A Must-Try Icebreaker Ideas for Your Next Meeting

March 13, 201912:41 pm
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Get Involved UK defines icebreaker as an effective way to warm up a cold meeting. It can be used to reinforce the topic discussed in the session and ensure that participants enjoy their interaction. Icebreaker is also useful to warm up conversation and build employee interaction as “it might help participants develop meeting leadership skills which make more effective team leaders.”

The University of Manchester on “Students as Partners: Peer Support Icebreakers” also describes “icebreaker as a discussion question or activity used to help participants relax and ease people into a group meeting or learning situation.” Icebreaker session also gives people a great opportunity to learn each other’s names both personally and professionally. Further, icebreaker also shows a positive impact as it creates a positive group atmosphere, helps people to relax, breaks down social barriers, energises and motivates meeting participants, and helps people think outside the box.

Tips and hints

Whether you conduct a small or large meeting session, icebreaker is important to make participants feel belonged in the meeting. By creating a warm and friendly personal learning environment, employee will participate actively and learn more from the meeting. Therefore, you should choose the right icebreaker for your next meeting because poorly chosen icebreaker can have opposite effect to participants. According to Students’ paper, here are tips and hints for choosing your next ice breaking ideas:

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Know your audience – before conducting an icebreaker session, you should first assess group such as their age, familiarity with one another, purpose of the group gathering, as well as potential considerations for physical abilities.

Change your routine – icebreaker is supposed to be enjoyable and able to increase participants’ enthusiasm. So, when your activity seems stale, it is time to change your routine and learn new game to be applied.

Don’t only use activities that require resources – resources might not be always available in your office such as tennis ball or drawing paper so you could change the resources. Alternatively, you can apply icebreakers that do not require resources.

Icebreaker ideas

Here are a few creative and fun icebreaker ideas you can try and apply in your next meeting:

Idea #1 Unique Things

It is applicable to any group size and does not require resource.

Rule: Each person has to introduce themselves and state one thing about them/ something they’ve done which they think is unique. Each person should say different statements.

Idea #2 Next Question

It is applicable to small group size (6-8 participants) and resource required is people.

Rule: Leader of icebreaker decides a topic. Those involved have to think of a question based on that topic and ask it to the person to their left. The question is not answered by the adjacent person, but the person one along. Members of group first answer question posed by person two places to their right then asks their own question. If someone makes a mistake and answers question from person sat next to them, they have to stand up and run around group table. Questions keep going around table until leader calls time on activity.

Idea #3 Bang!

It is applicable to mid to large group size (10-30 participants) and resource needed is people.

Rule: Group makes a circle and one person is nominated to stand in the middle of the circle (person stand should know everyone’s name). The person in centre shouts out a person’s name. This person should quickly duck down. The two other people either side of this person make a ‘gun’ shape with their hands and, pointing at one another. Then, they should shout bang. The last person to shout bang must sit down and is out of the game. If person whose name is called does not duck before someone shouts bang, they are out. Finally, the last to person should then face each other like a cowboy. Make distance between them and turn around, then shout bang. The quickest person to shout bang is the winner.

Idea #4 Themed Cluewords

It is applicable to large group (25-30 participants) and resource needed is clue sheets

Rule: before activity begins, leader thinks of a target work related to topic to be discussed in the session. Leaders would then need to prepare ‘crossword’ clues based on a topic, where first letter of first work relates to a letter in target word.

Leaders would group participants into small groups and ask them to pick 2-3 clues from a hat. Once they have figured out the clue, they write letter on the back. Leaders would then bring group back together, group then have to use jumbled up letters to find target word. This word then becomes the catalyst for group discussion.

Idea #5 What’s the Question?

It is applicable to small group (3-4 participants) and does not need resource.

Rule: 1) Facilitator writes some facts on board such as latest issues in human resources. 2) Participants try to think of question that matches each fact. When participants have discovered all of the questions, place them in small groups (3-4 employee) to discuss in smaller group. Or, simply discuss with all the meeting participants. Leaders can use this as a way of beginning discussion on certain areas by writing up a word which related to meeting topic.

Idea #6 No Smiling

It is applicable to any group size and does not require resource.

Rule: Tell the group in the beginning of the meeting that they does not allow to smile or even laugh. It is a lot harder than you think and you will see reserve psychology start to take place.

Idea #7 Problem-Solution  

It is applicable to any group size and does not require resource.

Rule: Give everyone in the meeting room a 5-10 minutes to pick out biggest problem they see in office and quickly dream up solutions. Encourage their creative thinking by declaring the room a safe zone even if boss is in the room. This activity might inspire some projects if someone pitches an idea that resonate with the room.

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