Airport Greetings is an unusual communicating ice-breaker game that encourages slow-motion actions.
Interactive Large Group Ice-breaker Activity
Get your group to divide into pairs, using fun ‘Getting into Pairs’ ideas. For example, start jumping up and down on one leg and then see if you can find someone else that is doing the exact same thing.
Allow the group to spread out over an area you have selected. Inform them that their partner needs to be located on the opposite side of where they are. This means it is not necessary to form a circle, but the pairs must be a fair distance apart.
You can then get the group to ponder for a second, think about some sentimental occasions in the past. They must now imagine, a person standing on the far end of the platform of an old railway station, while the other person is waiting for the arrival of a very old friend or relative.
This person who is very special to you has just arrived and alighted from the train. All of a sudden, you see that person amidst the throng of people on the far side of the platform, and you become very excited…
Give a demonstration to the group of how they should react. Remember, this is a very special person to you, and you have not seen them for many years. So, you will be waving your arms madly in order to attract their attention. This can also be any person on the other side of the play area.
You must make the group aware that all the actions must be done in slow motion. All movements and actions such as waving, the kisses you blow, the hello’s you shout, all this must be done in slow motion.
So, the waving and greetings continue, and you will move closer to your partner. This continues until the distance between you is about 2 metres. Then, you suddenly realize that the one who you were waving at is not the right person.
Of course, you feel embarrassed and humiliated and straight away you revert to damage control. You act as if you’re not waving at them but someone else just behind them.
As you continue in this state, you suddenly see a little way off, another person in the same situation as you are. You try frantically waving to attract their attention. You then slowly move towards them as you did before, remembering that they are that very special person in your life. As you get closer, again you discover they are not the right person. This whole process is repeated over and over again.
You can continue the game for two or three minutes. Then move on by trying some variations to the game.
Useful Framing Ideas for the Airport Greetings Group Ice-breaker activity
Imagine you are acting in one of the old black and white Hollywood movies. Everything is ready, lights are on you, and the camera is rolling. You hear the shout of the Director ‘Action’. The scene takes place in the arrivals lounge of an old train station, with smoke billowing and people everywhere. All of a sudden, you spot in the distance, a person whom you haven’t seen in many, many years…
Whenever you think of safety, what comes to mind? Most times you only consider your physical welfare. We forget that our mental and emotional safety is of equal importance. As soon as we feel insecure or unsafe, we find ourselves stepping outside our comfort zone. This will immediately cause fear or embarrassment to rise up within us. This may well be the case in the following exercise…
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Airport Greetings Group Ice-breaker activity
- Get the group to form into pairs.
- Let the group spread out over a large area. Stress that they need to be as far away as possible from their partners.
- Call a volunteer and demonstrate by acting out, in slow-motion, two people greeting one another from a long distance away.
- The pairs act out the scene and slowly draw near to their partner until they are about 2 meters away from each other.
- All of a sudden you realise that the person you were waving at is not the right one.
- Quickly you turn around and try to find another person that is in the same predicament. Again, go through the same motions of greeting from a distance as before.
- You can continue with the game for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Facilitator Notes for the Airport Greetings Group Ice-breaker activity
This is one of those never-ending ‘charades’ and is always loads of fun. This game requires a great deal of nerve and boldness to make it work. Therefore, the way you introduce it, with plenty of enthusiasm and relish, will be crucial in getting the group to respond positively.
This charade of ‘Train Station Greeting’ with its embarrassing and uncomfortable feelings, is a splendid way of getting the group to step out of their comfort zone. This ice-breaker challenge does not only require some physical risks but also poses emotional and mental risks as well.
Debriefing and Reflection Tips for Airport Greetings Group Ice-breaker activity
- At any time during the game did you feel ridiculous? Why?
- Do you feel that it is okay to do something ridiculous from time to time?
- In order to act or perform in this way, is there some kind of mood you need to be in?
- Do you recall at any time mistakenly greeting a stranger instead of your best friend? Explain how it made you feel?
Popular Variations of the Airport Greetings game
- Silent Movie: You follow the procedure as above but doing it like those old silent movies. Non-Verbal.
- Random Partners: Just as above, but now there is no need to select a partner. All you need to do is to select someone on the other side of the play area and begin your action.
- As If: Change the way in which you greet someone. In other words, ‘Fast-Motion’, ‘Drunk-Motion’ or any other way you can think of.
- Another fun challenge to consider is ‘Stop & Go’, which encourages action and motion.