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Story Circle Icebreaker Activity

Many people coming to CarpentryCon 2018 will be new to our community. We know that coming into any big event for the first time can be a little intimidating. You may not know anyone but it seems like everyone else knows lots of people.

We want to make sure that everyone who comes to CarpentryCon 2018 feels a sense of belonging right from the start. We are arranging for everyone to connect with a small group of people to swap stories about why they are here.

Stories provide a great way to connect.

So we are starting CarpentryCon with an icebreaker called Story Circles so that no one has to feel isolated or left on their own in a crowd.

Your Story Circle group can then be the 'safe' group of people to turn to during breaks or to ask or answer any questions you might have.

We borrowed this idea from OpenCon2017 where it worked really well.

The format of story circles is this:

  • Everyone will be assigned to a an animal group - lists have been posted outside.
  • Find your group - there will be designated places set aside with group names marked.
  • Join your group.
  • Choose a timekeeper, and decide who will go first.
  • Everyone in the group then spends four completely uninterrupted minutes talking about who they are, and how they came to attend CarpentryCon.
  • The others listen.
  • The format is freeform - people can choose what information they are willing to share - as long as the four-minute format is observed. If you need longer to tell your tale, you have the whole three days ahead to keep talking to your group.

The key thing is everyone in the circle has a turn, and other people in the group listen without interrupting.

We hope this format will help people feel comfortable.