The circle of memory icebreaker activity is a group activity for medium sized groups. In it, participants stand in a circle, share information about themselves and try and remember the things that others have said about themselves.

Summary by The World of Work Project


Circle of Memory Icebreaker Activity

This icebreaker activity works well in a medium sized group of 12-20 people.

The facilitator gets the group to stand in a circle and asks each person to think of a descriptive word that starts with the same letter as their name, e.g. “Athletic Alex” or “Creative Chris”.

A woman with a basketball, representing a memory trick as used in the Circle of Memory Icebreaker Activity
Is that Basketball Beth?!

The facilitator then explains that each of the participants in the activity is going to take turns introducing themselves to the group using their descriptions.

The catch is, that when it’s your turn, you’ll need to say the alliteration names of everyone before you before you can say your name.

For example, if you’re the third person after Alex and Chris you’ll need to say “Athletic Alex” and “Creative Chris” before you introduce yourself. If you make a mistake then the activity bounces back to the person before you and they need to reintroduce everyone before them and themselves again, then it’s back to you.

The Circle of Memory Icebreaker Activity finishes when the last person in the circle successfully introduces themselves to the room.

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Learning More

Team building and ice-breaking activities are very important. They help build trust in teams and help progress team maturity. They can also reduce the risks of social threat and improve interpersonal awareness.

Being able to deliver them is a helpful facilitation and meeting skill. A few specific activities we’ve written about include: Weekend Chairs, Birthday Ordering, Vegetable Introductions, Two Truths and a Lie, and the Questions Cocktail Party.

Laughter and play are also great ways to help build a team. You can learn more about how playfulness helps teams in our podcast on the subject:

The World of Work Project View

This Circle of Memory Icebreaker activity is fine. It feels a bit retro in some ways now. It can also bring some stress to an activity. This is because there is a risk of failure that people need to face into. That said, it always does get completed. And by the end of it people really do know each others names (at least for a while).

In our view there are better icebreakers available, but this one is good to know about and useful for some groups. It really just depends what your objectives are overall.

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This post is based on our experiences facilitating workshops and events. There are no specific references for it.

We’re a small organization who know we make mistakes and want to improve them. Please contact us with any feedback you have on this post. We’ll usually reply within 72 hours.