Diversity Bingo is a dynamic energizing icebreaker for in-person setup, which also serves as a team-building exercise to let people get to know each other better.
Time: 15-20 minutes
The goal of it is, as in usual Bingo, to get a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) filled up with names as soon as possible. But the main goal is, of course, to get to know other people, to have fun, to feel energized and comfortable.
Diversity Bingo Icebreaker is a good fit for:
- New teams or teams with new team members to get to know each other better
- Teams who work together for a longer time still benefit from it too. In this case, you can use more interesting or deeper questions to get to know your team members on deeper levels.
- Community gatherings, such as professional meet-ups and conferences. It helps to meet new people and to feel more comfortable even if you don’t know anybody there.
- Give each participant a piece of paper with a 5X5 table, where in each sell there is a personal characteristic, fact, or skill (and also a pen or a marker)
- Ask people to start moving and talking to others in order to find people with needed characteristics and to write down their names in the corresponding cells.
- Encourage them to talk to more people (for example, if possible, the same person’s name can not be mentioned more than 3 times on one piece of paper)
- If a person has 5 cells filled up with names (in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row), they shout “Bingo!”, or “2 Bingos!”, or “3 Bingos!” etc.
- The game ends either after:
- Someone has 1 bingo (usually, it happens too soon, but it depends on the difficulty of the questions)
- Or 3 or 5 bingos
- Or, after the timer signal (5-10 minutes), and then ask about the biggest number of bingos. This is how I usually do it.
Do a debrief after:
- Reiterate through some (or if the time allows, all) questions, e.g., Who in our team has an exotic pet/Is the oldest child?..
- Let people say the names of other people they found
- Or just ask to raise their hand so that everybody sees these people
- Or combine both approaches
- Ask: “Which cells did stay empty?”, “What kind of diversity do we miss in our team?”
Example of a playing card
Depending on the event and situation, you can customize the Bingo questions to correspond to the topic and the comfort level of the participants, adding more specific humor for the teams that worked together longer.