At some point, for better or for worse, one is forced to get to know the teams they are working with and the people they are serving. I say this sarcastically as one who has sat through too many icebreakers and name games that all feel exactly the same. An alternative activity that we have used for many different clients, and I have used with my Resident Assistants is Subjective Trivia.
Step 1. Create a series of opinion questions with two options. Feel free to be creative and interesting with these questions. One of my favorites is “Is a hotdog a sandwich?” We also encourage you to specialize it to your school and area. For example, pit two rival restaurants on campus against one another. Perhaps you have two mascots, or student centers, or anything like that. The more contentious, the better.
Step 2. Determine how you will decide the “correct” answer to these questions. It can be a random flip of a coin every time. You can highlight a team or staff member, and have them send you his or her answers beforehand. This can be a fun way to recognize an individual. You can also send a few questions to everyone participating beforehand, and announce who chose the “correct” answer as you go through.
Step 3. In the facilitation of the activity, create a pose individuals would use to designate their chosen answer. Here’s what I mean by that. In an upcoming activity for a student alumni group, I am asking for participants to assume a zombie position, with both arms forward, for the first answer, and a diver position, with arms raised above their head, for the second answer. However, it can be as simple as pointing in one direction or another.
Step 4. Have everyone stand, explain the game, and read through the questions. At the end of each one, have participants assume the pose of the answer they are voting for, and then declare the “correct” answer. Those who voted incorrectly sit, and you continue down the list of questions until one person is standing.
This activity can have many advantages for your staff/ students.
-It can be a form of recognition. A great twist at the end would be that whomever you wanted to recognize actually wins the game, not the last person standing.
-It can be an opportunity for people to find commonalities among one another, and learn the preferences of those around them. This can depend on how you select the “correct” answer, but encourage participants to see who answers as they do.
-It can serve as an excellent introduction into a lesson on user-centered and user-experience design. Discuss how you adapted the game to align with the preferences of your audience. Discuss the importance of knowing the user and considering their experience when designing programming and activities.
Now, go, and encourage student staff to use this activity with the students they serve to learn their preferences in a manner much more fun than a survey!
by Daniel Farmer, aka Fun in an Intern