Give & Get

Give & Get

Icebreaker / Group Activity

I was first introduced to this icebreaker during my time as a TED Resident in 2017. It was the main structured activity we did together on Wednesdays when we gathered as a group and it was a simple and easy way for folks to connect, update each other, and provide mutual support.

How to use: As a way to get a whole group talking, encourage a sense of camaraderie and collaboration, allow people to request aid while feeling valuable. Enables group to discover hidden talents and resources that would otherwise not be uncovered

Structure: group discussion (full group if less than 15 people or breakout into 4-6 people if group is larger)

Time: 2-4 minutes per person (more if it's their first time meeting, less if they are familiar with each other)

Roles: Facilitator (optional, but helps keep time and encourage side convos to follow up after everyone has gone


  • Each person in the group introduces themselves (name, role, project 1-liner)
  • Optional: include an update on their project (helpful when you are meeting weekly to follow progress)
  • Give: What can you offer the group? Any special skills or resources you can share? People in your network you can make intro's to?
  • Get: What do you need from the group? Do you have challenges that you need particular expertise to help solve? Want to hear from someone else's experience on a particular problem? What would help you get unblocked?
  • Group responses: Others in the group can quickly react so they can connect after the activity with either taking up a give, or offering something for the get
  • If running activity virtually, follow ups can be done over chat / async to keep things moving. Otherwise, people can speak up in response.

What it sounds like:

  • Hi, I'm Jason Shen. I'm the creator of Cultivating Resilience, a newsletter for founders and leaders on making leaps and navigating change.
  • This week I'm excited to publish an interview I did with the CEO of Nuvocargo on his pivot from a hiring / HR platform to a transnational shipping company. It's been sitting in the editor's backlog for a while so I'm psyched to get it out.
  • My give is I've learned a lot about how to turn a recorded audio into a transcript or an audiogram using a tool called Descript which saves me a ton of time so happy to talk through that with you. Also happy to look at your deck if you're gearing up for fundraising convos.
  • My get is that I'm looking for other founders who have made major pivots in their businesses. If you know anyone like that, would love to chat. Also if have experience writing book proposals, I'm stuck on mine and would love some help.
  • Group member 1: "My friend Art is doing a pivot of his customer service platform to something new so he might be a good fit"
  • Group member 2: "Oh let's talk about Descript because I use a paid service for transcriptions but its super pricey and I'm looking for an alternative"
  • Group member 3: "+1, I'm currently hand transcribing some old clips I recorded a while back, please loop me into that!
  • Facilitator: "Great, sounds like you all can connect after we wrap up. Let's go to the next person..."
  • If available, a 2nd facilitator/assistant can track who wants to talk to who so folks remember to connect afterward.