of this exercise is an opportunity to be as creative and inventive as possible, so consider this before-hand and inspire your team with things which they might otherwise not have considered. If you have done this activity several times and are looking for new ways to make it interesting, you could try talking about differences and similarities in personality, exercise, spending habits or a series of films which everyone knows. With an unlimited potential for learning and the ability to make new workers feel at home very quickly, this is an exercise which won’t be a chore to do, and will bring up interesting facts each and every time.
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