How difficult is it to think of a way to energise a large group? When you are facilitating an icebreaker for 150+ people, you need a simple exercise that can engage large numbers of people. I struggled to find a suitable exercise online that would not only energise a room, but would also help people get to know each other - so we came up with the Snowball Fight icebreaker.
Here's an exercise I've used recently that can be adapted to act as a 'getting to know you' icebreaker, or as a way to share feedback at the end of a 'town hall' or 'all hands' session.
- A4 paper (enough for everyone in the room to have 1 piece each).
- Pens (Sharpies or Biro fine).
This method is for using this exercise as a team icebreaker
- Instruct everyone in the room to write a one line statement about themselves on A4 paper. It is important to emphasise that they should feel comfortable sharing this with the whole room. This could be a hobby they are passionate about, a hidden talent, or a skill they would like to share with others (allow 1 - 2 minutes for this). Once everyone has written their statement ask them to write their name on the piece of paper.
- The next step is for everyone on a table or in a small group to share their statement with each other. This works well in silence (as best you can keep it) by having people hold their piece of paper in front of their chest. Give people in the room time to read each statement (allow 1 - 2 minutes for this).
- The next step is for people to screw their paper up into a snowball and throw it across the room. People are welcome to re-throw snowballs at this stage. By the end of this, everyone needs to have someone else's snowball in their hand.
- Once everyone has a new snowball, select random people in the room to share the statement with the room. Have the person who wrote the statement stand up and wave. Do as many rounds of this as you see fit but my advice would be don't do more than 10 at a time.
- You can return to this exercise throughout your session where people can be asked to share as per step 5.
The Snowball Fight Icebreaker can also be altered to gather feedback after a session. Instead of a statement, people can write their thoughts or comments on their sheet of paper. Then, instead of these being thrown to other delegates in the room, these can be thrown onto the stage / where the facilitator is standing, where a few can be selected to be read out.
- Emphasis must be placed on the statement being one an individual would feel comfortable sharing with the whole room.
- Ensure people are careful with drinks or any other fragile items that may be on tables.
This exercise is a simple and energising way to get to know people in a large group. People will come away having heard a few stories from people in a bigger group setting, as well as reading the statements of people from their smaller sub-groups.In addition, when used as a method to get feedback, this exercise works well as a way to engage people in a light-hearted way of sharing feedback.