Before the start of a meeting, training, get-together or at a friend's party, there is this weird uncomfortable silence, when we notice unfamiliar faces around us.
How do we deal with this inertia of nervousness? How do we break the ice and start a conversation? How about trying something new? Let's forget the mundane way of introducing and try something fun and different.
To choose an appropriate icebreaker activity, you will have to consider certain factors like, the tone of the event: Is it for building camaraderie or just to liven up a quiet gathering?
What's the age group of the people involved? Is it indoors or outdoors? How many people are expected? Don't choose complicated icebreakers -- let them be simple. Also, don't choose an icebreaker that would actually make participants more nervous and uncomfortable.
Let's start with some icebreaker games that will help in team building.
» Simple Icebreaker Games
› Question & Answer Session: Most people fear the initial part where they have to introduce themselves. A quick icebreaker to deal with this is to ask the group to write 3 questions each that they would like to ask each other. Ask random or funny questions without hurting anyone's feelings -- something like "what was the last thing you ate?" or "what is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?". Shuffle the sheets of paper and randomly pass the sheets of paper around. Now everyone has to answer the questions written on the sheet that they get.
› Two Truths and a Lie: Another creative icebreaker game is to ask everyone to write and tell 3 things about themselves -- one of which should be a lie -- and let others try to catch the lie. The piece of paper should be submitted to the coordinator to confirm if the lie was detected correctly or not.
› Identifier: Another game is to ask everyone to add an adjective before their name which best describes them and helps to remember them easily. The adjective should start with the first letter of their name. Suppose someone's name is Anne. Then here, the person could use the adjective "active" or "attractive" as per the first letter "A". You could address this person as 'Active Anne' or 'Attractive Anne' for the rest of the day.
› Fun Trivia Quizzes: Group together all the people and ask each person a trivia question; something like what is the capital of Australia or name the character from a particular movie or describe any animal or fruit one would want to be and why. You can have some hilarious icebreakers by using your imagination.
› Charades: Form two groups and play dumb charades using songs, movie names, famous places or people.
› Storytelling Session: You can also play a story game where one person starts a story, says three to four lines and ends it 'suddenly'. The next person continues the story and stops it after three to four lines. This continues till the last person concludes it.
› Mingle-Mingle: This game is something like speed dating. Ask the group members to mingle amongst themselves for not more than 2 minutes. Let the members talk to different people asking them about their hobbies, interests, favorite cartoon character or animation movie and sports they play (or the sportsperson(s) they admire). When the timer rings after 2 minutes, say "mingle" and shift to another person.
» Conversation Starters for Kids
Kids are enthusiastic and energetic, so make sure their games are fun. Some popular examples are as follows:
› Just Act: Ask each kid to act out his/her favorite actor, cartoon character or animal.
› If and Then: In this game, split the group into two and ask one group to write a sentence starting with 'If' and the other group with "Then". Randomly pick people from each group and ask them to combine the "if" and "then" and read it aloud. Be careful not to write hurtful or mean sentences. Make the sentences funny. For example: If I had a million dollars, then pigs would start flying.
› Treasure Hunt: Divide the group into two and play scavenger hunt. For example: you can say "get me three red socks" -- a leader for each group collects the socks and brings them to you. The first one to get it earns a point. By the end of the game, tabulate the score and announce the winner.
› Balloon Toss: Using only your head you have to balance the balloon in the air, without letting the balloon fall or touch the ground. The person who is able to manage the balloon in the air for the longest time is the ultimate winner.
› M&M Quiz: Pass a bag of M&Ms around and ask everyone to pick five different colors. Associate a question to every color: like for red, ask them to name their first crush; for brown, ask them to share a funny incident that happened in their life, etc.
» Icebreaker Questions
» Icebreaker Questions
Some interesting and funny icebreaker questions you can ask your group are:
- If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
- If you could travel to the future or past, where in time would you want to go?
- Does luck play an important part in the success of a person?
- What is the one thing you can't live without?
- Which wild animal would you keep as a pet and why?
- Which is your dream vacation place?
- Name your favorite cartoon character.
- What is your birthday wish?
- What is the one thing you are skillful at doing?
- What would be your ideal job and why?
- Name one unique thing about yourself.
- Who is the most influential person in your life?
- Do you believe in any kind of superstitions?
- Which celebrity do you admire the most or consider as a role model?
- For Halloween, what have you dreamed to dress like but never had the guts to do so?