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Your best moment

By PJ STEVENS Published 23rd Jan 2014
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'Your best moment' is an ice breaker activity which is designed to put people into a mindset for achieving the best possible results from training or facilitated activities. You have to pick the right occasion for this activity, so it would suit a team building programme where delegates would be expected to reach up to a higher level of performance.

The group needs to be in a comfortable place. This will probably be indoors although on a warm summer day it can be very nice outside. Remember those times when one of your teachers (usually one of the 'cool' popular ones) decided to take the class out onto the sports field for a lesson? The group needs to be relaxed and seated.

The first step is to encourage people to clear their mind and prepare them to think back through their memories. The aim is for them to remember and share a time or times in their life when they achieved a best performance in some activity. You can choose a personal moment or a work moment and, if you have time, you could have one of each. Give them some time for this.

Sometimes important moments for one person might seem trivial to another. For example someone who has a fear of public speaking may want to talk about a time when they delivered a speech at school when they did well, despite weeks of worry and sleepless nights in the run up. To people who don't know how this feels it may not seem much but to the person who experienced it it was akin to defeating a dragon.

This is where the facilitator can really help. The key to this activity is setting the scene initially. The facilitator can give a couple of examples from their own life. This is where an inexperienced facilitator might decide that they need to impress the room by talking about a bungee jump while they were in their gap year in Australia. Follow that!

However, the more experienced facilitator will use simple examples. This sets the scene and enables people to make a choice that they feel comfortable sharing from many moments in their life.

This activity is powerful for several reasons. First of all it is interesting. Some ice breaking activities can feel corny or contrived. This activity is real and people enjoy stories. The second reason, and this is very important, is that it bonds the group. We become closer through sharing authentic and meaningful stories about ourselves. This has been the case since man first started to communicate. It's an important activity that often feels lost because we tend to share via computers in short bursts now.

Finally, sharing our best moments sets the scene for the rest of the day. It sets the scene for high performance because it creates trust and sets a standard for communication. A good facilitator will create an encouraging and positive environment that will carry on for the rest of the session.

The key is to lead by sharing simple stories with a clear message at the start of the session. Don't show off, because it will ruin the potential outcome of this simple activity.

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