I want to run the other way. I’ve occasionally been suckered into attending workshops in which the leader insists on making me hop on one foot, dance in a conga line, or wear funny hats. Worse yet, sometimes this happens with a bunch of strangers (in which case I will absolutely refuse to participate in either end of the “fall backward and trust your partner to catch you before you crack your skull on the floor” routine. I don’t even know these people. Why would I trust them, or they me?).
Such meaningless games and icebreakers are rubbish. They represent nothing more than filler, substituting random activity for substantive knowledge.
Don’t get me wrong. Learning should contain an element of fun. And done right, participants will normally have fun during a successful communications training workshop—chuckling at videos of media interviews gone awry, swapping stories about humorous moments before various audiences, and allowing participants to play reporter by interviewing one another (yes, this is when the long knives usually come out).
My advice: Should you ever attend a workshop where the leader tries to make you jump through hoops (perhaps even literally), run far and run fast. And that’s no game. Your time is precious. Don’t waste it on such pathetic distractions.
Time for you to chime in (yes, this is my mini-exercise for you). What is the silliest or dumbest icebreaker in which a speaker has tried to make you participate? And how did you react?