Deborah Rim MoisoSessionLab

Who is in the room? Sociometrics

by for .  
10 - 3020 - 150 Low

Distribute participants in space (or if online, on a whiteboard) to quickly capture some aspects of the group: where are participants from? How familiar are they with the topic? What are their backgrounds?



Get people moving and talking in this dynamic and versatile opening activity. Great for large groups where you do not have time for everyone to introduce themselves. 




    Sociometrics are a great way to enable introductions in large groups. They function as an ice-breaker and an energiser as well, since people are required to move around. Depending on the prompt the facilitator gives, they can also be a way of visualising the diversity in the room and allow everyone to learn what the group is like.

    Before you begin, you will need:

    • a large enough space everyone can move in (can be outdoors)
    • a way to bring back silence, e.g. chimes or an agreed-upon signal

    Explain that you will be using the available space to create maps of the group.

    Start with a map of locations (this is the same method as the Group Map): 
    (1) stand in the center of the space and explain that participants will be creating a map of the world based on where they live. The center, where you are, indicates the place you are currently in for the workshop. Point out north, west, east and south. 
    (2) invite participants to arrange themselves in space: to determine where to stand they can discuss with one another. Expect some confusion at first, but soon a map will emerge.
    (3) bring back silence. Invite people to have a short conversation with the ones closest to them. What is it like, to live there? 
    (4) bring back silence. Ask to hear a few comments from some different places (the closest, the farthest...): how is it to be here today?

    Once the group has tried this map, you can use sociometrics for many different purposes, asking, for example:

    • arrange yourself in space (this will look more like a line) based on what background you have: humanities more on this side, hard sciences more on that side. Let the group self-organise (where do the business/economics studies go?) and encourage people who might prefer to move around (I have a double degree!) as that is also fine. 
    • how many years have you been in this company for? Hear from the newcomers first will set the stage for a workshop in which we listen to new ideas, but make sure you give the founders time to speak as well. 
    • how familiar do you feel you are with the topic of this workshop? 
    • where were you born (vs where are you now)? 


    Recreate the experience of mapping in space by using a whiteboard (such as Miro/Mural or Jamboard), with prepared templates, such as a map of the world, and inviting participants to write their name, or post their picture, in the appropriate space. Welcome everyone and ask for a few comments from different places. 

    This doubles as a good orientation exercise to allow people to get familiar with online whiteboard usage, including navigation, using virtual sticky notes, and posting pictures.

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