Written by Vaidehi Agarwalla back in 2020, with minor updates made on February 21, 2023
What is Gatheround?
Gatheround (formerly Icebreaker) is software that provides an intuitive and easy-to-use matching feature for users. It’s great for all kinds of social events, such as speed networking, in-depth discussions and group bonding.
From their guide:
"Gatheround is a video platform designed to bring your community or team together in a playful, interactive and productive way.
There are two parts to a Gatheround: the event room where the host can establish a shared context and guide the tone of the event, and the “games” in which participants break out for one-on-one curated conversations.
People love it, it’s highly interactive by design - it’s the best tool for building digital communities out there!"
CEA is able to provide groups with access to its Gatheround Premium account. You'll need to sign up to Gatheround with the email address you want us to send Premium access to, then email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what group you organize and what email you used. We’ll then add you to the “Centre for Effective Altruism” group.
gatheround.com: Gatheround's website.
Gatheround Host Guide: This is Gatheround’s guide on using the platform. You can also sign up for live demos on their site.
Think about your goals for the event.
Gatheround seems best for pre-existing groups (e.g. cause area, local, organisations, fellowships) where you want the people in the group to be more comfortable with each other. It seems especially good when people already know each other a little bit or want to reconnect with others in a group.
If people come late, it might be useful to have the key points in the event description and encourage them to read it.
This is a sample, feel free to alter it: PLEASE READ BEFORE ENTERING IF YOU ARRIVE LATE! HOW IT WORKS:
You can participate in as many or as few games as you like and leave early/arrive late.
Technical: You will need your computer, and you will need to sign in with a Google account or create a Google account. You will need to give permissions for your audio and video.
You MUST join during the 10-second countdown for each round for random matching to occur. We will give you a warning.
There are question prompts on the RIGHT-HAND SIDE of the screen (it looks like a card) when you enter a game
You will be able to keep in touch with your matches via the chat icon in the top right corner AFTER today's session is over (don't click before you're ready to leave, or you'll have to re-enter!)
Explain how the matching process works and the 10-second timer
Take a minute or so at the beginning to introduce yourselves
You don’t NEED to use the cards, they are there as helpers. If you’re having a good conversation, continue on! If you get stuck on a card, don’t worry about finishing the rest
You can follow up with matches via the chat icon in the top right corner after the event is over
Set expectations for different round lengths. We have found that at least 10-12 minutes is necessary for a reasonable introduction, but people often find this very short.
Small groups: You can do longer rounds e.g. 20-25 minutes to avoid double matching and form more meaningful connections with your matches.
Fun Games: I think 5-8 minutes is fine for these, and you don’t have to worry about double matching because the goal is to have fun, not make new connections.
EA Shared Template Events
Once you’ve signed up, email email@example.com with the email address you signed up to Gatheround with and one of us will add you to the “Centre for Effective Altruism” group within 2 work days.
Duplicating events to use for your group
In your Gatheround profile you’ll see the Centre for Effective Altruism group.
When you open it, you’ll see many events. Click on the three dots icon at the top right of an event, and press “Duplicate” on the event you’d like to copy. When creating a copy of an event please change the group selection to “None” to avoid filling up the events folder.
Adding templates to the shared group
Anyone can add to the template events. If you add a template event, please include the following:
Try to name the event something intuitive, for example “EAGx Speed Networking Event” or “Cause Prioritisation Speed Updating” or “Fun social bonding games”, rather than more generic titles.
In the description, please add:
What audience is the event suitable for
Any useful hints or tips
Which group/individual created the event
Please do not add the same event more than once, or an event which is very similar to an existing event to help prevent there becoming too many events.
There are templates for most of these in the Group Folder.
Small group matching
There is now small group matching, so you can match with more than 1 person on gatheround! You can pick on a per-game basis, so you can alternate between 1-1 and small groups.
Game duration: I think at least 20 minutes for group matching, but of course we will need to experiment :)
Limitations: Currently it looks like you can't control the number of people matching, they say they'll default to groups of 4 but it could be groups of 2-5, so plan accordingly! (Latecomers will be matched 1-1 with each other)
See these Questions from EAGxVirtual.
Mimics your typical speed networking events to meet many people and let the participants set up follow-up calls afterwards. Shorter rounds work better in person, where attendees may bump into each other at a conference. Keep in mind this isn’t possible virtually, so longer rounds may be better.
Think carefully about the audience and questions you want to ask. If your goal is to help people find collaborators vs to help them form friendships, you would ask different questions
Mixers - A/B Group Matching
Mixers can use any of the event formats described above.
This is useful for matching between two groups, such as between mentors and mentees, or an intergroup mixer.