We’ve all experienced it: those meetings with your colleagues and team members which get off to a shuffling, awkward start, and continue in such a manner which ends up wasting people’s time and discouraging ideas from coming forwards. It’s a classic mistake which all too many team leaders make; simply assuming that everyone has the confidence and level of comfort to begin sparking off each other straight off the bat. It’s one which can so easily be avoided simply by implementing some great team meeting ice breakers.
Ice breakers for team meetings don’t have to be lengthy, complicated, or involve anything other than the resources you have in any typical office… or even in your jacket pockets. In fact, most of the best team building ice breakers are those which can be implemented in a matter of seconds at the start of any get-together, and which get everybody opening up, sharing their thoughts, and bringing an essence of personality into the meeting.
At Eventwise, we’re always on the lookout for great ideas which involve team members coming together, and which allow for greater communication, a sense of fun, and opportunities for team building. Many of our most enjoyable and successful team building activities – such as Stop The Clock, Qube Challenge, and our Drumming Workshop – are based around similar principles put forward by extremely simple team meeting ice breakers. This week, we’re going to be looking at ten quick and easy ice breakers which can be stuck onto the start of any meeting, and which really are effective when it comes to getting communication flowing nicely. Check them out below!
1. Human Top Trumps
Let’s start with a nostalgic one, based on everyone’s favourite retro card trading game. This simple and effective ice breaker is all about sharing positive, funny, and interesting stories, and is a fantastic way for team members to express sides of their personality and individual histories. Especially popular with teams who aren’t very familiar with one another, it’s a quick and simple energiser which easily facilitates open communication.
How to do it:
Start off your next meeting by sitting everyone in a circle, and asking them to think up or note down one anecdote about themselves which is likely to impress, amaze, or surprise the other team members. When ready, the team members must get up on the stage (obviously, this doesn’t have to be a literal stage – you can use a ‘hot seat’ instead), where they will share their best story with the group. The group as a whole must then award a number of points to each story, and decide together on a winner.
2. Courting Controversy
Nothing gets conversation and creative juices flowing quite like a light-hearted argument over a ‘controversial’ issue. We’re not talking religion or politics here (who knows where that would end up?), rather slightly silly personal beliefs or opinions which can facilitate some rambunctious debate.
How to do it:
It couldn’t be simpler: just get each member of the team to share a belief or opinion that they hold, which might be deemed controversial or divisive among your group. Think ‘I love marmite’, ‘I hate going to the beach’, or ‘cats are better than dogs’, and you’ll get the idea. The group must then decide which ‘team’ they are on… are they cat people, or dog people? It’s always fascinating to see just how deep and passionate such opinions can be!
3. Icebreakers. Literally.
Great team meetings often come about as a result of facilitating something unexpected, out of the ordinary, or something the group may never have done before. How many people in your workplace will have had a go at carving ice? This fun, unusual, and dynamic icebreaker is a great way for your team to explore skills and communication, and use their observation abilities to the max.
How to do it:
In order to carry out this ice breaker, you’ll first need to get your hands on a pre-carved ice sculpture, or a block of ice which has been shaped in some way. In small groups, your team will have to try their best to recreate the carving with their own block of ice. To make things even more dynamic (and to bring a ‘generation game’ angle into it) you can set them against the clock. Can’t get hold of an ice sculpture? Try doing the same exercise with modelling clay instead!
4. Boom Whackers
This fun icebreaker is based around honing those listening skills, and encouraging the team to learn how to first work independently, then in small groups, and then to come together as a whole. Making sure that every team member is on the same page and able to see the bigger picture is a key skill for success, and this rather abstract team building icebreaker demonstrates that principle very nicely indeed!
How to do it:
Separate your team into small groups. They will be given a minute or two to learn a quick beat – either formed by clapping their hands, banging on tables, or using some percussion instruments if you have any available. The next part? The groups must come together as a whole, and allow their rhythms to join up in a harmonious, complex fashion. It’s music to our ears!
5. InterApptive Quiz
Using apps and tablets for energizers and team-building icebreakers is rarely a bad idea; they give small groups the chance to completely focus on the task at hand, and communication avenues are often easier to establish in smaller sub-groups within teams. This icebreaker is perfect for when you’re introducing new topics in your meeting, and want to get things started with some specific knowledge connected to it.
How to do it:
This icebreaker will need some preparation, as you’ll first have to upload questions relating to your business or the subject of your meetings into the app you’ll all be using. When ready, get your group to divide themselves into quiz teams (bonus points for the funniest team name, etc), and they then have to compete against each other by answering questions on their devices against the clock.
6. Lego Heads
Following instructions carefully, to the letter, and with an eye on the eventual goal is a really important skill for teams of any size or type to get their heads around. This icebreaker activity demonstrates the significance not only of instruction following but also of clear instruction giving; showing that both are equally important sides of the same coin. Plus, it involves Lego… and who doesn’t love playing with Lego?
How to do it:
Set up a partition of some sort in your office, and divide your team into groups of two. The two partners must work on either side of the partition, so they can hear – but not see – each other. One team member is given a formation made of Lego, which they must describe carefully (by explaining the basic shapes, colours, and Lego piece types of their construction) to the other team member behind the partition. The other partner’s job is to recreate the formation as closely as possible, by listening carefully to the instructions, and by asking the right questions. Set a time limit for 15 minutes, and you’ll see just how effective this exercise is!
7. Two Truths and a Lie?
This classic radio and TV game is fantastic for breaking the ice at team meetings. It’s perfect for getting people to reveal aspects of their lives, or experiences they’ve had which other team members may not have known, making it especially good for groups which have only just met for the first time.
How to do it:
It involves team members writing down two true facts about themselves, and one lie, and then being interrogated by the rest of the team as everyone tries to figure out what the porkie is among all the truths. The funnier and more outrageous the better!
8. Pop Quiz
If your meeting has been called to address a particular problem which needs to be solved, then any ice breakers which involve drawing upon the general knowledge, experiences, and brainpower of the team as a whole can really hit the right notes with ease. There are several icebreakers which do exactly this… but few are as instantly fun or enjoyable as a classic pop quiz!
How to do it:
Split the group into small teams of three, four, or five. Each team has a quiz sheet, and they must try and answer all of the questions in the shortest time possible.
9. Circus Skills
Being able to turn your hand to new skills or uncover talents you never knew you had is one of the best things one can achieve from an icebreaker. This fun and unusual activity involves pushing your team to try something new… and learn something they might never have expected from a day at the office!
How to do it:
Bring in some circus skills trainers to your team meeting, and allocated some time for your team members to learn how to spin plates, juggle a diablo, or walk on a tightrope! It’s sure to get everyone excited, and offer a real break from the norm!
Conferences often suffer from starting off in formulaic and (let’s face it) rather boring ways. Instead of forcing your delegates to sit through yet another unimaginative powerpoint presentation, or a lengthy opening speech, why not use some of the activities and icebreakers listed in this blog? They’ll get people on their feet, allow them to share some memorable moments, and open up the kind of communication channels which will encourage engagement and facilitate even more impactful networking.
Team Building Ice Breakers for Flowing, Insightful, and Buzzing Meetings
There are literally thousands of ideas for quality icebreakers out there, each of which have been designed to get people speaking, encourage everyone to feel comfortable sharing their ideas, and to get those inhibitions to disappear out of the window. The ten ideas outlined above should be enough to get you meetings going… but the real magic comes about when you tailor such ideas to the specific team you’re working with.
Here at Event Wise, we love nothing more than exploring different ways of getting teams to work more proactively together, and creating the kind of ‘lightbulb moments’ that really pay off when team members have to work alongside each other effectively, efficiently, and in an enjoyable manner. These icebreakers are just the beginning; we’ve got hundreds of incredible activities which take these concepts to a whole new level of excitement and fun on our website! If you’d like to find out more about what we do and why we’re considered the best in the industry when it comes to team building activities and away days, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, and tell you all about what we do best.