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What We Have In Common Icebreaker In Depth

Brief Description/Purpose

Amazingly flexible exercise you can use as an icebreaker, energizer, or content exercise. Limited only by your imagination.


Whole Group Activity

Age Appropriate

Teens, Adults

Ideal Group Size

10 to 60 people

Time For Exercise

Variable. Can be as quick as five minutes when used as an energizer, or as long as 45 minutes if you want to delve into content topics.


Almost anything, from conflict to communication.

Detailed Instructions If Needed

You'll need to prepare a short ten item quiz with each item having a 1-5 Lickert like scale. Prepare the items so they are related to your learning points. So, for conflict, you might have an an item like:

I tend to shy away from conflict at work 1 2 3 4 5

If your class is on communication here's another example:

I prefer to communicate face to face rather than via text messages 1 2 3 4 5

Five items is a good length.

In class have your class group themselves into groups based on some criteria. For example, you could group by age, or on some other thing like whether they are only children. Choose something that is easy to group by.

To make things go smoothly, ask the whole group.

For example, "How many of you are between the ages of 20-30", and ask them to raise their hands. Direct those in that category to one part of the room. And so on.

In these sub-groups, have the people complete their "surveys" on their own, then have each group tally them up and compute an average (mean).

Go through the questions on the survey one by one with each group reporting.

Points You Can Make In The Debrief

Some examples:

Although we are similar in one way, we can be the same in other important ways.


We can see that our experiences may affect how we deal with [conflict].

Additional Information if Available

This exercise is a take-off on a similar exercise used with the MBTI (Myers-Briggs) where people take the inventory, group themselves according to four categories and then are asked to see if they have commonalities within the group, or differences between groups.


The risk is that the results you get won't match up with what you expected, as a group leader, and that's fine. It's still a good icebreaker, or energizer that can be customized to almost anything, and really gets people talking.

Add components if necessary.