A guaranteed ice breaker...
Once a fortnight, I meet with a small group of talented business people to network and learn from their wisdom. The topic of conversation is different each time, and is always thought-provoking. This morning’s session was no exception, and in fact, the ice breaker game we played inspired me to write this blog post.
The concept of this is not new, but it is always a guaranteed ice breaker in groups of people.
Getting to know each other
The organiser of today’s session asked us each to share three statements about ourselves; two containing truths, and one containing a lie.
You will have heard of this one before no doubt, and probably played it a few times too. But, what I love about this ice breaker exercise is that it always sparks new conversations and gets people laughing together.
I really think that you get to find out so much about the other people in the group, and not just from the truths they tell. Their choice of lie can be revealing too, as there is often an interesting story connected to it.
As well as deepening the bonds amongst people who already know each other, this game is a perfect ice breaker for groups of strangers too. It is a fantastic way to begin a course or workshop where you are bringing together a group of nervous people who do not know each other. It is always guaranteed to get people warmed up, and it gets them using their creative brains right from the outset.
This ice breaker also helps people to know what to chat to each other about during breaks, and can be helpful to you as the presenter for building rapport with your group by making funny references throughout your session if relevant parallels occur to you.
There's just one problem though...
Like most people in the world, I do not like being lied to and I don’t tell lies either.
Of course, I make an exception when appropriate in a game-playing situation, but even then I struggle, as I have a very poor poker-face. Never let me in on a practical joke you are playing on somebody, because my smile and chuckles give the game away every time!
No polygraphs required over here.
This exercise is actually very clever though. By inviting somebody to lie to you, and to reveal two truths about themselves, and in doing the same back, you really accelerate the trust between you.
Can you guess mine?
For fun, I thought I would share my three ice breaker statements with you. See if you can spot the lie! (thankfully you won’t see my smiling face when I tell it)
- I have had a piece of research published in a scientific journal
- As a child, I was friends with several players from the England rugby squad
- In my spare time, I love to go for long distance bike rides
Hmm, which one do you think is the lie?
Shall I tell you?
Alright, I won't keep you guessing
Let’s start with an easy truth.
If you have read the post about me, my background and my experience, you will know that I have had a piece of work published in a scientific journal. This was an article based on a section of my undergraduate dissertation about why adults find it difficult to draw from observation. You can read it here if it’s a subject that interests you. I must warn you though that it had to be written in science-speak.
So that’s one down. What other statement was true?
For many years through my childhood, my dad took my sister and I along to watch Wasps rugby club play pretty much all their home fixtures at their ground in Sudbury, and some away matches too. My mum was not so bothered about sitting in the freezing cold for 80 minutes! I have many fond memories of being a Wasps supporter and spending time warming up in the rugby clubhouse after the matches ended. It was there that we got to know many of the players, as well as their parents, wives and children.
They were all wonderful, kind people who were absolutely great with us. Being a Wasps supporter at that time really felt like being part of a huge family. We got to hang out with several of the England players like Rob Andrew, Dean Ryan and Lawrence Dallaglio. We loved them all, and our favourite, Steve Bates, even sent us a postcard and some pin-badges from a Barbarians tour in South Africa. I am thankful to have such precious memories of a bygone era.
So the ice breaker lie...
My lie is that I love to go for long distance bike rides.
As an adventure enthusiast, I probably would love doing that though… if I could ride a bicycle.
Yep, that’s right, I can’t ride a bike. Don’t tell anybody.
Those afternoons spent as part of the Wasps family came at a cost. I was outdoors experiencing the fresh air, but sat on a folding stadium seat rather than on a bicycle saddle. It would probably would not have felt anywhere near as freezing to cycle instead, but that was my lot. And I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Of course, I could still learn to ride now, and maybe one day I will. I only learned to swim about 5 years ago, and I recently started trying to teach myself to play the piano. I know that what is stopping me is fear and self-preservation. Not fear of hurting myself, but fear of hurting myself to such an extent that I would lose some mobility or dexterity. It would break my heart to have to give up hiking or painting because of an injury.
I often surprise myself, and I don’t doubt that one day I will wake up and give learning to ride a bike another go. For now though, I think I will stick to keeping both feet on the ground.
And on the plus side, this weakness remains an ice breaker that always receives a reaction!
How about you?
Your turn! You learned a bit more about me. Now leave me two truths and one lie about yourself in the comments section below. I’d love to learn a bit more about you, and have a guess at which is which!