Having a strong cohesion leads to efficient teamwork.
You need to work it, especially in new groups, and you can use exercises named icebreakers. It is an animation technique that gets participants off to a good start: it welcomes them and warms up the conversation. I discovered a new one at thecamp : The Silent Waltz.
Involving icebreakers during meetings
The very beginning of an activity is important, it needs to catch the attention of everyone and all the participants must feel involved in what is about to happen. I learned this and a lot of other things with Hélène Michel and Isabelle Patroix. A serious game workshop isn’t efficient without a good introduction, especially when it’s about innovation. This kind of exercise requires trust in the others, to who you will propose/pitch strange ideas and expose your vulnerability. That’s why we start with icebreakers so we connect every participant and warm up the creativity of the group.
The icebreakers I am used to facilitate bring people to speak, to share a moment of conversation that is not about proper work, for example the Chinese portraits. During my second day at thecamp I participated to one icebreaker called The Silent Waltz.
“You may remain silent”
The Silent Waltz was an evening activity right after dinner, it was a surprise. We headed to a working room one after another where we met one of our supervisors, Djeff, and a white board with the rules. I read them carefully.
First we take a piece of paper that will assign us a table.
Once in the room we remain silent and communicate with our interlocutor through what was on the table which were pens and paper.
We have 30 minutes to talk about anything we want to talk about or want to know from each other.
A tune ends our conversation.
I did this exercise with Tomas, a Slovakian circus artist and fellow HIVER. I didn’t talk much with him before this exercise. The moment was very interesting: we discussed through writing full sentences and adding some drawings when needed. I know more about him, about his work and his tastes in video games, as well as him getting to know more about mine and what I do in serious games.
This activity felt good because we really had the time to introduce ourselves without feeling like we take too much time or we bother one another. As Tomas said it we had a real conversation rather than introducing ourselves in a few words as we did when we arrived.
This icebreaker is interesting as it leads the participants to be wary of the interlocutors’ body language. Does my interlocutor smile? Will we get closer as the conversation goes? We were face to face at the beginning then side by side. We really laughed during this activity. Every table had its own method: we wrote a lot, others were standing and drawing.
These first days are rich in new exercises that I could use again later. I learn a lot and the Silent Waltz became one of my favourite icebreakers!
Alexia Audemar, 22, French.
Serious Game, Game Designer & Facilitator
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Find on my blog moments of my experience at thecamp as HIVER #2, as well as articles on various topics related to entertainment and innovation.