At the start of a six-month course, which mixes face-to-face workshops with remote group work, we wanted to get people networking and breaking ice fast – within and between their ‘project groups’.
Going through the cards, I looked out for ones which would be suitable for an international audience, were revealing without being threatening, and would make sense for a group of people who hadn’t met before. Nearly every card contained a question which met my criteria.
I used the On Q questions to produce larger (A5) cards for the participants, each with a different question taken directly or slightly adapted from an On Q question. Each card also had instructions:
- During the break, your task is to find three members of your project group (this can include your tutor) and ask them your question. Listen to the answer.
- For a bonus task, find three people who aren’t in your group, and ask them your question, and listen to their answer.
There was no debrief or feedback – the experience of asking the question and hearing people’s answers was enough.
I wasn’t sure if people would react positively to having their networking structured in this way. I needn’t have worried – the buzz in the room was immediate and people carried on asking their questions in other situations during the 24 hour workshop.
Favourites of mine included:
- What did you used to be afraid of, that you’re not afraid of any more? (Me: the dark)
- What do other people say about you, that you don’t agree with? (Me: that I’m scarey)
- What flock, herd or group of animals would you join? (Me: a wolf pack. Perhaps that’s what people see as scarey!)