Introduction and Getting to Know Each Other
This is the first workshop of the training. It should give everyone a chance to briefly introduce themselves. Then the agenda and working method should be presented, along with basic information on the training, and expectations should be elicited from the participants. The next important aim of this workshop is to start building up a group and trust among the participants. That is why it is very important to carefully prepare the workshop, taking into account the basic information about the participants. The training team should actively participate in the exercises as equals with the other participants. This can be crucial for building trust.
Brief tour de table
Introduction of the programme and method of work
Type of exercise: Individual work, plenary
Duration: 25 minutes
Materials: Different coloured post-its, flipchart paper
Hand out the different coloured post-its. Give the participants a few minutes to write down their answers to the following questions:
- What do I expect from this training?
- What do I expect from myself in this training?
- What do I expect from others in this training?
Place three flipchart papers on the wall or the floor. The participants approach the sheets of paper one by one, each read out loud their answers and stick their post-its to the appropriate flipchart paper.
Ako je moguće, ove panoe ostaviti u radnom prostoru da budu dostupni. Mogu da budu od posebne koristi pred kraj treninga, pre evaluacije, da se podsetimo sa kakvim smo očekivanjima ušli u trening i sagledamo šta se ostvarilo.
Alternative version of the exercise:
The questions can be formulated differently. For example:
- What would I like to see happen in this training?
- What would I not like to see happen in this training?
Venn Diagrams (Sets)
Type of exercise: Work in pairs (that quickly switch)
Duration: 30 minutes
Materials: Papers with Venn diagrams (sets)
Everyone receives a handout with as many Venn diagrams (three ellipses that intersect, see picture) as there are participants. Write the name of one person for each Venn diagram and, in each of its sets, write down a question eliciting piece of information about that person. For example:
- Where do you live?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- If you were president, what would be the first thing you would do?
Participants have to leave their seats and approach each person in the group and write down their answers to the given questions.
The Venn diagram handouts printable on A4 paper are available for download here
This activity helps the participants remember each other’s names more easily. It is good for the start of the seminar/training because it enables everyone to talk to (break the ice with) everyone else. It is also good to have people move around the room as this helps create a much more relaxed atmosphere. Of course, everyone gets to keep their handout (participants will often use them to remind themselves of someone’s name).
We seldom formulate the third question but ask the participants to come up with a question that can be posed to everyone. This variation of the exercise is more fun because the questions can be very diverse and even funny (e.g. “Do you love your president?” or “Tell me joke”). Keep in mind that the exercise could run over the planned time if people are having fun, so it can be useful to limit the time allotted for this exercise.
My Path Up to Here
Type of exercise: Individual work, plenary
Duration: 90 minutes
Materials: Paper and pencils
On a blank sheet of paper, everyone draws an arrow that illustrates the course of their life, “my path up to here”, and marks important events on this timeline. Time for drawing is up to five minutes. Then, in the plenary session, each person presents their “arrow”, not in any particular order, but as people feel ready.
It is very important to do this exercise in silence, without whispering and chatting in the group, and without external distracting noises. The person presenting should be given undivided attention. The exercise encourages trustbuilding in the group, although it may be too demanding for some participants at the very start of the training. It is important for the training team to participate in the exercise and get involved in the process of getting to know each other. It is best for someone from the training team to present their journey first in order to set an example for others. The exercise enables people to get to know each other better and encourages empathy, listening to and respecting each other. Often this exercise will go over the time allotted, which can be tiring on the first day of the training, especially if people are not used to listening carefully to twenty other people presenting (which is often the case), because this is demanding and people tend to get tired after a while. It is, therefore, very important that this exercise be skilfully moderated, with sensitivity for people and their stories (without interrupting, but discreetly letting the speaker know his or her time has run out). The moderation is also important in terms of time and the pace of the workshop. At the start of the exercise, the participants should be made aware of the time per person and the total time available for the exercise and they should be informed about the (discreet) signal the moderator will give them when their time is running out.