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What Are Ice Breaker Activities?

Ice breakers are short games or activities undertaken at the beginning of a training session, meeting, class or team building session. The aim of them is to literally ‘break the ice’ by helping attendees to get to know each other, relax and feel comfortable talking and sharing ideas.

Types of Ice Breakers

Depending on your aim, there are a few different types of icebreakers you can use. We’ve listed a few below:

  • Ice Breakers to Make People Feel Comfortable

Ice breaker activities are a great way to have a bit of fun and make introductions a little less formal. They can also be used to spark conversation and encourage team members to share ideas.

An example of an icebreaker like this would be to invite participants to share 1 fact about themselves alongside 2 lies. The job of the other group members then would be to identify the facts from the lies, prompting conversation, discovery and perhaps a little bit of laughter.

In this kind of situation, ice breakers needn’t be serious or intimidating. If your aim is to get people to loosen up, keep your activity as fun and as light-hearted as possible to help draw participants out of their shell.

  • Ice breakers To Introduce A Topic

Ice breaker activities can also be used to introduce a topic to a meeting or session. While it can still be lighthearted, the aim is to ultimately get people’s brains firing and open the topic for discussion.

For example, in a team-building session, you may ask all team members at the beginning of the session to share, or write down, what they think makes a good team. At the end of the session, these can all be pulled together and added to reinforce learning and key takeaways.

  • Ice breakers for Meetings

Ice breaker activities can also be used in meetings to spark collaboration and cooperation. For example, if a group is meeting to discuss a project or task, they may start the session by writing a list of all their current priorities which are then shared with each other for a deeper understanding of workloads and processes.

  • Why should you use ice breakers?

While ice breakers aren’t necessary, they are effective. Not only do they break the ice by helping to facilitate introductions, they also support the leader of a session or meeting to engage a group in the chosen topics.

Ice breaker activities can also help to break down barriers – this is particularly helpful if you have a group of participants with different job titles or at varying levels of seniority. Ice breakers can also be used to:

  • Stimulate conversation
  • Encourage creativity and innovation
  • Unite teams
  • Generate ideas

 

  • When should you use ice breaker activities?

Ice breaker activities can be deployed in a variety of ways. You can use them at the beginning of a session to ‘warm up’ the room or as a way of transitioning between topics. You can also use them to reinforce learning in many situations, or just to break up a session, particularly if the subject matter is quite heavy.

The main aim of an ice breaker activity is to make people feel comfortable and promote openness within a group. So, when you’re planning a training session or meeting, you should feel free to add an ice breaker activity in at any point you may want to introduce a new topic, get everyone talking or even re-engage the group after their lunch break!