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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Facilitator Led Training Guide


10. Course Activities


Activity 2:  Icebreaker

  • To set a comfortable atmosphere
  • To let participants learn about each other
  • To identity potential barriers to communication


An “icebreaker” is an interactive activity that prompts individuals to meet and learn from each other in an informal fashion.  Course icebreakers may or may not have to do with the subject matter of a course or program, but are conducted to make people more comfortable. 

Time Allotted 35 minutes total
  • 5 minutes for instructions and dividing participants into groups
  • 10 minutes for pair interviews
  • 20 minutes for introduction of course participants and group discussion
Participants should have paper and pens/pencils
Procedure 1. Ask each participant to pair up with another participant whom he or she does not know.  This may require individuals to move about the room, since most people may have already sat next to someone they know.  If there is an odd number of people in the room, one of the participants can pair up with you or another facilitator. 

2. Ask each pair to collect the following information about each other. They should take turns and write down any information they need to remember:

  1. First and last name with correct spelling and pronunciation
  2. Place, city, and state where the person works
  3. Job responsibilities in addition to TB interviewing
  4. Biggest challenge in TB interviewing
  5. Greatest achievement in having worked with a TB patient
  6. Whom the person spends time with on a regular basis
  7. Where the person spends leisure or social time

3. Give each person about 5 minutes to ask all of the questions, then ask them to switch roles.

4. After 10 minutes, announce that time is up. Ask people to be prepared to share their “interview” experience.

5. Tell the class that this was their first interview experience of the course.  Ask each person to introduce their partner to the group and provide whatever information they have collected, even if they did not complete their interviews.

6. After all groups have completed their tasks, ask people to share what challenges or barriers to communication they felt occurred during this exercise.  If barriers are not easily shared, try these prompts and ask for examples and confirmation that these may have existed:

  • Noise
  • Time pressure
  • Talking to a stranger
  • Being given very little information prior to the activity
  • Writing and collecting information at the same time
  • Other people in the room
  • Remembering all persons with whom one has frequent contact

Initiate a discussion of how such barriers may exist in the TB interview setting.  The last bullet, in particular, can place the participant in the patient’s perspective.  This point, depending on what answers people provide, can initiate discussion on the persons with whom, indeed, people frequently spend time.



Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

Please send comments/suggestions/requests to:, or to
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333