Above: This blog post as a word cloud
Last week I was having coffee with TD magazine editor Alex Moore and I was telling him about the 6-word memoir post I had published in February. He suggested it might be fun to see what everyone’s 6-word memoirs might look in a more visual format, like a word cloud.
I loved that idea!
The post itself featured 6-word memoirs from 25 L&D professionals and there were a dozen or so comments with additional memoirs. I also posted this particular blog in the ATD LinkedIn discussion forum where more than 100 other L&D professionals added their own brief memoirs.
Here’s the word cloud (I created it in the shape of an apple since we’re all teachers in one way, shape or form): Continue reading
One of my favorite icebreaking activities is to have people craft their own 6-word memoir. You can tell a lot about someone in just six words. I previously talked in more depth about 6-word memoirs as a training activity.
My go-to 6-word memoir: Love is cookie dough ice cream.
Yes, I explain to my participants, I do love ice cream. And chocolate chip cookie dough is my favorite. But that’s not all. Continue reading
Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway used six words to pen his shortest work of fiction: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Whether true or not (Snopes.com can neither confirm nor deny this is a true story), trainers and presenters have been inspired by this anecdote to break the ice by challenging attendees to write a 6-word memoir.
How a 6-Word Memoir Works
It works quite well. About a year and a half ago, I watched as the CEO of my organization opened a 2-day meeting of about 60 surgeons, medical professionals, and administrators from across the United States, India, Nepal, and Ethiopia with this very activity. Attendees wrote their 6-word memoirs on a flip chart, posted them around the meeting room and referred back to them throughout the 2-day meeting.
(If you’re interested, this is the 6-word memoir that I penned: “Love is cookie dough ice cream.”)
A Modern Take On A Classic Icebreaker
The 6-word memoir works as an icebreaker because it’s quick, it forces participants to be succinct as they introduce themselves, yet you can learn so much about someone in just six words.
For those that want a fresh spin on an icebreaker that’s quick and forces participants to be succinct yet can say a lot about a person, you can look to Twitter for inspiration. Challenge learners to share their life story in 140 characters (or 280 if you are feeling super modern) or less. One note about this challenge: you can make this task a little easier on your participants if you give them a worksheet with 140 boxes so that they don’t spend valuable session time trying to count each letter (and space).
Have you used the 6-word memoir icebreaker? Looking for an icebreaker activity, but a 6-word memoir doesn’t seem to be the right fit? Check out this post for some great ideas.