Fun with Factoids Icebreaker

by Jennifer Miller on April 5, 2011

in Training Delivery

As a learning facilitator, I have a toolbox full of ice breakers, team builders and group facilitation techniques that have served me well over the years. Just the other day, I freshened up one of my favorite standbys called “Fun with Factoids” with the addition of audience voting technology. It worked so well that I want to share it with you in the event you are called upon to lead a multi-day meeting.

The Setting

A two-day work team meeting comprised of 28 professionals from across the globe.

The Pre-Work

A few weeks before the meeting, send an email to the group requesting that they provide you with an interesting fact—something that most people at the meeting don’t know.  Make it clear that the fact will be publicly shared.  Include a few examples: “I once won a hot dog eating contest at the Kansas State Fair” or “I have 35 first cousins”.

 After you’ve received all of the “factoids” create Power Point slides, one per factoid, with a multiple-choice format. See example below:

I once won a hot dog eating contest at the Kansas State Fair” 

____ Polly Smith

____ George Jones

____ Angel Rodriguez

____ Dan Johannesan

The Process

Because the meeting I facilitated was multi-day, I spread the activity out across the two days, displaying 3 – 4 factoids at a time. Here’s the flow:

  1. Show the Power Point slide.
  2. Using an audience polling device, ask the audience to vote.
  3. Show the responses (25% for Polly, 33% for George”, etc.).
  4. Ask, “Will the real owner of (insert factoid) please stand up?” 
  5. The person who submitted that factoid then tells a brief story about how that factoid came to be.

 

When I facilitated this recently it was very successful. We had an extremely tight agenda, with little time for socializing. This activity proved to be a great energizer in between meeting topics and it didn’t take a lot of time.

Modifications

  • If you don’t have an audience response system, you could do the same format, but have people simply vote by raising their hands.
  • I’ve also done this as a scavenger hunt, organizing all the factoids onto a sheet of paper. If you do it this way, it’s a one-time activity, with people circulating the room to determine which factoids belong to whom.

Discussion Questions:

Have you used this ice breaker before? If so, what other variations of this activity have you used? I’m especially interested in hearing ideas for audience response polling devices.

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