It’s in the Name is a name-tag exercise that is both innovative and collaborative.
Benefits of It’s in the Name Activity
- Encourages creativity
- Supports sharing
- Very interactive
Required Resources for It’s in the Name
- Colour pens
- Index Cards
- Sticky tape or pins
How To Play It’s in the Name Group Ice Breaker Activity
This game is going to have your group being innovative and creative. As soon as the word ‘Creative’ is mention, more than half of the group might complain. Many are convinced that they are far from being creative or innovative. However, regardless of this attitude, everyone will be very surprised at the outcome of this exercise.
To start, you will need to hand out blank index cards to all the members of the group. You can also include some form of fastening device or just an ordinary string. The best option would be to make use of index cards that are about 150 x 102 mm in size, as this will allow for more objective value as the game proceeds.
Distribute a box of coloured markers to all the members in the group and inform them that they need to write their first name, in large letters, on the top half of their cards.
Then instruct them to sketch a number of objects, three or four, using the bottom section of their cards. These need to be anything that tells a story of who they are. They can sketch anything they want to, which can include where they live, what type of job they do, their family or their best activities. They can be as creative as they want, there are no wrong illustrations or answers.
Give them a few minutes with this exercise and then tell them to stop. For those in the group that are very creative, you may have to literally remove the markers from their hands. Now get them to all fix their name-tags (Index Cards) onto their clothing and you are set to go.
Allow them to mingle amongst themselves and speak to as many of the group as they can. They must do this within a fixed time, say 10 to 15 minutes. Try to encourage them to talk only about the name-tags and avoid other types of gossip. If someone has a sketch that is proving difficult to interpret, let the person share their ideas. On many occasions, this will be done amongst giggling and laughter, and then move on.
The aim of this exercise is to focus on each other’s name-tags. By doing this, it becomes less intimidating to make connections. Everybody is just enjoying themselves and the sketches people have drawn.
Contextual Framing Ideas
Most of us are very familiar with the usual name-tag scenario ‘Hello my Name is…’ which is the norm at most conferences and seminars. This has become very boring, but it only shows your name and does not express your abilities or personality at all. This is about to change…
Many national flags around the world are designed to depict something about that nation. One example, the old ‘Union Jack Flag of Britain’, it was so designed with three flags in mind, that of England, Ireland and Scotland. Wouldn’t it be interesting to design your own personal flag…?
Step-by-Step Instructions to facilitate It’s in the Name Group Ice Breaker Activity
- Hand out blank index cards to all the members of your group.
- Hand out coloured markers to each member of the group and ask them to put their first name, in large print, on the top part of the cards.
- Now get them to sketch a number of objects, say three or four, on the bottom part of the cards, which could be anything they want to draw. The sketch must represent something about them. For example, what job they do, what is their favourite food, where do they live and so on.
- After you have allowed them about 10 to 15 minutes to make their sketches, get them to attach the cards to their clothing.
- Allow them to mingle and greet as many of the group as possible. Have them ask questions and get to know each other better.
Facilitators and Leaders Tips
There are a number of ways you can utilize these name-tags. All of them include the person’s name and various objects that they have drawn. You can also incorporate some of the elements of this exercise into other name-tag games, such as ‘Ice-Breaker Question’, ‘Exchange’, ‘Who’, ‘Ubuntu Cards’ or ‘Partner Introductions’.
Try to keep the exercise as creative as possible, bearing in mind that the main goal behind it is to encourage interaction between group members. Avoid allowing members to take too much time making their sketches perfect.
All that is needed is their first name or even a nick-name. As soon as you start with surnames it defeats the object, as the card is only one size and filling it up completely renders the card useless. This is the main purpose of the business card. Keep it simple.
Encourage the group to see how many people they can connect and mingle with. This is not a test, but at the end of the exercise, you will be impressed by how many names you are able to remember.
Debriefing and Reflection Strategies of It’s in the Name Group Ice Breaker Activity
Here are some questions to ask the group, which will help them to process their experience of the game of ‘Name Tag Mania’:
- As you were introduced to this exercise, what were your thoughts?
- Was it a difficult or an easy exercise? Why?
- Were you very creative with your sketches? If not, why not?
Variations of It’s in the Name Group Ice Breaker Activity
- Categories: Encourage the group to see if they can find others that have the same character. They can connect with those that have used the same colour marker, or those who wrote their names using capital letters, or those who drew the same type of sketches, etc.
- Random Colours: By making use of different coloured index cards you can form smaller groups by colour.
- Narrow Your Focus: You instruct the group with the type of objects you want them to sketch. Say, for example, they must draw food, clothing, sports or even more difficult personal values.
- Express Yourself: Get the group to write their name, revealing something about their personality. In other words, if they tend to be rather shy, get them to write their name in small print at the top right-hand corner of the card.
- Let the group interact to learn more about each other by making use of their ID Numbers.