Recently we used three interesting ways to get to know each other that I would like to share with you. The described formats use different perspectives and help to discover various areas. Investing in learning more about a team member is a crucial element to build trust, that you need as a base for building a high performance team.

Format #1 – Warm Up with some facts about you

This exercise can be used in workshops and sessions where you need a fast way to get to know each other.

You ask everyone to collect some simple facts (in my example: Name, in company since, previous experience, What is your symbol for the team, a unique fact) and take a note on a sticky note.

Everyone presents their facts and pins their sticky notes on a previously prepared wall. I highly recommend keep all facts available during the ceremony as people can remember from time to time and it’s likely that they will talk about it during breaks.

This is how it could look like:

warmUp

Name at <company> since previous a symbol for the team a unique fact about me that no one else has in common in this group
Sebastian 2015 zooplus, delvin, msg enabler living vegan since 6 years

Timing:  Take Notes 3′ + 3-5′ per team member to present their facts.

Format #2 – Childhood impressions

Based on the great book – The Five Dysfunctions of a team – we used the childhood impressions exercise to discover a new perspective from everyone. In this exercise you ask everyone to share:

  • Where they were born and raised (let them show it on Google Maps and e.g. build a route that shows their journey)?
  • Whether they have siblings and in what age order they are?
  • What was a unique challenge or unique impression during childhood?
  • What was their 1st job and what the worst one?

Let everyone present their information. You can either do it solely in a verbal way or again take notes and present the notes (I prefer the latter way as it can be used throughout the ceremony and in a summary afterwards).

Timing: 5-10′ per team member. I recommend to use e.g. Google Maps to visualize everyones journey.

Format #3 -10 things…

A challenging request to open 10 things:

  • What you like most doing in your job. (10 things)
  • What you like most doing in your spare time. (10 things)

Everyone takes two A4 sheets – one for job and one for spare time – and takes notes. Provide enough time and thinking space and “force” them to deliver 20 things. Again everyone presents results to the group.

Afterwards put the sheets on a wall and keep it available during the ceremony.

Takes a bit longer but brings quite a lot of input to discover from everyone. I think it works in a group up to 7-10 (larger groups could be split).

It could look like this:

10things

Timing:  Take Notes 15′ + 10′ per team member to present their facts.

 

Just three simple ways to discover more about each other. Please plan enough time and don’t rush these exercises 😉

Maybe you’ll use one of it in your next retrospective?

Can you add more formats to get to know each other? Or did you maybe already use the described ones? What is your experience with it? Thanks for sharing it with your comment