Friday, October 07, 2016

"Icebreakers Are Terrible. They Also, Unfortunately, Work Really Well."

This is the time of year when walking into a group of strangers with the hope of charming them enough that they will listen to me talk at them for a few hours, or making a new friend (of sorts), is something I do rather a lot. But as a shy (broken?) extrovert, I sometimes find it intimidating and welcome help, like having a bit of structure or someone in charge to set the tone. What about you?

Check out this article from Cari Romm of New York Magazine for an interesting perspective on the effectiveness of "icebreakers."
"It’s back-to-school season, which means it’s time for fresh starts, pumpkin-spice overload, inappropriately themed sale displays, and — if you’re actually going back to school — racking your brain for suitably fun facts to share with a classroom full of strangers, or gearing up for endless rounds of two-truths-and-a-lie in a dorm lounge. Truth: Here’s a thing I did this summer. Truth: Here’s something about, I don’t know, a family pet. Lie: This is fun.

"To all but the most enthusiastic few, icebreakers are just a necessary evil — even though they’re supposed to dispel the awkwardness, forced getting-to-know-you games often feel like they’re just making an awkward event even more so, whether you’re at freshman orientation or a corporate retreat. So why do we insist on beginning so many situations by suffering through trust walks and elaborate name games? Is there any value to making a roomful of people miserable with false cheer?

"Psychologist Anton Villado is adamant that the answer is yes, and that icebreakers don’t have to be pleasant to be effective."
Keep reading to see why Villado says they work and what they can accomplish.

H/T Tony Sheng.

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