Work can be stressful sometimes, but attending meetings can be worse. After all, you wouldn’t be holding one if there wasn’t something important to deal with, which means not only having more work but having to do it with other people as well. That’s why it’s important to start everything right by making sure everyone is all warmed up and open to one another before any exchange of tasks or ideas begin.
This is where icebreakers come in. They work especially well with people who have barely gotten the chance to know one another. These activities will be more than enough to get everybody relaxed and ready to take the task in front of them. These top ten activities have been used in meetings, training sessions, and other team building activities. When used, you’ll be able to get your participants in a good mood and ready to get cracking.
Note that these icebreakers are great for all kinds of meetings and can work with any group of any size. You’ll also be able to use these activities to help build better teamwork with the group. If you haven’t heard of any of these, don’t worry. The games will come with a full description and instructions on what to do to play the game.
Ten Things in Common: This icebreaker is a very simple variation of your typical GTKY that’s normally done in classes. As the name of the game suggests, the goal is to have the group come up with ten things all the members or participants have in common with one another. As you can see, it’s not so hard to explain the rules to everyone, but you need to make it a bit more challenging by making sure they don’t point out the obvious stuff like body parts and age.
To facilitate, you should first point out the simple cop-outs as limitations. Then you can start by coming up with a topic of your own. This will more or less give everyone the idea what to do, and you can proceed to take turns suggesting what everyone may have in common. Don’t forget to list them down!
Note: Think 10 is easy? There’s no rule against adding more!
Describe Something in One Word: This one’s particularly great for meetings where people don’t know much about each other yet. It requires a bit of preparation but it will be worth it. This game has also proven to be an easy favorite for more activity facilitators because of the simple mechanics but very effective results.
To start, the participants simply need to take turns describing something about themselves in one word. You, as the facilitator, will mention an aspect of a person’s life (i.e. family, culture, hobby, etc.) and you ask each one of them to describe it in one word. Another variation is to try to get a theme that fits well with that of the meeting. For example, if it’s a seminar on culture, ask participants to describe their culture in one word.
The game is interesting because it helps people learn more about one another in a very effective but unique way.
Five of Anything: If you want to zero in on a specific topic, such as the participants’ interests, you’re going to want to try this icebreaker. The game basically requires each participant to state a number of things on a topic you would give, such hobbies or their favorite albums. You could even make it more interesting by making it a top list of things, such as their “top five favorite songs" or the last five restaurants they’ve been too. As usual, the number isn’t important, and you can make the topics similar to what the meeting is for so people will warm up.
Favorites: This one’s particularly good for those who want to get everyone fired up faster so they can get down to business, otherwise known as speed-meeting icebreakers). Think of them as speed dating, but only for meeting with a group of people.
The game is about asking people about their favorite on a given topic. It’s great because they don’t have to think too hard about it, and they just have to say the first thing that comes out of their heads. The best part is that nobody can get it wrong since there’s no such thing as a wrong answer in this kind of game. The fast pace of the game also makes everyone warmed up for the meeting proper.
Note: try to keep things simple in this game so people won’t have to think about what they have to say, and that it’s all relatable.
Three Shining Moments: Want something that gets people fired up and feeling more self-confident in a matter of moments? You’re going to want to try this little icebreaker. It’s a great way for people to introduce themselves in a more creative way while they talk about something that’s close to their heart.
"Three Shining Moments” was actually an ice breaker that was originally used for team building purposes, but has since been used equally effectively on all kinds of gatherings. It works particularly well on groups that have things in common already (i.e. they went to the same school, underwent the same training, or worked in the same field). As the name of the game suggests, they’ll get to recount three (or more) moments that took place in a given period of time. This is a really good way for you to know more about a person because of the stories they share.
Your Personal Best: This is another variation to the “Three Shining Moments” but you get to pick a specific theme, such as their highest achievement in college or most rewarding volunteer work. This works for everyone because everyone should have something to share.
Surely, this isn’t an exhaustive list of icebreakers out there, but if these won’t get your meeting started in the right direction, then we don’t know what will!