A few weeks ago, I got a request from someone new to facilitation asking about a great way to do introductions at a meeting. I have a lot of icebreakers up my sleeve but I was testing out something new at another meeting and had been given some ideas from an online group too. I wanted to feel it out before replying. After testing out some new things and thinking about the games I was suggested, my advice went back to something tried and true that I find a fabulous way to start a meeting.
One thing I’ve always found fun is a 3 round speed meeting. Its helpful to have a chance to meet the people you are going to be working with for the next few hours / days/etc. upfront. It can be very simple or you can put a spin on it to go deeper into your meeting content. The instructions are something like this:
- Find someone you don’t know and introduce yourselves.
- You have 3 minutes for the first round and then I will ring a bell and you have to meet another person (90 seconds each during your intros).
- Do it 3 times
- Regroup together, stand in a circle and ask people how that was for them. Do a go-around or a ‘popcorn’ to get feedback.
- Remind people that often we sit in meetings and don’t know who is around the room. If they didn’t get to meet everyone, take time during the breaks to continue the introductions.
If you want to go DEEPER or be more focused on the meeting itself, similar to above but:
- Give them 4 mins per round (2 mins each to share)
- During the intros, ask them to tell each other what they hope to get out of the meeting.
- During the debrief, ask for examples of what people said they are hoping to get out of the meeting. Ask people if most people they met had similar expectations or where they different? How were they different? What does that mean for the meeting? Ask if anybody has anything further to add that wasn’t said.
Even though each person will only have done 3 rounds, they will know more and have more depth than a simple go around sharing names and where they work.
In general, I believe the debrief for every session/activity is a key part of the session. “What, So What, Now What” are 3 questions to consider for each session you do. Even the introductions can set the tone for the type of meeting you are going to have.