Dr. Susan Mohammed was recently interviewed by New York Magazine's blog, Science of Us, regarding her opinion on a commonly used method of bringing groups of people together for the first time, icebreakers. Apparently, they can be ineffective if not done properly.
“Icebreakers are generally a first step and they can be valuable in … getting people to know each other,” she says. “But in terms of group cohesion or deep levels of trust or psychological safety or an open climate, it’s just not going to be enough.”
In this interview, she offers strategies for making icebreakers more effective.
And one way to make people a little more engaged, Mohammed says, is to outline right off the bat what they’ll be doing, explain the goal of the icebreaker — are they there to build trust? learn something new about a person? figure out roles for a team? — and to reiterate those same points again once it’s all done.