Icebreakers and Warm-ups

groupmap-easy-and-effective-online-icebreakers-image

Why use an icebreaker?

Icebreakers are a great tool for launching collaborative sessions. They open the channels of communication, and help put people at ease by giving everyone a chance to contribute.

The value of icebreakers doesn’t stop there. They help set the tone for a session. They let the facilitator model collaborative behavior. They can also establish common ground between participants which helps foster spaces in which people are happy to share.

A good icebreaker should be so simple that people can respond almost instantly. They aim to get a response rather than a right answer. Icebreakers should be inclusive. They should apply to everyone in the group so they all get the chance to contribute positively. 

Everything that’s said during an icebreaker can help build a connection. That’s why asking people to explain their input is giving them a chance to connect. The best thing about these new connections is that they start a conversational momentum that carries over into the session itself. 

In short, icebreakers help focus and engage a group to ensure they get the most out of their collaborative session.

Our icebreaker templates to help build connections

Our team has hand-picked our top four fun icebreaker activities and designed templates to deliver them online.  
  • House Rules
  • Create a safe conversational space where a set of agreed rules can be agreed upon.
  • Photo Wall
  • A colorful, creative collage that lets participants share a friendly fact or two about themselves by way of some conversation starter questions.
  • Two Truths and One Lie
  • A fun and creative way to have participants interact with each other while discovering a fact each is happy to share.
  • Where in the World?
  • A way for people to share a bit of where they are located or where they are from and perhaps to learn something about the area.
You can find these templates in our library of meeting templates and maps.
Related templates

Tips for running effective icebreakers

Who should use an icebreaker?

Anyone who wishes to get more out of their collaborative, meeting, workshop or lesson. This could be because there is a new group of people, or there is a new person to the team. It can also be used to encourage at least everyone saying something at a meeting and to help overcome any initial fears. 

Icebreakers are a proven way of supporting engagement and focus. As such they should be used by:

  • Facilitators
  • Trainers
  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • Workshop practitioners

In short, anyone overseeing group interaction who is looking to support that group’s effectiveness would benefit from their use.

How to run an icebreaker

An icebreaker helps to set the scene for the session that follows, so it’s important for a facilitator to begin as they wish to go on.

When it comes to online sessions, there are a variety of tools to help. Screen sharing software, video conferencing and online collaboration tools such as GroupMap allow facilitators to deliver inclusive icebreakers. 

GroupMap’s icebreaker templates are deliberately simple in design. This is because most of the time spent during the icebreaker should be spent talking and getting to know each other. Besides just a simple poll that means people simply get lost in a stack of numbers, these ice breakers questions are non-threatening and allow each person to share freely without fear. There is no wrong answers.

Online Icebreakers can also be used to make sure participants know how to use the collaboration tool, add comments, images and ideas, check everyone is able to access the software.

Brainstorm

Add input to the template.

Explain

Explain the input and why it was included.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

Meeting Agenda Template

Plan and deliver effective meetings with GroupMap’s Meeting Agenda Template

What is a meeting agenda template?

A meeting agenda template is a tool designed to make building an agenda easy. It does this by helping to gather all the elements needed to plan and deliver an effective meeting.

A meeting agenda template offers a customisable framework that can be shared by everyone who is involved in the meeting. This helps to set a collaborative tone even before the meeting begins.

Because everyone can see and contribute to the template, stakeholders have shared ownership of the meeting process. This increases buy-in, which contributes to meeting effectiveness.

GroupMap’s meeting agenda template includes nine elements to get you started:

  • Meeting details
  • Meeting Materials
  • Attendance
  • Apologies
  • Previous Business
  • Reports
  • New Business
  • Actions
  • Parked Items

Why use a meeting agenda template?

A meeting agenda template makes organizing a meeting faster and easier, without sacrificing attention to detail.

While the importance of an agenda is well-known, it’s often given a low priority. Its preparation can be overshadowed by more urgent matters. It can be allocated to a person who has the time rather than the expertise to deliver an agenda. It can be pulled together ‘on the fly and so can lack clarity of process.

A meeting agenda template overcomes all of these obstacles as well as delivers other benefits by –

  • Presenting an easy-to-follow structure to which everyone can contribute.
  • Delivering a transparent meeting planning process.
  • Sharing the agenda building process, thereby reducing the time any one person needs to allocate to its delivery.
  • Leveraging the expertise of the whole group in support of the planning process.
  • Including documents as attachments, so they are easy to distribute to the group and document control is effortlessly supported.

The meeting agenda template reduces the time required to document the meeting itself. This is because key information and discussion points have already been recorded.

You can also use it to:

  • Set clear, organization-wide, meeting standards that deliver consistency between meetings and across teams
  • Capture key documents for good governance
  • Track outputs and decision points
  • Make it easier to rotate the meeting facilitator role
  • Provide an opportunity for all meeting participants to contribute and feel heard
  • Deliver all meetings types including online, hybrid, and asynchronous
  • Build a psychologically safe meeting space

Related templates

  • House Rules
  • Photo Wall
  • Two Truths and One Lie
  • Exit Ticket 3-2-1

Tips for effective meeting agendas

Who should use a meeting agenda template?

Anyone looking to support the delivery of a meeting can use a meeting agenda template. It is a really straightforward brainstorming meeting tool that can super-charge the effectiveness of any type of meeting.

As such, the template could be used by:

  • Meeting Facilitators
  • Executive Officers
  • Company Secretaries
  • Team Leads and Managers

It is a great tool to reduce the time burden of meetings while improving participation rates and record-keeping accuracy.

Meeting agenda template format

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How to create a meeting agenda template

When it comes to remote and distributed meeting participants, this online template is a real game-changer. It means everyone can be actively involved in the planning process and so completely up to speed when the meeting itself starts.

Of course, with the template populated, moving to the next step of delivering the meeting online can be done seamlessly.

Screen sharing software, video conferencing, and online collaboration tools allow facilitators to deliver inclusive meetings. GroupMap’s meeting agenda template has been designed with this in mind. It can be used with any group type (co-located, hybrid or remote). So it’s a cost-effective way of removing geographical barriers to participation.

The time it takes to complete a meeting agenda template depends on the nature of the meeting and the detail required. Sharing the template with plenty of lead time will allow contributors to work it in with their own schedules. This will help deliver a better quality outcome.

How to use a meeting agenda template

Set agenda elements

Define the sections of the meeting agenda template

Invite

Invite contributors

Brainstorm

Populate each section of the meeting agenda template

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

DMAIC Analysis Template

What is a DMAIC Analysis Template?

This is a structured approach to solve problems using the roadmap to (D) Define, (M) Measure, (A) Analyze, (I) Improve and (C) Control a particular issue or problem. It was developed as part of the Six Sigma initiative as part of a quality improvement procedure. 

It can help create significant improvements by offering a more streamlined approach with a 5 step plan. It can be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or part of the process improvement initiatives such as lean. 

The DMAIC Methodology aims to help teams improve by stepping through an iterative process that takes them through a problem definition phase all the way to being able to verify effectiveness of proposed solutions.

The 5 factors of DMAIC are as follows:

  • Define – This where the team starts by trying to develop a specific definition of the problem or goal. This helps to set the context for the team and to focus their attention to.

  • Measure – These are metrics that you can use to track or measure the problem. It could be a pareto chart based on error rates, hours of rework, throughput or creating a capability analysis.

  • Analyze – Now it’s time to get to the root cause of the issue and to look at potential causes of what might be creating the problem in the first place or is causing the problem to be repeated. The root causes can be listed and prioritised (e.g. through rating or dot voting) to pursue in the Improve step.

  • Improve – This is where the team looks at performance improvements that can address and eliminate root causes. This could be through the design of experiments that help to isolate a key factor or variable through to a skunkworks project through to an innovation process. The improvements should lead to positive changes in the items described in the measure step.

  • Control – These are actions and systems to ensure quality and sustainability of the improvements and to allow for adjustments over time.
Related templates

Tips for completing a DMAIC Analysis

  • Work through one column from left to right. Jumping ahead will defeat the purposes of the DMAIC flow.

  • Use prioritisation techniques such as voting to gain consensus from the team in each step.

  • Capturing comments is a great way to seek clarification, get more understanding and ensure buy in as you go through the problem solving steps.

  • It’s important to only focus on one key issue at a time per DMAIC. if there is a new issue that arises, then create a new DMAIC template and run that as a separate exercise.

Why should I use DMAIC?

The DMAIC problem-solving method provides a logical problem solving approach, but has a strong emphasis on data. It can drive accountability and measurable success not just by a good definition of the problem, but adds on the elements of how you can measure and therefore control errors in a sustainable way. This helps to build team accountability and also focus on what elements of the problem the team can change in order to address the root causes for the problem. 

One of the key features of this six sigma methodology approach is that it offers a logical approach to looking at an issue and can be run in it’s entirety for each problem or issue. This makes it suitable for teams that might be struggling with a current problem and not being able to see various solutions. All of this will help add value to the customer, reduce cycle time, help with employee motivation and also reduce error costs.

Who should use DMAIC?

  • Six Sigma Leaders and teams
  • Process improvement teams and coaches
  • Change managers and innovation teams
  • Project Managers

Example of a Six Sigma DMAIC Model Template

Having a simple template can be the canvas for your team to start improving process outputs and address any problems. You can start by sharing the process name, or overall goal as the main topic of your project. E.g. Error rates in production of good X. Then working through the DMAIC process, each person can share their ideas and thoughts collaboratively (or individually) based on their experience. It is usually advisable to step people through the template one column at a time, creating definition of one before moving to the other. Having a clear definition for example will then make the rest of the process more meaningful. 

The DMAIC template offers a high level question which can help the team get started but you can of course customise this to suit. By using the thumbs up and thumbs down voting as you go through the steps will allow you to build consensus along the way. The outputs of of one step, e.g. Define, feeds into the next Measure, and so on. By using the consensus building approach, you get an overall view and perspective of how you have addressed the problem, the root causes and how you would monitor and measure over time.

How to use the DMAIC Analysis template to run better meetings

Set the stage

Define the problem

Brainstorm

Share ideas in order of the DMAIC Process

Variations

Vary the headers for your team as needed

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting)

About the PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) Template

What is Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI)?

A critical thinking and brainstorming tool, PMI was developed by Dr. Edward de Bono. it fosters discussion of an idea from multiple points of view, specification what is positive (plus), negative (minus) and what might be neither but is worth considering (interesting). It can be used for a retrospective exercise or a futurespective one depnding on the context of the topic.

As one of simplest templates to use, the goal is simply to provide everyone the opportunity to express their views from different perspectives. The PMI Template is essentially lists headers of Plus, Minus and Interesting and allows participants to add ideas in, either one column at a time, or across the whole template depending on the style of your convsersations. By using the template and having people brainstorm individually, there is less group think and bias and anchoring of ideas or opinons.

Related templates
Examples of PMI statements

Who Should Use the PMI Framework?

  • Agile or scrum teams
  • Change managers
  • Workshop facilitators
  • Policy and change makers
  • Teams having to evaluate a decision or outcome
  • Project teams, including remote teams
  • Education settings and lesson plans

Why Should I Run a PMI Retrospective?

The simple goal of Dr De Bono was to overcome some of the narrow views that can be shared when a person expresses their opinion. By considering the plus, minus and interesting aspects of the same decision, it opens up each person’s thinking and encourages creativity. In scrum or agile retrospectives, the PMI is a very useful tool for getting groups who are stuck to list down different perspectives and to then consider the whole picture.

How to Use the PMI Template to Run Better Meetings

Brainstorm

Start brainstorming through each of the different hats.

Vote

Have people voted on the topics that they would like to discuss the most.

Share

Share the results and facilitate the discussion towards a decision.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.