Ice breakers ease out the tension amongst strangers and make the atmosphere comfortable. They help them get past the awkward silences and the initial inhibition. Here are a few fun ice breakers that you can try.
What is that one thing about you that the others will not be able to guess?
With preconceived notions, biases and prejudices, adults take a little extra time to loosen up than children. Which is why, if you are conducting a seminar, meeting, or a class for a bunch of adults, you will find them to be reticent.
With a few ice breakers, you can get these adults to mingle and get the best of group activities. Knowing your audience is the first rule of this activity.
Since you are working with adults, keep the movement to minimal for total participation. You can change the rules as per your needs for flexibility of the game.
Story of My Life
Each member will be given a pen and a paper. This game creates a hypothetical situation. Say, your publisher has given you a deadline to script a story about yourself in 10 minutes. Now fold the paper into half. On the front page, write the title of your book. On page two the table of contents, stating the place you were born in, your name and the other details you’d want to share. On page three draw a picture of your family, and on the last page draw a picture of how you’d want to retire. Blow the whistle at the end of the stipulated time. Pair up people and ask them to exchange papers and enact the role of publisher, trying to sell the story of their partner’s life to the remaining members.
Once again it’s a situation reaction test. The situation is that you have inherited a restaurant. However, the recipes inside it are all disorganized and scattered all over the place in bits and pieces. To do this, cut out ingredients and distribute them to all members. Once you blow the whistle, all the members have to find their respective ingredients and recipes. Whenever a group gets done, they need to shout out, bon appetit!
ABCs of Me
Here, each member has to enact the role of a teacher. The remaining members are the students. The participant has to teach the students ABCs by drawing something about his/her life. Don’t stretch this game to the letter Z. Give each member a cluster of any 5 alphabets and proceed with the game.
Similar to treasure hunt, this game is a lot of fun and highly interactive. You will need to make clues and hide the items beforehand. Make two groups and give out the first clue. Give the teams a time limit of 15 – 20 minutes to collect all the items and find the treasure. Here, the members can interact with each other as much as they want, but cannot leave the room. Finally, when the treasure is found, it has to be shared with the remaining team members.
Divide the participants in groups of two and make them form circles. Make the two circles stand one inside the other, with the people from the inner circle facing the ones standing outside. Each circle has to take a step in the opposite direction in order to meet every person from the circle. While the circles are moving, each person gets about 10 seconds to reveal a quick fact about them. For example, “Hi! I am Sam. My favorite color is green.” Once both the circles have completed one rotation, members will disclose the information gathered about the people they have met while moving around.
Gather the participants in a circle. Ask each person to pull out a personal item from their bag or a piece of clothing or an accessory they are wearing. The chosen item is supposed to represent the person or something about them. For example, if a person pulls out a pen, then a logical explanation could be that he or she is a writer. A calculator can represent a person’s job in a finance sector, and so on and so forth.
No one can deny their love for M&Ms! Use these colorful sugary treats to break the ice. Gather your participants in a circle and pass a bag of M&Ms around. Do not set a limit on the number of M&Ms people can pick up. When the bag returns to the facilitator, each person will have to tell things equal to the number of M&Ms they have picked up.
Whose is it?
Ask participants to deposit a personal item, for example, a earring, scarf, tie, belt, handkerchief, a photograph (not theirs), a pen, etc. Collect these items in a bowl and then call the participants one-by-one to pick an item (which does not belong to them). Once they’ve selected the items, make them stand separately. Give the entire group two minutes to figure who the item belongs to. As they try to find the right owner, they will automatically begin working together.
Cop and Killer
Make cards with a set that says a cop, people, and a killer. Let the participants draw out these cards. The draw of cards will determine each player’s role. The objective of the killer is to identify the common people and kill them with a wink, without getting caught by the cop. If the cop incorrectly suspects someone to be the killer, then he too is declared dead, and the killer wins the game. However, if the cop successfully gets hold the killer, then the cop stands as the winner.
Such games bring down the walls of inhibition and ease out the mood in a roomful of strangers. They have always been used to create a sense of comfort and belonging amongst people. I hope these games serve the purpose and help you facilitate the meeting better. Have fun!