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I had suggested we host an ice cream social at my work, so I have been tasked with handling all the details.

We have a lot of new faces, so management wants me to incorporate a short game/party activity with the focus of helping everyone learn names, job roles, and attach faces to them. We have about 50 people, so having the game move quickly is a must.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a game that will do this?

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    Hi Eric, I don't think your question is going to be a very good fit for the SE network, as it falls under the category of a Shopping List Question. They aren't a good fit for SE because there will be many potential options, and no single answer is going to be objectively better than any other, making it primarily opinion-based. – David K Feb 26 at 20:00
  • what is the proportion of new people among the 50? – mhoran_psprep Feb 27 at 13:48
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    Is it necessary that each person learn the other 98 pieces of information (each other person's name and position) in one go, all as one group? Any game with 50 people can be hard to wrangle, are you dead set on having things play out for the entire group, together? – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Feb 27 at 17:40
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    I'm flagging to close this as "primarily opinion-based" because every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?” Also read: Q&A is hard, let's go shopping! – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Feb 27 at 21:53
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In my mind are two games.

First: The "spider web" we used in school, so it is eventually not suitable for grown ups:

All persons sit/stand in a circle. One have a ball of wool and hold its end, say its name and what facts are usefull for you, and throw it to the (random) next person. This holds the thread, say the facts and throw. So you get a web. After the ball of wool is in hand of the last person it is thrown to the first. Now the first person must say the facts of the last person and give the ball back to it. Every person have to say name and position (for example) of the person, to which it throw the ball backwards. And so on until the web is dissolved.

You should inform the persons before start about the dissolving-rules, so they can engrave the facts of their precursor in their mind.

It is fun to throw things around, and it makes happy to dissolve the web as a team.

Second: A memory cardgame, needs some preparation

Pairs are the name (maybe picture) on one card and the facts like position on the second card. You can use little file cards / index cards and print the information on it, or you give them blanc to the persons and they write the informations on it (maybe draw a picture of theirself). After this all first cards will be mixed, and all second cards separate, everyone gets one of each sort and search for the belonging cards. In the end everyone have a belonging pair of cards and introduces the belongin person to all.

You can also make for everybody only one card with all informations and the real person is the "second card" to find.

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Get a small ball. A light foam rubber ball is perfect.

Tell them "when somebody hands you the ball, do these things"

  • Thank the person who gave it to you, by name.
  • Say your name, what you here, and one thing about yourself.
  • Hand the ball to another person, if possible a person you don't know.
  • Each time you get the ball, you have to say a different thing about yourself.

Keep going for a while. Then say, "if you haven't had the ball yet raise your hand", and finish the game.

This is fun. People need to listen... because they need to thank somebody by name. It makes people try to remember each other (to avoid repeats). It lets less memorable people have more opportunities to say something about themselves. And, it's quick.

If you have to break up into subgroups, ask people to count off in sequence 1 /2 / 3 etc, then go to those groups. That way your subgroups have a better chance of containing strangers.

Example.

I'm Adam Jones, and I'm an analyst in finance. I'm a Buffalo Bills fan.

Thanks Adam Jones, I'm Beth Robinson, and I'm a programmer. My nephew is studying in France this year.

Thanks Beth Robinson, I'm Carole Fernandez, and I drive a delivery truck. I love rock climbing.

(repeat) Thanks Carole Fernandez. I'm Adam Jones. I'm an analyst in finance. My wife and I volunteer at a homeless shelter once a month.

etc etc. you get the idea.

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I found a few videos where name games are used. Some things to think about is how you can effectively engage the people involved and maximize their name learning and retention. Possibly grouping people up in smaller groups will help them to learn more names in the long term. Playing with a group of 50 generally means that some people will fly under the radar and not have their names remembered as well as say, "Steve, the funny guy, with the great personality who made everyone laugh with his one good joke during the group activity."

  1. Name Impulse - Here a group is arranged in a circle and must say their own name. Each person must say their name as they go around in a circle until the circle has completed. Considering it will take multiple tries to get through quickly it forces reiteration of people saying their names and allows others to learn them too.

  2. The Name Game (with movement) - Got a group of people who are comfortable with moving and motion? Perfect game here! This one gets people in a group and each person chooses to associate a movement with their name. Then the group of people in the circle all do the movement together, saying the person's name. Applying a motion to a name helps people to retain the name.

  3. Another option, but not too PC is the Bang/The Gun Name Game - This one is a little more intricate and involves people "kinda" already knowing some names. The instructions can be found in the link.

There are a plethora of other options on the Internet. Just google name game and see if you find anything else you like. Most importantly though, HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!

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