Pro's And Con's Of Using An Icebreaker Or "Get To Know You" Game? By Robert Bacal
As is the case with doing introductions during the first half hour of training, icebreakers and get to know you exercises take up time, and eat up some time.
Here are some things to think about as you decide whether you want to include one at the beginning of your seminar.
Some people hate icebreakers. Particularly at the beginning of a seminar, participants tend to lay back and observe, and feel comfortable doing so. You need to decide, as a trainer, whether you want learners to participate and interact according to their own timetable, OR you want to force them to interact from the start.
Icebreaker take time. The best ones are fast (less than five minutes), AND they should have some connection to the purpose of the seminar. Many trainers use any old icebreaker regardless of the seminar content, and that's a mistake. You want to have a fun experience, but also a learning one that is relevant. Otherwise you risk losing people who aren't interested in fun, but really want to learn.
Make icebreakers inclusive: Keep in mind that certain types of activities are hard to do for some people. For example, icebreakers that require movement can be difficult or even impossible for some people with physical disabilities. Those disabilities may not be visible. For example, a person can look perfectly able but be unable to stand in one place for any significant amount of time. Think about these things, particularly when participants are a bit older. Even writing things down can be a challenge for those with arthritis, and if you ask people do do something they can't do, they get upset, and feel embarrassed.