ObjectivesIcebreakers/Warmups | Communication | Breaking Down Stereotypes Diversity
Group SizeMedium | Large
Nametags, Marker, List of Celebrity Names or demographic characteristics (see variation below)
Writing out the names on the tags ahead of time saves time, and also have brief bios of the people to help with the debrief.
From the participants perspective, the object of this activity is for each group member to discover the personality that is written on their own back. You begin by assigning each group member a “personality” by sticking a nametag with the name of a famous person or character to his or her back. DO NOT show this nametag to the participant! Participants should be able to view the personalities of all other group members, just not their own. You then instruct the group to mingle, and ask questions of the other "guests at the party." Individuals can ask yes or no questions about their personalities of others in the group, such as “Am I a woman? Am I a singer? Etc. Instruct participants to ask each member of the group only one question at a time, moving on to another person after each question. Encourage participants not to offer hints.
You can also use this activity to address issues of stereotypes by using an intentionally diverse group of name tags. For this variant the facilitator goes around to the group and sticks the name tags to the participants foreheads. When each participant has received their label ask the participants to introduce themselves and to shake hands with others. Participants try to guess what their label is by the way they are treated by others. Possible labels might be:
- Cheerleader * Football Player
- Person in a wheelchair * Trash Collector
- Catholic priest * Mechanic
- Single teenage mother * Lifeguard
- Homeless person * Walmart Greeter
- Baseball Player * Banker
- Hearing impaired person * Race Car Driver
- Pediatrician * Professional Wrestler
- American Idol winner * Movie Star
- Teacher * Coach
- Olympic Gold Winner * Bull fighter
You can also use creatures in nature instead of personalities.
- What was challenging about this activity?
- What did you notice about the kinds of questions you or others asked?