By Jeffry Farman, past Global President, International Association of Conference Centres.
An icebreaker is an activity, game, or event that is used to welcome and warm up the conversation among participants in a meeting, training class, team building session, or event. Any event that requires people to comfortably interact with each other is an opportunity to use an icebreaker.
These interactive sessions are widely used to help attendees to gain a better understanding of colleagues, feel more comfortable in the group and have some fun before the official program starts.
Here’s a few ideas for inspiration.
Give each participant 5 minutes to write down 3 things they have recently discovered. A new route to work, a popular restaurant, a movie that appealed. You may be surprised what you’ll find out about a person and what their interests are. A different way to get to know you.
Worst job experience
Each attendee tells a brief story of the worst job they ever had. Ask each person to share the learning from that experience. Learn what employees’ value in their job. Loads of laughs ensured.
It’s a lie
A great getting to know you exercise. Have the group form a circle. Each person in turn shares 2 truths and a lie about them self. The group has to guess which is the lie. Loads of fun. Loads of laughs.
Before the conference put a music playlist of popular songs together. Set up teams and see who can identify the most songs. You may want to give a prize.
Interview and introduction (From our new, free, e-book on Icebreakers)
It’s always useful to learn about the people who are in the room. Be careful. Introduction rounds are often filled with awkwardness. For comfort, put participants in pairs and let them interview each other. Give them five minutes to learn about one another’s background, professional experience or passions. Then let the interviewer introduce the interviewee. The intros may look something like this: “This is Jane; she has a background in economics. She has worked for banks and finance institutions. She also loves gardening.” This approach will help people to connect in a comfortable way.
Amusing pet stories
Most people have an amusing pet story. Each person in turn shares a funny pet story. Sure to raise a few smiles.
Each hat is labelled – job, descriptive word, object. Each participant puts a word in each hat. Then each person draws a word from each hat and ties the words together in an explanation. Example: cleaner / lazy / bucket may result in “clean water was rarely used by the lazy cleaner to wash the restroom floors.”
Beware the electric fence
Start by getting the group to tye some string between two chairs. Tell the people they have built an electric fence and now need to cross it. They cannot go under. Must go over the fence. Great care needs to be taken to be sure no one is electrocuted by toughing the fence. This is an exercise in ingenuity to find a way to cross over. Lots of fun.
Ask each attendee to think back over their work experience and share a moment when all of their best attributes came together. A reflection on their best moment, their career success, their best work. A magical moment.
Ask your group to share their favourites. A favourite vegetable (and what is it about the taste), favourite colour (and how does that colour make you feel), favourite name (what would your name be if you changed).
There are many more ideas that will provide a great start to your event. They are all in our Guide to Icebreakers. And it’s free.
At CountryPlace we appreciate that all events are unique. And we are here to help. This Icebreaker Guide will help you understand the many options for getting your event off to a great start and the many activities that are available.
For further assistance please reach out to the CountryPlace team. Call 9728 7070