One of my favorite ice breaker questions to ask is, "What is the significance of your name?" Usually this is the third or fourth question I ask, as I feel it goes a little deeper than a surface level ice breaker question. Obviously our names are very personal to us, and there is usually a short story to tell about how you were given your name.
What I like about this question from a programming point of view, is that it helps us make a connection with that person, and it also helps us remember their name. There are many name games out there in our industry, and I have a few others that I really like, but from a one-on-one connection point of view this question by far has the most impact for me.
I actually go by my middle name, Michelle. I was named after my dad, whose name is Don McMullen. My full name is actually Dawn Michelle McMullen Cummings. When my parents brought me home from the hospital they attempted to call me Dawn for the first two weeks. After several confusing interactions they decided it was too confusing to have a Don and a Dawn in the house (and you can't really call a girl Junior), so Michelle it was. I often get the question, "Why don't you like your first name?" I like my first name just fine! I just didn't grow up being called by it, except when I was in trouble. When I heard 'DAWN MICHELLE!' I knew I had made some poor choices!
Give this question a whirl and let me know how you like it. I would love for you to share the significance of your name on our Facebook page as well. (Be sure to 'like' our page, too!) Check this page to read a silly story about switching from my maiden name to my married name, too.
Have fun out there,