Icebreakers – General Purpose


Working Wounded” was a weekly column at ABC’s internet news site. Some articles were titled:

  • Treat ’Em Right;
  • Controlling Those Buttons;
  • So Much for Promises;
  • Earning the Boss’s Praise; and
  • Second Chances.

These headlines could describe much of what happens at work. They can also describe why certain decisions were made.

Either use one of these headlines – or make one up yourself – to answer this question: “Why did you decide to come to this workshop?” Explain.


When cooking, if you don’t have an ingredient, you can often substitute another ingredient. For instance, yogurt is often substituted for sour cream; milk and vinegar or lemon juice for buttermilk; and cocoa powder and butter for unsweetened chocolate squares.

Skills and abilities can be thought of as ingredients in successfully doing something. Think about the topic of this workshop. What missing ingredient do you want to find a substitute for today?


There are many different kinds of roads in our world – the multi-lane, high-speed autobahn in Germany; winding country roads; big-town city streets; and ancient one lane cobble streets, among others.

Think about your (type of workshop) skills. Which road are they most like? Why?


Thomas A. Edison said, “There’s a way to do it better – find it.” What specifically do you want to find today?


Which of these Australian sayings fits with what you expect to learn today? Explain your choice and describe what you think the Aussie saying actually means.

  • Awning over the toy shop;
  • Get the frog untied;
  • Bullamanka;
  • I will fix your Jack and Jill;
  • Get the Drum on that.

Tidbit: According to Larry’s Aussie Slang and Phrase Dictionary, the actual meaning of each saying is:

  • Awning over the toy shop – male beer belly
  • Get the frog untied – to depart or leave, hit the road
  • Bullamanka – an imaginary place in the outback, beyond anywhere
  • I will fix your Jack and Jill – I will pay your bill
  • Get the Drum on that – get the truth on that

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that, “One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

How do you want to stretch your mind today? Be specific.


We often doodle to relax or to pass the time while we are doing something else (like talking on the telephone). Usually we think of doodles as small drawings that have no meaning at all. But sometimes our doodles reveal our innermost hopes and fears.

If you were doodling while you were thinking about this workshop, what would the finished doodle look like?


A Chinese proverb says that “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

What question do you want to ask today?


Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Thinking about the workshop today, why can you?

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