How do you get everyone to relax, open up and participate in your women’s group meeting when they’ve never been before and don’t know other people in the room? Some people may be quite overwhelmed by the situation and nervous about what to say, how to act and when to laugh.
Ice breakers are the perfect vehicle for relaxing your group and getting them to interact. An ice breaker is an opening remark, action, or activity that is designed to ease tension or relieve formality. It’s a way to get people to start talking without worrying about saying the wrong thing or being foolish.
There are many commonly used ice breakers that can help to relax a new group of people. You might want to use one to lighten up the mood, making sure to go around the room so everyone gets a chance to speak in an orderly fashion.
A simple non-threatening question is easy to use for starters:
• What “color” or “sound” person are you?
• Would you prefer to read a good book, watch a movie or listen to music?
• What’s your earliest memory?
• What’s your favorite quote (or saying)?
• If you had a magic wand, what would you choose to change?
• Where in the world would you like to be right now?
If you have a small group of women and your first ice breaker finishes quickly, you can certainly do more than one round with additional questions.
If you’re more daring and it’s the right group of people, you might want to try one of the more formal ice breakers listed below. Hopefully, there’ll be lots of smiles, some laughter, and some relaxing.
Most everyone has at least one photograph in their wallet or purse. Ask each person to take out a photo they have and tell a story that goes along with it. It can be heartwarming, take you down memory lane or simply remind you of a funny experience.
Have each person add an adjective to her name that starts with the same letter (such as Sassy Sue, Blue-eyed Barbara, Dependable Debbie). You get the gist. And then have them tell why they chose that adjective.
>>>Pairing and Sharing
Pair off with someone you do not know. Person 1 speaks for one minute on any subject of their choosing. Person 2 listens, smiles and says nothing until Person 1 is done. Then switch roles. After all are done, go around the room and have each person describe to the group what their partner told them. Everyone has fun with this and laughter will ensue when people get things mixed up. You can also choose to make your 1 minute subject to be “All About Me” where each person tells whatever they wish about themselves, which is then related to the group by their partner.
Whatever you choose, your ice breakers will help to lighten the mood, make everyone just a little more comfortable and give everyone a chance to get to know a little bit about the other women at your group meeting.
Karen Fusco is co-founder of Boomers In Motion, LLC where 'we talk to women'. She is co-author of Essentials for Starting a Women's Group and Busy Moms: The Heart and Soul of a Home. Maximize the value of the women in your life by visiting Karen's WomensGroupBusyBites blog. Karen can be reached directly at karen@WomensGroupBusyBites.com.