What’s the Weather Like in Your Forum?

Some Forums use the “One Word Barometer” exercise as an ice breaker when they start their meetings.  Each member says a single word that describes their frame of mind. For example, they could be focused, stressed, sad, overwhelmed or optimistic.

A Forum in Alberta, Canada switched to giving a Weather Report.  For this ice breaker, each person states their current frame of mind as if it were a weather phenomenon – cloudy, sunny, thunderstorms on the horizon, etc.

Yet another Forum in Portland, Oregon starts with a single number to indicate their “temperature”.  For example, if I’m feeling calm, cool and collected, my temperature might be mild – 60oF / 16oC.  If I’m super angry about something, my temperature might be hot – 95oF / 35oC.

Remember the ice breaker’s purpose. A good one compels members to let go of outside distractions. It helps them shift their mindset to the Forum frame of mind, which is more introspective and mindful. Trying to capture our feelings in a single word means we must focus on the moment. Plus, this ice breaker provides the moderator with a pulse check about individuals.

Whether you use the One Word Barometer, the Weather Report, or another fresh ice breaker, the moderator has established a sense of how people feel at the meeting’s outset.  Forum members can use this exercise to remind each other they are part of a supportive community with strong relationships.