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Icebreakers

Four-letter Words

This exercise provides an opportunity for a team to study a range of teamwork issues while performing a task which makes increasing demands on them.

Place set of 'Scrabble' letters on a table. Explain that the task is to place as many four-letter words as possible on the table in one minute. Four minutes are allowed for planning and then play starts. Subsequent rounds are played with you requesting 50, 100, 300 and 1 000 per cent increases in production.


Variations

A number of teams can do the exercise at the same time to make it a competitive exercise. Teams often start with an individual approach, then move to a 'division of labour' approach with 'thinkers', 'sorters', 'makers', 'breakers', 'compilers', etc. As increasingly high production demands are made so less conventional methods tend to be adopted: just moving two letters about or lifting words up and replacing them in quick succession. Try using 'giant' letters to make the exercise more physical.


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