Make it your own
By now you have an idea on what an Ice-breaker session consists of, what it aims to achieve, and how it is to be organised. Following are some general considerations that will help you in customising and organising the ice-breaker session to align with your ideological objectives and logistical set up:
1. Participants in breakout rooms:
Facilitators should try and ensure that participants interact with as many people as possible by mixing up breakout rooms. This would ensure that each time a participant goes to their next round of breakout rooms, they are interacting with a different set of people.
2. Questions in breakout rooms:
Questions in breakout rooms should be unrelated to the Project and be directed at ensuring that participants get to know each other better. These questions should also be aimed at making the IB informal and casual. For instance, for the first IB, the questions for each round of breakout rooms should be casual and explorative of the participant’s personal preferences. Questions could include, “What is your favourite movie”, “What is your favourite food?”, and “Where would you prefer to go on a holiday?” Such questions ensure easier conversation and helps participants identify common interests.
3. Rounds of breakout rooms:
One round of breakout rooms will include smaller rooms with no more than 5 and no less than 3 people in each room. Each round of breakout room will have one question that each room must discuss and answer. The number of breakout room rounds should depend on the time available for the session. For example, if you have set aside one hour for breakout rooms then it would be possible to organise 3 rounds of breakout rooms wherein each round would be approximately 20 minutes long.
4. Time division in breakout rooms:
Since participants will be holding discussions in smaller rooms, one should account for the time that participants would require to summarise the conversations in their own breakout room. Therefore, in case the length of one breakout room is 20 minutes, then 15 minutes should be the conversation time and the remaining 5 minutes should be when participants summarise the conversation. These 5 minutes can also be utilised for you to divide participants in the next set of breakout rooms.
5. Duration of the session:
While there should be a start time for IB, the end time should be kept flexible to allow interactions between participants without time constraints. To facilitate conversations and avoid the initial set of awkward silences, a certain amount of time should be set aside for participants to discuss specific questions which are unrelated to the project. Depending on the number of participants, they should discuss answers to these questions in breakout rooms of smaller groups.