CANR RESPONSE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

Speed meeting icebreaker for clubs or groups

Speed meetings are a fun and exciting way to meet many members of a new team.

People shaking hands

It is important for individuals to get to know each other in new groups before jumping right into business. Having an icebreaker helps to make people comfortable and become present in the group’s discussions and agenda. Each group is different, so it’s essential to decide which icebreaker, teambuilding exercise or energizer is right for the group. A speed meeting is a fun, high energy and exciting way to meet many members of a new team. This process allows participants to get to know a portion of the members on a deeper level versus a full group introduction.

Setting

This activity can be done with a group as small as 10 to as large as 100.

Materials

A list of questions to ask each pairing.

Timeline

Allow 2-3 minutes per pair. The facilitator can adjust the overall time of this activity by adjusting how many different pairings are made.

Procedure

  • Pair up the participants. If space and chairs are available, line up chairs across from each other through the room in a line or a U shape (to better utilize space). Each participant sits in a chair directly across from another individual.
    • If chairs are not available, have half of the participants line the wall around the room then pair a person directly across from them. The group on the wall will not move.
  • Explain the rules to the group. Each time you are paired up, you will have 2 minutes to shake hands, introduce yourself and talk about the topic presented to you. Make sure both participants have enough time to share.
  • Stop once you hear the timer. The facilitator will then have the group in row one move two chairs to their right while the other group remains seated. Adjust this number to whatever makes sense for your group, but always make them move more than one spot, as they most likely already heard a bit about the person next to the one they were paired with.
  • The group at the end of the chairs will wrap around to the beginning of the line.
  • Have the second group introduce themselves to each other and answer the second question.

Additional tips for success

  • Have the questions on a screen on the wall or written in large newsprint. Be sure to only reveal the question being asked.
  • Give a proper introduction or handshake as an example before the activity begins.
  • Adjust your questions to fit the nature of the group. If it is a leadership group, then leadership questions might be more beneficial. If it is just to get the energy flowing, then fun, silly questions might prove more useful.

Reflect

After you have rotated the amount of times you determined you had time for, pull the group’s attention to the front of the room. Ask for volunteers to share a memorable thing they learned about someone they just spoke to.

If you would like to take this exercise a step further than just an icebreaker, talk about how to apply what they did in life situations.

Apply

Discuss how this was a fun activity but ask participants if they could see this working in a real-life situation. If the group needs prompting, suggest how it can be very intimidating when you walk into a room of new people, but to try walking up to someone, introducing yourself and asking a relevant question about the setting, such as what are you hoping to get accomplished through this meeting or what is your experience with a group like this.

Be sure to offer an answer of your own once you had a chance to hear their response. These are real world icebreakers that can help you feel more comfortable with a situation as well as provide valuable information for you to be more successful in a group.

An example of a speed meeting activity

Always start with:

  • Handshake
  • Tell them who you are
  • Tell one small thing about yourself. (Where are you from? Which group are you representing?)

For example: Good morning (shaking hand), I am Jerry Heart from Silver Stars 4-H Club in Clover County.

Ask group to discuss:

  • What is your favorite accomplishment?
  • How do you feel about snow? Tell a story of why.
  • What do you hope to get out of the meeting with this group?
  • What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
  • Who is your favorite person and why?

Michigan State University Extension offers many great resources for clubs and advisory groups. For 4-H advisory group resources, check out the Michigan 4-H Advisory Toolkit.

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