What happened the last time you were in a meeting and suggested an ice breaker to get everyone involved? Did the reaction of your employees make you regret your suggestion? *Sigh* Don't worry – it happens to the best of us.
But believe it or not – ice breakers should be fun, not annoying! They should increase engagement, not eye rolls…🙄
Don't you wish you had a designated list of ice breakers for team meetings to reduce awkward silences and encourage conversation? You're in luck! We're here to give you some simple suggestions for your next meeting.
What Are Ice Breakers?
An ice breaker is something that helps everyone involved in a meeting to feel more comfortable with one another.
In the workplace, ice breakers often used when new groups of people are coming together for the first time. They may also be used when a new supervisor or manager is appointed and wants to get to know everyone better.
Why Are Ice Breakers Necessary?
To some people, ice breakers might seem like pointless time-wasters. If you can set your inner Stanley Hudson aside for a few minutes, though, you’ll see that they do offer some benefits.
These moments of non-work related chatter help increase comfort in the workplace, and create a sense of familiarity among colleagues. Ice breakers give everyone a chance to relax a bit before a big meeting or brainstorming session, or relieve any tensions they may have.
Ice breakers are just one way to promote effective teamwork in the workplace.
What makes a good ice breaker?
Here are some tips to help make sure your ice breaker doesn't become the laugh of the office. The checklist below should help you to narrow it down and ensure success:
- Be interactive
- Be engaging
- Be simple
- Be memorable
- Be fun
If you can meet the above criteria, your chances of full team engagement should grow with every meeting!
Types of Team Meeting Ice Breakers
Let's break it down into 2 main categories: Questions and Activities.
The idea of ice breaker questions is fairly self-explanatory. For your team to get to know each other better, here are some ideas for questions you can ask them:
- If you were to ever write a book, what kind of book would it be?
- What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done for fun?
- Where is your dream travel destination?
- If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Beyond asking questions, you can also use ice breaker games and activities to ease into a meeting.
When it comes to ice breaker games and activities, the goal is to make them simple and straightforward. No one wants to sit through 20 minutes of instructions when they’ve got work waiting for them back at their desks.
Here are 3 examples of ice breaker activities for you and your team:
1. Show and Tell – yes it's fun for adults too
Show and tell isn’t just for elementary school kids. This is a fun ice breaker that gives your team members a chance to show something that’s important to them.
Ask each person to grab an item from their desk and bring it into the conference room. Then, give them a couple of minutes to explain what it is and why it matters.
2. Candy Game – a sugar rush pick me up
For this game, all you’ll need is a bowl of multicolored candy.
Before the meeting, sit down and write down a question that corresponds to each wrapper color. For example, the color red could correspond to the question “What's at the top of your bucket list?”
At the beginning of the meeting, pass the bowl around and ask everyone to take a few candies (emphasize that if they eat it, they should keep the wrapper). Then, have them answer the questions that correspond to the color or colors they’ve chosen.
3. Paper Airplane Game – since we all miss traveling
The paper airplane game is another engaging option (although, there’s no candy involved).
Grab some paper from the printer and pass one sheet out to each team member. Then, have them write a fun fact about themselves on the paper before folding the sheet into an airplane.
Have everyone throw their airplanes at the same time. Then, ask everyone to retrieve an airplane (not their own) so they can read the fact out loud and try to guess who it applies to.
Virtual Team Building Ideas
Those team meeting ice breakers are great for when you’re meeting in person. What if you and your employees are still working remotely, though?
If this is the case, there are also plenty of fun (not cheesy 🧀) ways to blow off some steam and build team unity virtually, including the following:
- Try a virtual escape room
- Virtual gaming sessions
- Virtual painting or drawing parties
- Personality tests
- Quizzes and trivia games
Try these ice breakers for team meetings today!
Team meeting ice breakers don’t have to be cheesy, and they definitely don’t need to involve a lot of prep work or equipment.
Keep the ice breaker questions and activities listed above in mind so you can start your meetings off on the right foot!
We have a great blog post with 30 tips to ensure effective team meetings in 2021 – ice breakers are only the jumping off point…and now you're ready to dive in!