How do you get a group of folks to quickly learn about each other’s common interests? Consider the Constellation icebreaker technique. Constellation is used to identify to what degree people from a group agree or disagree with certain statements (which can be based on a belief, idea, or value).
This icebreaker is an informal way to get people to share a bit about themselves at the beginning of a training session, workshop, or when a new team is forming. It is a non-confrontation way of learning people's opinion on a topic or statement. Within seconds of applying this technique, the participants will clearly tell you what they think of the statement. Here’s how it works:
The set up:
- Identify a "center" of the room (or constellation). This is the Sun. The location of the Sun represents the highest degree of agreement with the statement.
- Optionally, use masking or blue paint tape to create dashed lines around the sun in 3 feet/1 meter increments away from the sun.
- Ask everyone to stand on/around the Sun (aka., the center) - don't crowd too much
- Speak the statement, e.g., "I love the Red Sox"
- Ask folks to place themselves either close to or away from the sun according to how much they agree or disagree with this statement (each person becomes the planet)
- Once everyone has placed themselves, ask some/many/all of the folks why they have placed themselves where they are
Its a great way to learn about people fairly quickly. Have you tried the Constellation icebreaker before? If so, what do you think? Do you have another icebreaker that you have found of value to getting folks to learn about each other?