Last updated: 4th October, 2023
1. Icebreakers and conversational games
a. Icebreaker questions
While many people are happy to chat away without prompts, it can be nice to have a few suggested questions that can get people started. This list of questions is grouped by how close you are with your conversation partner, and this is a longer list of ungrouped questions if you’re looking for more! Do as many or as few as you’d like!
b. Would you rather questions
‘Would you rather’ is another easy way to get to know people, and can often result in really interesting (and humorous) conversations. Here is a list of both ea-related and non-ea-related questions. Do as many or as few as you’d like!
c. Coat of arms
Coat of arms is an activity with more emotional depth that aims to help people build meaningful connections quickly. In short, participants are put into groups of four and through a drawing activity share things about themselves (e.g., what makes up their identity or things they’re working on). It typically takes 1-2 hours. Click here for a detailed guide and breakdown by Harry Taussig.
d. Hamming Circles
Hamming circles are another conversation ‘game’ that invites people to be emotionally vulnerable with each other. Small groups of people aim to help one another make progress towards solving issues which are holding them back from achieving ambitions. A list of questions will be read in a small group, each member will think about their answers, and then people will share their thoughts to each other and discuss. Click here for a detailed guide and breakdown by Harry Taussig.
2. Movie nights
EA-related movies, TV shows and documentaries can be both casual and informative for group members. For in-person events, make sure to pick a comfortable environment, and consider purchasing snacks for the group. For virtual events, Watch2Gether (browser-based) or Kast(all audience members must download the software) are two possible watch apps for watch parties. Zoom is also a possibility, but you'll want to make sure you share your audio for the best sound quality.
Brian Tan of EA Philippines has created a ranked list of EA-related documentaries, movies, and TV shows.
3. Quiz nights
Questions at quiz nights can be entirely EA-themed, but can also contain non-EA-related questions. Given that many audiences are different, we’ve supplied a range of quizzes below for you to choose what’s best for you.
- EA themed quiz here. Suitable for all audiences. Alternative syllabus and answers here and here respectively.
- General pub quiz here. Suitable for all audiences.
- You can also adapt online EA-related quizzes for in-person events. A good source is the website Quizmanity, hosted by Clearer Thinking; EA Eindhoven adapted the Quizmanity World’s Biggest Problems Quiz and made these slides.
Hosting dinners can be a nice, intimate way of getting to know local members. We recommend having at least two organisers, providing a vegetarian/vegan menu (lots of EA’s have these dietary requirements), and potentially using Section 1 of this page for conversation ideas if you’d like. See here for some menu ideas by Julia Wise. See the page below for further information:
5. Fermi Estimation Competition
Fermi Estimates are rough numerical estimates of unknown quantities, named after physicist Enrico Fermi, who was famous for making uncannily accurate estimations with very little data. Usually, Fermi estimates are made by splitting up the problem into several factors that we can approximate and then doing a simple calculation. This guide on LessWrong gives more information, and examples of Fermi estimates. Fermi Estimation Competitions can be prepared by choosing a bunch of numerical questions that participants are unlikely to know off the top of their heads and finding the correct answer on the internet. See the page below for further information:
6. Speed updating
‘Speed updating’ (a play on the term ‘speed dating’), also known as ‘productive disagreements’, involves participants getting matched with a person that disagrees with them about a topic for around 10 minutes (can be more or less depending on the question or time available). The goal is to find out the cause of the disagreement, and potentially “update” your position. See the page below for further information:
7. Further ideas
If you’re still looking for further ideas, see the page below for some more templates!