You find yourself part of a group of people who barely know each other, and your job is to get them communicating. Whether you are the head of a committee at work, or you are meeting new people in your personal life, getting a group started with icebreaker questions is important in building the group dynamic. Once a group feels comfortable communicating in general, you can get them to start discussing any specific issues that need to be addressed.
The easiest way to get a group talking is to get the individual members of the group to talk about themselves for a little while. You will want to start off with simple questions such as their names, what they do for a living, and if they have a spouse and any children. These are easy questions for individuals to answer, and even the shyest group member should be able to contribute here. As with any group icebreaker exercise, you should start with one person and work your way around the group one person at a time. The only rule is that no one else should talk while the appointed person is talking, and that rule should be strictly enforced.
Adding Some Personality
The important thing to remember about the group dynamic is that it needs to build from something simple toward something more complex. When the group feels comfortable sharing opinions or emotions, then you will start to get the information you are looking for. To move up to that point, you must still keep the conversation centered around individual group members, but you can encourage them to start opening up a little more. Ask each person to tell one thing about themselves that they feel best sums up their personality. Ask them who they admire the most and why. Make the questions specific, but keep them centered on the individual person. A healthy group dynamic builds on mutual respect, and asking people their opinions of others in the group can kill a growing dynamic quickly.
Group icebreaker questions are most effective when they use a little humor. Once everyone is warmed up with saying their names and a little information about their families, you can make them more comfortable by getting them laughing. Funny questions can sometimes be the easiest to ask. If you could be an animal, what kind would it be? Why do you think bees like flowers? If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Not only will you get the group talking and laughing, but you may start to find out things about the members of the group that will be important to know later.
George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.