I’m often asked to help with icebreaker ideas.
My wife introduced me to this one years ago when we both worked at a youth center. It’s a fun icebreaker for any audience, but it brings on additional meaning and opportunities for debriefing when used in a sales training.
Materials: Name tags for each participant
Time: 15-45 minutes (depending on how many participants and how much time you have available)
Step 1: Introductions
Instruct participants to break up into pairs and introduce themselves. You can prepare specific questions if you’d like. For example: what’s your name, what’s your hometown, what organization do you work for, what’s your tenure, what’s something that nobody else in the room knows about you?
Allow pairs about 3 minutes or so to share information about themselves.
Step 2: The Name Tag Exchange
Instruct participants to take off their own name tag and exchange it with their partner. They are now to find a new partner and they should assume the identity of the person they were just speaking with (hopefully they were paying attention to their first partners’ answers).
Step 3: Repeat the Name Tag Exchange
Repeat this process several times, depending on how much time you have available. At the end of each rotation, participants should swap name tags and assume the identity of the person whose name tag they are wearing.
Step 4: Back to Their Seats (but keep the last name tag)
Ask participants to return to their seats. Find a volunteer to begin and ask him/her to introduce self according to the name tag he/she is wearing. Find the person who actually owns that name tag and verify the accuracy of this introduction, and then that person will share the information about the person whose name tag he/she has. Continue to go around, introducing and verifying information until everyone has been introduced.
Possible debrief questions:
- How accurate were others’ descriptions of your details?
- What do you think accounted for the differences between what people said about you and how you first introduced yourself?
- Do you feel you were more likely to be paying attention the second time you rotated and introduced yourselves? Why?
- What does this activity have to do with what we’re going to be discussing in today’s session?
As I mentioned, I’ve used this icebreaking activity in a lot of different settings, but I really like it for a sales training because of the basic importance that salespeople have when it comes to the need to pay attention to the person in front of them. If salespeople aren’t paying attention to the small details, it’s very easy to miss out on an opportunity to make a sale.
What is your go-to icebreaking activity?