By Jeffry Farman, past Global President, International Association of Conference Centres.
An icebreaker activity is usually employed to get things moving. And often at the start of an event. Icebreakers encourage people to get to know each other.
Icebreakers should be non-threatening. What is non-threatening to some group members could upset others. So, the question, “Who would you like to go on vacation with and why?”, would be threatening to many groups. However, the question, “If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?” is not as threatening.
Here are some suggested icebreakers suitable for smaller groups. Remember, if you have a large group you can always divide the numbers into smaller groups.
1. Sharing points of difference
Have each person share something that makes them different from anyone in the group, like, “I have six sisters” or “I have never learned to swim.” Participants will get to know something about everyone
2. My favourite things
Allow a short time, say, 5 minutes to go through personal belongings (in wallet or handbag) seeking out things that . . .
- You’ve had a long time.
- Reveal something about you.
- Connects you to a fun time.
- Upsets you.
Then each person in turn shares an item and explains how it relates to the topic. Go around again on the second item and again until you have gone through each one. It will be lots of fun and again allows us to know something more about each person
3. Share the topic
Each person receives a blank card. You provide a topic (could be hobbies) each person writes a question. For example, “What is your favourite hobby?” All cards are returned and placed in a pile face down. Participants select a card and in turn answer the question. Encouragement may be provided to expand a little on the answer.
Suggested topics: enemies, undesirable jobs, life goals, accidents, family, fears, water, dating issues, significant relationships
4. If only
If only you could talk to any person who has died, who would you talk to and why?
If only you could go anywhere in the world now, where would you go and why?
If only you could wish one thing to come true about your current job, what would it be?
This one stimulates thought and is sure to get some laughs.
5. A Walk in the Dark
Participants will form pairs. One partner is blindfolded. The other “steers” his or her partner around obstacles using only verbal instructions.
Find a large, flat, safe indoor or outdoor area with some obstacles (but nothing too dangerous!) Materials required include blindfolds and any props that you can set up as obstacles – trees, branches, chairs, cardboard boxes, balloons.
Valuable lessons can be learned for teamwork and unity. The guide will learn about the challenge and responsibility of caring for another individual’s well-being. The blindfolded partner learns to trust and rely on another person.
6. Best/Worst moments
Invite each person to share their best and worst moments from the previous week. This icebreaker is an easy one to use at first and gives you good feedback concerning the life of participants at the moment. The answers often become more revealing as you go.
Don’t forget to debrief with your group after you play these activities. “What was the activity about? You will find that after playing, your group may have much better trust, communication, and overall improved relationships!
There are many more ideas that will provide a great start to your event. They are all in our Guide to Icebreakers.
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