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A creative way to get strangers at an event to break the ice and start bonding

September 19, 2012

I’ve just been taught a great lesson in creativity from my daughter’s school – a creative way to get strangers talking and introducing themselves at an event.

The starts of events can be awkward before people start introducing themselves and “bonding”. He’s how my daughter’s school got dads to break the ice!

I usually write about my son Orlando. This post – it’s my daughter Cleo’s turn to shine!

In a previous post I wrote about how impressed I was at the creative way my daughter’s school hooked the attention and action of busy dads.


The organisers were equally clever with the way they hooked engagement and interaction between strangers.

The interaction was easy, fun and so fast. You could use similar techniques if you want strangers to connect and start chatting – like at an event or networking function.

When the dads arrived at the dads night we were all given big, colourful name tags our children had prepared for “their dad”.

Each invite had:

  1. a colourful drawing of the dad
  2. Occupation:………..
  3. Is good at:……..

It was so easy to start up conversations with other dads you hadn’t met before with easy questions.

We’d go and look at other dads’ name tags and ask questions like:

So what image does your child have of you?

So what does your drawing look like?

So what does your child think you do for a job?

So what are you good at?

This also allowed for fun and funny responses that immediately broke the ice between the dads.

Regarding the photos:

One dad was amused that in the photo he seemed to be wearing blue eyeshadow and big false eye lashes.

I only look like that on Saturday nights he joked.

I commented that at least in my daughter’s drawing I looked happy – rather that the tired and grumpy dad I can sometimes be!

The kids impressions of what we did for jobs was funny too.

One dad’s occupation was described as: typing numbers into a computer.

Oh that sounds so boring!   he laughed.

Mine description was: works in a library – which I do not do. I occasionally go to a library for some peace and quiet to get some work done (kids too noisy! at home) – but I don’t work in “at” as in “for” (employed by a library as my job).

Next times I’ll have to get her to write: International Man of Mystery: I joked.

Builds houses  was another dad’s description, I actually build kitchens he explained.

My dad is good at: got funny responses too including.


Sitting on the couch and watching football.

Drinking beer

My daughter’s answer  for me was playing soccer which was flattering but totally inaccurate.

Anyway, my point is that these creative name tags immediately got us interacting, sharing and laughing

And it would be so easy to do a similar thing at a networking event or function

You could have statements such as:

If I wasn’t an accountant – I’d like to be a…



If I was a rock star my stage name would be…



When my life is made into a movie the actor to play me will be….


You can imagine people going around the room comparing answers. You could ask people questions on the event invitation and prepare the name tags yourself or you could just have people fill in the blanks on the day of night.

You could have visual engagement too – like our kids’ drawings of us.

People invited could submit a photo that organisers insert on the invite – such as:

When I was cool at school I looked like: (insert photo)  school or uni college photo

Imagine the laughs with old school photos like:

At least the evening would start with a few laughs about the fashions and haircuts of the time!! A great way to breakdown barriers!


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One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on efangelist.

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