Icebreakers, as the name implies, are meant to “break the ice” among individuals that are virtually strangers or perhaps only see each other occasionally. With proper planning, your icebreaker can be a great avenue for attendees to take their relationships to the next level and start to have fun at your conference or meeting.
It is important to introduce the right icebreaker, but in order to do so, it requires proper planning and forethought. Here is your icebreaker roadmap.
How to Plan for Icebreaker Success
- Have a clear purpose to your activity. Do you want to:
- Stimulate conversation between attendees?
- Lead participants into an activity?
- Involve and focus on the presenter or facilitator?
- Make it competitive?
- Promote team building?
- Make sure it easily segues into the rest of the meeting and is congruent with your theme.
- Keep it simple. Your team needs to be able to explain it effectively. Do a dry run with staffers to test out your icebreaker’s effectiveness.
- Determine what type of icebreaker you will have and when it will occur. Most icebreakers occur at the beginning of each meeting, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
- Make it short. Anything beyond 15-20 minutes, participants begin to lose interest.
6 Fun Icebreaker Ideas
- Display, via PowerPoint equipment, the following questions. What is your favorite:
- TV Show?
Ask everyone to answer each question on a piece of paper with their name on it. Have the facilitator read off the answers about each person and ask the audience to guess who it is.
This is ideal for a group of 15-25 participants.
Via an online survey tool, ask attendees to write down two questions they hope to have answered at today’s meeting. Once answered, show results on a large monitor rental and start aggregating ideas and priorities for the speaker. Have someone keep track of the results and make sure all questions are answered by the end of the session.
This is ideal for a group of 5-25 participants.
Go around the room and have each person introduce themselves to the group by first name only. But before they do so, they must include two adjectives before their name that starts with the beginning letter of their name. For example, my introduction would be Diligent, Deadline Driven De-de. This can be a lot of fun and keep people focused on the names of other attendees.
Ideal for a group of 25-150 participants.
Bring enough pennies for everyone in the room. Spread them out on a large table. Have everyone come forward to get one. As each person introduces themselves, have them tell the group something special that happened to them on the year imprinted on the penny.
Ideal for a group of up to 100 participants.
If you are using round-tables, assign seating so people who do not know each other or work in the same company are not at the same table. This works best with 8-10 people per table. Ask participants to pair up and learn as much about each other for 2 minutes. Have them introduce each other to the table.
Ideal for round-table settings with even number of seats at the table (6, 8 or 10).
Give each person a tablet rental as they enter the meeting. On it will be a list of 10-12 questions. Ask each participant to find the answers by asking other attendees for input. Once completed, have them press submit on the screen. Give a prize to the person that answered the most questions correctly.
Ideal for a group of any size.
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