- Any Size
This is a short game that makes people feel connected to each other very quickly, because they find surprising similarities.
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This activity typically does not need a debrief. It’s just a great way to get energy in the room to a crescendo, and also to get people to feel like they belong to a community. People seem to appreciate getting to know each other. They are probably used to gatherings where they are anonymous, lost in a sea of people passively listening to a lecturer on a stage.
Research overwhelmingly shows that, when people perceive themselves to be similar to others, they are far more likely to trust them and cooperate with them. For example, in one study, researchers at Stanford and Columbia had business students engage in a negotiation. The ones who “schmoozed” first – the ones who shared personal connections and found a similarity – were more than 60 percent more likely to reach a successful agreement than those who did not.
Popular cooperative learning game (origin unknown); cited in Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human
Morris, M., Nadler, J., Kurtzberg, T., & Thompson, L. (2002). Schmooze or lose: Social friction and lubrication in e-mail negotiations. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6(1), 89-100.
For a great overview of the principle of similarity, see Arizona State University professor Robert Cialdini’s masterful book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion