This week, we turn to a common problem many leaders encounter when working with large groups. As recently described by a playmeo member:
Context matters, of course. Variables such as the type of group you’re working with (eg adults, students, strangers, etc) the space available to interact, and whether you need random groups (or not) may all make a difference to your group-splitting strategy.
Let’s presume you have ample space to invite your group to move and you’re (ideally) looking to split people randomly. Here are four strategies I can suggest.
Randomly distribute a group number (1 to 9) as people arrive. Then, when ready, you can ask each person to look for all the others in their group. There are LOTS of ways to achieve this distribution, such as adding a mark, number, or colour to each person’s name tag in advance, marking each person’s hand with a number as they arrive, issuing a dedicated wristband, etc. For example, if you have multiple decks of Climer Cards, you will note that they are numbered 1 to 9 on the back.
Another random distribution – ask everyone to divide into 10 groups according to the last number of their cell phone number or even their street address. Then, if you need all groups to be roughly even, divide the smallest group among the other groups and/or pinch a few from the biggest groups to even out the numbers.
Tic Tac Toe
For something fun – mark a huge Tic-Tac-Toe hash on the floor/ground. When ready, ask each person to consider their favourite opening move (to place an X or O) when playing Tic Tac Toe and then stand inside the square of the matrix you have created on the floor. This distribution is unlikely to be even, so take a moment to move a few people around – but you will have started with a random split and had some fun on the way.
Form groups of 5 people. Then, ask each group of 5 to join another group of 5, and then ask each newly formed group of 10 to find another group of 10 – voila, a group of 20 people, and you will be left with 9 groups (of 20) in total.
Free eBook: Top Ten Icebreakers & Group Games
Download our free 28-page ebook jam-packed with outrageously fun activity ideas.
You may also be interested to read one or more recent blog posts that explore critical leadership strategies to help you work effectively with large groups: