We’re All Different

Type of Activity: Icebreaker/Processing

Props Needed: Index cards and writing utensils for each participant.

Set Up: Good for groups 2–30. Need space for group to sit, preference in circle.

Process: Different people bring different feelings and experiences to every activity or group. To demonstrate this point, give each participant a writing utensil and a large index card. Ask each participant to think of one word that describes how he or she is feeling at that moment. Then, ask the participants to write that one word on the index card in large letters. Go around the room, asking participants to hold up their cards and look at each others’ responses. Follow up with these questions to start discussion:

  1. How do our different feelings and experiences change how we might act in a group?
  2. How can these feelings and experiences contribute to conflict?
  3. How can we use our different experiences and feelings to make our group’s conflicts positive?

Variation: Musical interests

Create a play list of various styles, types, and genres of music.  You only need about 30 seconds of each song. Play a segment of each song and ask everyone to write a single word on an index card that describes how they feel about that particular song.  When the clip is done, ask everyone to raise their cards and cluster in like groups.  Give them a few seconds to discuss why they like or dislike that song.  Play another selection.

A sample play list might include segments of songs from the following list of artists:

  • Jack Johnson
  • INXS
  • Black Light Burns
  • Faith Hill
  • Chemical Brothers
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Metallica
  • Eminem
  • Frank Sinatra
  • P.Diddy
  • The Allman Brothers
  • Garth Brooks
  • Marlyn Manson
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Keith Urban
  • Paverotti
  • Benny Goodman
  • Cole Porter

Debriefing Topics:

  • How does recognizing our differences contribute to preventing a conflict?
  • Why is it important to learn about the likes and dislikes of others in our group?
  • How does doing an activity like this help us prevent conflict?
  • Did anyone learn anything new about another teammate?  Did you find you had something in common with someone you do not hang out with on a regular basis?

For original write up look in "Setting the Conflict Compass" by Cummings & Anderson.  Purchase book at:  http://store.training-wheels.com/

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