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Using Icebreakers

Using Icebreakers

How often have you attended training sessions where all the housekeeping details and introductions took up the first half-hour? Too often. Many sessions begin with a standard “Why don't you give us your name and tell us a little bit about yourself?” After such introductions, however, participants may still feel isolated and may not remember the other participants' names. These sessions start off slowly and then challenge the trainer to pick up the tempo.

One way to get people involved immediately is with an icebreaker. Julius Eitington in The Winning Trainer defines icebreakers as “start-up activities that help participants ease into the program.” Sue Forbess-Greene, author of The Encyclopedia of Icebreakers, defines icebreakers as “tools that enable the group leader to foster interaction, stimulate creative thinking, challenge basic assumptions, illustrate new concepts, and introduce specific materials.”


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