Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity
The Four Quadrants is a tried and true team building activity to break the ice with a group or team. It is now one of my favorite activities because:
- EASY to prep for and set up.
- It can be MODIFIED to work with any group and/or topic (just change the questions).
- FUN, COLORFUL and VISUAL.
I learned this from an amazing Master Certified Facilitator, Cheryle Maurer of Performance Consulting LLC. She facilitated our MasterMind group through this process and we all loved it and learned new things about each other.
Here are the steps to facilitate The Four Quadrants activity:
- Give each participant a piece of flip chart paper and some markers.
- Ask them to divide their flip charts into four quadrants.
- Ask them to DRAW (not write) their response to four questions (one for each quadrant).
- Give them about 5-10 minutes to work individually.
- Then, regroup and give each person 4-10 minutes (depending on your time frame) to share their chart and responses with the group.
Here are the questions Cheryle used with our group:
- What do I bring to the group?
- What do I need from the group?
- What is your hobby?
- What is your vision for this group?
You can change the questions to work with any group. For example, below are questions Michael Barrett, Resonance LLC used with a non-profit Board of Directors. He said when they shared their charts with each other some were moved to tears.
- What do you BRING to this organization?
- What do you NEED from this team?
- What LEGACY do you want to help create through this organization?
- What is one event that FUNDAMENTALLY shaped your life?
I used the questions below with a team that was working on improving how they communicated to each other when under stress. It was remarkable how much they opened up and learned about each other even though many had worked together for years.
- A current challenge I am facing outside of work…
- The types of things that stress me the most at work…
- What I need you to understand about me when I am under stress…
- What I need you to do when I am under stress…
Other questions you could insert:
- Defining moment (personal or professional)
- Moment of pride (personal or professional)
- Worst fear (for the group, personally or professional)
- Desired outcome for this day/session/series of meetings
- The greatest challenge for this group
- The greatest success for this group
This activity is so wonderful because you can write any four questions that you think will work for your group. Or have fun with it and let them come up with their own questions. Just think about what you want your group to know about each other.
What four questions will you use to get your next group engaged and sharing with one another? Please share your ideas by commenting on this post below.
Happy team building!
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and Forward, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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