Ice-breakers and brainstorm warm ups get a bad rep.
A friend of mine (a self-confessed introvert) says that she has speedily got up & left the room when asked to do something in a group, before her turn.
So I do get it, but I think it’s important to do something to try to get people in the same headspace and if you want to be creative, signal that this is not business as usual. This applies when meeting on or offline. From my own regular facilitation experience I find that sessions do go better when we mentally ‘warm up’ than not. But it doesn’t have to be cringey or exposing.
One way I do this is to ask people to engage before the session – I allocate 10 – 15 minutes before and invite (not mandate) people to take a walk & a photograph of something from an unusual angle and we share it (find a fresh perspective).
Or just take the walk for a digital break. Almost everyone takes part.
If they feel the need to have a cup of tea & 5 minutes quietly to themselves camera-off that’s all good too if that’s what they need then. So many calls seem to be back-to-back-to back – it’s not good for our wellbeing in so many ways.
I’m always on the hunt for interesting ways to engage with brainstorm warm ups. Some of our favourites:
- Draw your mood
- What’s your theme tune today?
- What did you want to do when you were seven?
- On a scale of X (try googling this one – you’ll get stuffed animals, Ross from Friends, Bowie, bad cakes, you get the gist.
- Virtual scavenger hunt (set a task to find something) – that’s older than you,
- Zoom background challenge
- Whose desk is this?
- Choose a virtual cocktail – or better still what’s in your fantasy cocktail?
- What would your superpower be if you had one?
I love this one that I shared today with a group, prep for tomorrow – mimic a masterpiece and create a Hepworth in a potato. Or turn yourself into a Van Gogh. Or explore 5 different Natural History Musuems from home. This one involves turning a humble potato into a piece of sculpture and is from a treasure trove of ideas and free stuff at Google Arts and Culture.
Do you have any tips for getting in a great state to create?
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