Speed dating

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Speed dating
Type: icebreaker, Group dynamics game
Number of players: 8 to 50
Location: indoors (chairs, tables)
Equipment: sheets of paper (in A4 format), pens
Duration: 10 to 30 minutes

Speed dating is an icebreaker. Groups try to guess characteristics of the other participants. The game is particularly suited for groups which have not known each other for too long. In this case, name tags should be used. The longer the group members have been acquainted to each other, the more creative they have to be.


Stage 1

To start with, the group is split into smaller groups (even numbers, 2, 4 ...) of at least four but six people maximum (e.g. 4 teams with 5 members). Each participant within these groups has to find a "characteristic" which describes them. These characteristics may be sports, favorite food, skills,... . It is important that this "characteristic" is very individual, but may not be associated with this person too easily. The more individual the "characteristic", the better it is.

Here are some examples:

  • Paul: The name of my goldfish is Muffi
  • Peter: I am allergic to hazelnuts
  • Sabrina: I have three elder brothers
  • Simone: I watched Avatar in the cinema last week
  • Stefan: I have lived in Argentina for six months

For means of simplification, sentences may also be set, to give some examples: I can do ... ; I am of the opinion that ... ; I hate ... ; I m afraid of ... ; I admire ...

The groups then write down these characteristics in a list without mentioning any names.

Stage 2

Two groups come together at a table and sit in a way so that they face the members of the other group. Then, the lists are exchanged. The groups now have to find out which "characteristic" belongs to which member of the opposing group. They may discuss for some time (about five minutes) and finally have to write down their guesses on a sheet of paper. Once both groups have submitted their guesses, the right answers are revealed.

Stage 3

If there are four or more groups in the game, groups may be changed after the first run. Every groups takes their list of characteristics and moves to the next table. The guessing game starts again.


A points system may be introduced as well. This is useful if more groups participate, and it adds a sense of competition to the game: every correct guess counts one point. Eventually, the group with the highest number of points wins.


This game was developed at an introductory weekend to social work studies. Back then, there were about fifty participants. There were five runs in the game which took more than one hour (some participants wanted to play even longer).