What are Icebreakers
In order to boost the productivity of the team, it is necessary for team members to be comfortable with each other. Icebreakers and energizers help the team to overcome the initial hesitation and boost confidence levels in people to express their thoughts clearly. They are meant to ease the tension and discomfort between members, and initiate the process of brainstorming.
You may have come across numerous activities and ideas. But, not all activities are feasible as you may have difficulties like lack of space, or low level of comfort among the team, etc. If it is an informal meeting, you can definitely go for casual and fun icebreaker activities. But, the ideas and activities have to be chosen and planned carefully.
Here is a simple activity to group people in a team of two or more. What you can do is, write numbers on a piece of paper (same number twice), and ask people to pick up one paper. Those who have picked up the same number should be seated together. You can make this a fun-filled activity by replacing a specific type of candy, color cards, etc., instead of numbers. Now, you can carry out other activities having sets of 2 or 3 people together.
Rather than using the regular or formal method of introduction, you can come up with novel activities and ideas. You can ask each person to introduce himself/herself along with an adjective that describes them accurately. They will also have to give a suitable reason or an experience to justify their answer. For e.g., jolly Jane or friendly Fred, and so on. This is also one of the most popular icebreakers for meetings; and can be used for informal as well as formal meetings.
Now, this activity if for a large crowd. If you have enough space for people to move around, you can undertake the following activity. Ask people to move around and get introduced to as many people as possible. You should allot specific time, say like 2 minutes. Each person should get introduced to maximum number of persons, and should also remember their names, designation, etc. When the time is up, ask each person to name the people he/she has come across. It will be fun to see how many people can recall names and information perfectly!
Another activity used in order to initiate the flow of ideas in a group is to assign a simple topic and ask each group to mention the advantages or merits of the issue. You can start with a simple, non-work related topic and gradually turn to work related ones. For e.g., begin with cell phones and later you can turn to video conferencing or outsourcing, etc., or any other topic related to your work. This way you can break the ice and make people speak more confidently.
For this activity, you need to group more than 4 people together. Now, in the next 3 minutes, people in a single group should discuss and jot down at least 10 things they have in common. The things (like school, home city, favorite cuisine, favorite sport etc.; anything except topics related to work) should be common among all individuals in the group. This way, people will get to know each other soon and will also bond faster due to their similar preferences.
You can write icebreaker questions on pieces of paper and shuffle them. Each person should pick up a piece of paper and answer the question in it. The following are a few questions that will be helpful to you.
- Who is the famous person you would have loved to be born as?
- What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
- If you ever meet God, what would you ask for?
- Describe yourself in two words.
- What is your idea of fun?
- Who is the most influential person in the world today?
- Who is your favorite author/celebrity
- Food for soul or music for soul? Why?
- What is your idea for de-stress?
- What makes you feel more secure?