We’ve all had some awkward icebreaker memories at the beginning of a staff meeting or conference. You place a group of strangers into a situation where they’re forced to collaborate and even rely on each other.
While it is uncomfortable initially, participants are always much more comfortable with each other after the games are over. This opens the door for employee engagement and a better overall meeting afterward.
“Hey, look, that forced awkward interaction worked!”
The reality is that businesses should be considering engaging employee activities for any event they host, including networking receptions, conferences, meetings, incentive trips and more.
What benefits can you see from incorporating an ice-breaking game into a meeting?
Icebreaker Game Benefits
Drexel University listed the 3 big overarching benefits of icebreakers as Community, Interaction, and Empathy.
Ours are along the same vein.
Giving strangers an assignment or goal forces them to quickly get over there awkward phase to succeed.
Increased Comfort Level
Participants develop a comfort level after getting to know someone and are less anxious about the event overall.
We’re not only referring to the activity itself but the meeting as a whole. When people begin to develop a comfort level, they are less distracted and more focused on your message.
Choosing Your Perfect Icebreaker Activity
Keep in mind, the best time to host an icebreaker game is at the beginning of your event or maybe after the opening remarks.
To find your ideal icebreaker, consider your audience and your goals.
Check out 12 ideas below that will help get you started!
Introductory / Get to Know You Icebreakers
This game is for a group of people of any size. They could have met before or never met but don’t really know that much about each other.
A good way to get everyone to open up and let people in on something that they don’t already know.
- Name introductions; a fun fact/hobby about yourself
- Name introductions; 2 truths and 1 lie then your peers guess the lie
- Chat to find 10 things in common with 10 different peers
Team Building Icebreakers
Team building icebreakers get your group to work together, communicate and trust each other to get the game/project done successfully.
- Group scavenger hunt
- Team office knowledge trivia
- Building the tallest structure out of dried spaghetti, tape and marshmallows in a given time
Fun icebreakers should be used at a networking cocktail reception or the first night of an incentive trip to introduce guests to each other and converse and laugh to carry on the fun through the night.
- Active contest games; have people pick a partner that they don’t know (Cornhole, Jenga, darts…)
- Beach ball toss; different questions on the beach ball and you toss around and answer the one your hand lands on
- Photo booth fun with props
Virtual Meeting Ice-breaking Activities
Don’t forget about the virtual meeting icebreakers!
Make it a quick and easy way for your team members to get to know each other a little better before the meeting begins.
- Questions and answers. What’s your favorite beverage? What’s your favorite type of music?
- Guess who! Post a fact about someone and everyone picks who they think it is
- Team Trivia – Break up into teams and make it a friendly competition
While most folks are initially opposed to ice-breaking activities, the end results are usually almost always positive!
Be prepared for some pushback or groans, and push through. The benefits for the rest of your event (speakers, content, surveys, etc.) are enormous.
Remember, keep icebreakers simple and fun to avoid any extra stress!
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