Tip #252: A Simple Ice-Breaker

Amy Dietrich provided this ice-breaker:

“Gray Elephant  Ice-Breaker

This exercise gets everyone on the same page and thinking along the same wavelength.

Note: The group can get hung up on the first three steps, so talk them through with an example.

Step 1: Pick a number between 1-9.
Example: 4
Step 2: Multiply this number by 9.
Example: 4 x 9 = 36
Step 3: If there are two digits in this number, add these two numbers together.
Example: 3 + 6 = 9
Step 4: Subtract 5 from this number.
[Example: 9 ø 5 = 4]
Step 5: Correlate this number to a number in the alphabet. For example, 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D.
[Example: 4 correlates to D]
Step 6: Think about a country that begins with this letter and write it down.
[Example: Denmark]
Step 7: Look at the second letter and think of an African animal that begins with this letter and write it down.
[Example: Elephant]
Step 8: Write down the color of this animal.
[Example: Gray]

When the group has completed all eight steps, ask them: Who has a Gray Elephant from Denmark? Try it with several numbers and it will always be the same as long as the math is right. Once I had a person with a gray elephant from Denver. This person needs to travel more – it did add good humor.”

Thanks, Amy!

And my thanks to all of you for reading and responding to our Tips throughout 2008. May your journey in 2009 be joyful and full of light.

We will start 2009 off with practical tips for making training engaging, interactive and meaningful when teaching people how to fill out complex forms. If you have any to suggest, please send them in. Thanks!


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