When it comes to meetings, everyone knows that it can be a bit of a struggle to get things started. Meetings can be a source of anxiety, especially if you are unfamiliar with the people in the room. Therefore, it is important to have a few icebreakers ready to help put everyone at ease.
We’ve organized our ice breakers into different categories, so you can easily choose the ice breakers that will work for your next meeting:
- Quick Icebreaker Games
- Icebreaker Games for Virtual Meetings
- Icebreakers for Small Groups
- Icebreakers for Large Groups
- Icebreakers to Spark Conversation
- Icebreakers for Creative Thinking
Table of Contents
What is the Purpose of Ice Breaker Games?
Meeting icebreakers often get a bad reputation for being cheesy or awkward, but they can play a fundamental role in helping team members bond and improving company culture.
Icebreakers help to create a sociable atmosphere in the workplace, relaxing any tension or worries that team members may have about working with their colleagues. Icebreakers encourage team bonding, boost creative thinking, and help to make meetings fun.
An icebreaker game does not need to be long or difficult, and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best ice breakers, including quick ice breakers that will easily dissolve any social awkwardness in the workplace.
Quick Icebreaker Games
Quick icebreakers should be fun and low stakes, and be easy enough so that everyone can get involved. If you have a short meeting or need a simple icebreaker to get new team members to know each other better, then these quick ice breaker games are ideal.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors
Everyone plays rock, paper, scissors against another person in the group. The winner moves on to the next round, and so on, until there is only one winner left. This game might feel a little silly to play, but that’s all the fun of an icebreaker, allowing each team member to relax into the meeting and feel at ease.
- The Name Game
The first person to start the game says their name and the second person repeats it and then says their name. The third person repeats the first two names and adds their own name. The game continues until the last person repeats everyone’s name.
A variation of this is to have everyone add an adjective to their name, beginning with the first letter of their name, and everyone must repeat the names and adjectives together.
- Word Association
One person says a word, and the next person must say a word that is associated with it in some way. This continues around the group until everyone has had a turn.
- Building Towers
Divide the group into teams and give them materials like tape, paper, and straws. The goal is to build the tallest tower using only the materials provided.
- The ABC game
Starting with the letter ‘A,’ each person shares something they like that starts with the following letter. This is a quick and easy way for everyone to get to know something about every team member with minimal preparation required.
- Share a Goal
Each person shares a personal or professional goal they want to achieve and why it matters to them.
- The One-Word Ice Breaker
Everyone chooses one word that describes their mood, day, or a goal they have for the meeting.
- Fun Facts
Each team member shares an interesting fact about themselves that is not related to work.
Icebreaker Games for Virtual Meetings
Many companies have moved to remote or hybrid working, so virtual meetings are a regular event. You’ll need some virtual icebreakers to adapt to this modern working environment, so we’ve listed the best ice breaker games to motivate and encourage remote teams from home.
- Virtual Trivia
Use a website like Kahoot to play trivia remotely with your team. There are many quizzes available already, or you can create your own. General knowledge quizzes are often a good place to start if your meeting involves a new team.
- Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Have everyone find something in their home that they can show on camera, such as a favorite book or piece of art.
- Screen Sharing Show and Tell
Let each person take a turn sharing their screen and showing something interesting or a project they are working on.
- Speed Networking
Set a timer for a few minutes and have each person take turns meeting with someone else in the group via a breakout room, to chat for a bit about their interests.
- Rapid-Fire Questions
Ask everyone to shout out their favorite food, drink, music genre, hobby, a place they have traveled to, etc.
Ice Breakers for Small Groups
Not every meeting icebreaker will work for a small group. That’s why we’ve specifically compiled fun icebreaker games designed to get small groups talking and working together.
14. Balloon Pop
Have each team member write a thought-provoking question on a slip of paper and put them in balloons. Divide the group into teams and have them race to pop the balloons and answer the questions.
One person will stand at the front of the room and silently act out a famous TV show, movie or book, but you can include other categories, too. The first person to guess the correct answer gets to perform next. This game always gets people laughing and works great for a smaller group.
16. Shared Drawing
Pass around a drawing sheet, and have each person add an element to the drawing until it is complete. Not only does this game encourage creativity, but it’s a great icebreaker for everyone in a small group to get involved with, as it requires less pressure to talk if some team members are more reluctant to share information about themselves.
Ice Breakers for Large Groups
If you have a large team in your workplace, you’ll need some fun icebreaker activities that are engaging for everyone, whilst also encouraging team building and conversation. Take a look at our choice of the best icebreaker games for large groups to help make your next team meeting an especially fun one.
- Human Knot
Everyone stands in a circle and holds hands with two other people in the group. The goal is to untangle the knot without letting go of anyone’s hand. This game promotes communication and teamwork and is an excellent team-building exercise.
Create bingo cards with interesting facts about people in the group. This could include things like “Has a pet dog” or “Has traveled to Europe.” This encourages everyone to talk to other team members and find out fun facts about everyone. The first person to get four facts in a row wins.
- Art Projects
Whether it’s painting or drawing, working on an art project together can help people relax and open up. These projects can be completed over a series of meetings, encouraging team members to continually work together on a shared goal. They can then present their art projects to other colleagues after an allotted time.
Divide the group into teams and have one person draw a word or phrase while the others try to guess what it is.
- Personal Scavenger Hunt
Have everyone find someone in the group who has something in common with them. They must fill in a sheet with the person’s name and what they have in common.
- Four Corners
Divide the group into four sections, and have each section stand in a different corner. Ask a series of yes or no questions until the group is split into smaller sections based on their answers.
- The Matching Game
Divide the group into pairs and give them 30 seconds to find something in common. Then have pairs pair up to form groups of four and do it again.
- Team Trivia
Divide participants into teams and have a quiz or trivia game related to the meeting’s topic or general knowledge. Of all the team-building icebreakers, trivia always works well to bond colleagues together.
- Heads Up
Everyone writes a celebrity’s name on a piece of paper and attaches it to another person’s forehead. The goal is to guess the name on their forehead by asking yes or no questions.
- Group Juggle
Everyone stands in a circle and throws a ball to one another, calling out their name as they do. Once everyone has caught the ball once, the game speeds up, and more balls are added.
Icebreakers to Spark Conversation
The most successful icebreakers spark conversation and make for a productive weekly team meeting. Use these icebreakers in your team meetings to promote team bonding, encouraging team members to find common ground, improving the overall company culture in your workplace.
- Take a Stand
One team member makes a statement and has everyone stand if they agree with it. Then have the group discuss the statement and share their thoughts.
- Speed Dating
Participants pair up and have a limited time to get to know each other before switching partners.
- Personality Test Discussion
Choose a popular personality test, such as Myers-Briggs or DISC, and have participants discuss their results and how they relate to their work.
- Would You Rather?
Pose a series of “Would you rather” scenarios and allow participants to discuss and debate their choices.
- Two Truths and A Lie
This classic game gets everyone talking and easily helps every one to get to know each other. Each person in the group takes turns sharing three statements about themselves. Two are true, and one is a lie. The other people in the group must guess which statement is the lie.
- Bucket List Accomplishments
Each person shares one achievement or experience they are proud of crossing off their bucket list.
- Music Association
Participants take turns sharing a song and explaining what memories or emotions it evokes for them.
- Personal Artifacts Show and Tell
Each person brings an object that represents something meaningful to them and shares the story behind it.
- Desert Island Game
Participants share the one item they would bring to a deserted island and explain their reasoning.
- Circle of Truth
Everyone sits in a circle and takes turns sharing something true about themselves that nobody else in the group knows.
- Book Club
Everyone shares their favorite book and why they recommend it to others. This works well as a weekly meeting icebreaker, and you could even nominate a different team member each week to share their favorite book.
- Photography Contest
Participants share a photo they’ve taken and explain its significance or the story behind it.
- Superpower Discussion
Participants share what superpower they would choose and how they would use it in their work or personal life.
- Guess Who
Participants write down unique or interesting facts about themselves, and teammates guess who matches each fact.
- Icebreaker Questions
Have a list of random questions to spark conversations, such as “What hobby would you pursue if time and money were no obstacle?”
- Two-Minute Vacation
Participants take turns describing their dream vacation in detail.
- Funny Anecdotes
Everyone shares a funny or embarrassing story from their life.
- Movie Title Guessing
Each person writes down two true statements and one false statement about a movie they’ve seen, and the group guesses which statement is false.
- Describe Your Dream Job
This ice breaker is a great way for colleagues to share their ideal job, even if it’s wildly different to their current career. This conversation starter can even help to improve current working culture, as every one discusses what they would like from a workplace.
Icebreakers for Creative Thinking
A good icebreaker helps to get the creative juices flowing, so we’ve listed ice breaker activities to help improve creativity in the workplace. Colleagues who are given the space to express their creativity are likely to be more productive throughout their workday, and you can use these icebreakers to give your colleagues the opportunity to show their creative side.
- Mindfulness Exercise
Lead a short mindfulness or meditation activity to help everyone relax and focus before the meeting. Promoting mindfulness in the workplace is a great way to help employees focus on their mental health throughout their busy working days, and can lead to more productivity and a successful meeting overall.
- Collaborative Story Writing
The group writes a story together, with each person adding a few sentences at a time. This is a fun icebreaker game that typically ends in laughter. It’s a great way to see how creative everyone can be and each team member has a chance to get involved.
- Mind Mapping
Have everyone brainstorm ideas on a specific topic and then create a mind map to help organize the information.
- Mindful Coloring
Provide coloring books and markers, and encourage everyone to color quietly for a few minutes as a relaxation technique.
- Journal Writing
Take a few minutes for everyone to write down their thoughts on a specific topic, such as the purpose of the meeting.
Encourage Team Members with Our Fun Icebreakers
Breaking the ice at meetings may seem like a small thing, but it can have a big impact on the success of the meeting. By using icebreakers, you can help to create a comfortable and productive environment, where everyone feels welcome to share their ideas and opinions.
Whether you use questions, games or activities, the goal is to create a sense of unity and teamwork that can carry over into the rest of the meeting. So try one of these ice breaker games in your next meeting to help break the ice!
Eleanor is a qualified English teacher and has received a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), specializing in Secondary English, and holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Liverpool John Moores University. She is certified to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) and has worked with students in the U.K. and South East Asia. She currently works as an English teacher in Vietnam, teaching students across a range of ages.