If you regularly attend Tulsa Agile Practitioners meetup (TAP), you are well familiar with this little exercise. It’s a simple activity we came up with as a way to get to know our members and to welcome in those who were new.
I have really enjoyed doing it weekly, so I thought I would right it up here and also on http://tastycupcakes.org/. This website is a living repository of various games, activities, etc all geared toward helping people learn and communicate complex ideas in novel ways. You can read more about their vision here.
Enough introduction, here is the game:
To welcome new members into a group and continue to build relationships with existing members. It could be used as an ongoing team builder or once as an icebreaker with useful artifacts as an output.
- Things to write on e.g. paper, index cards, etc
- Things to write with e.g. pen, pencil, marker, etc
- Post-it notes
- Tape or repositionable glue (recommended)
At the beginning, everyone gets something to write with and something to write on e.g. a sheet of paper, index card, etc. They then are given several minutes to create a sketch of themselves and to write down a true fact about themselves on a post-it note. Once everyone has sketched themselves and written their facts, they hand the sketches and facts to a facilitator who presents the sketches to the group and leads the group to match fact with face until all members are forced to face facts (*groan*). I have generally used tape or repositionable glue to adhere sketches to a wall in full view of the group.
That’s really it.
- Small groups might write 2-3 facts about themselves instead of just one
- Members of groups who have already sketched themselves still submit facts but are represented by a sticky note with their name on it
- The facilitator might use a guessing time limit to encourage “cold” groups to start throwing out guesses more readily
- The facilitator might submit a red herring fact or two to add an element of humor or excitement if needed.
The sketches can be collected and scanned to form collages to commemorate group activities or to provide a growth model for a group; as groups grow and as new members join, the collage grows and shows readily the landscape and personality of the group. I have found that group members of online communities do occasionally use their drawings as avatars.
The sketches become a binding agent, a source of pride for the group. The facts facilitate relational learning and provides an easy way to welcome in new members.
If you have having trouble picturing the output of this activity, especially how it changes over time, have a look at the below collage:
Try it out and let me know if it works for you!