Examples of Ice Breaker Activities

There are many examples of ice-breaking activities, both online and in books. This section provides a few examples of tried and tested methods for various purposes.

1. Human identity
Something simple. In pairs, introduce yourself to someone, say who you are and where you’re from. Chat a little to find something you have in common. Finally, introduce each other to the group, explaining what you have in common. This is good because it immediately starts laying the common ground.

Two are true and one is false. Each person has to make three statements about themselves, one of which is false. The group then has to decide which is false, discuss and then vote. This is good because it makes the group interact.

something unknown In pairs, introduce yourself to someone and chat a bit to find out a fact about that person that no one else in the room would know. Finally, introduce each other in the room, providing unknown information. This is especially good where some people already know each other, because it makes people think quite hard, which is always good.

2. Relationship development
ball of wool Helpers take one end of a ball of wool and introduce themselves. They then pass the ball of wool to someone else in the group, still holding the end, and say how they relate to that person (eg, ‘I’m sending this to X, who asked me to facilitate this event’). The next person should then introduce themselves, and pass the tip to someone else explaining their relationship (for example, ‘I’m passing this to Y, who I worked with a few years ago’ or ‘I’m passing this to Z, I hope that with me [things]’). Finally, there should be a ‘web’ of wool between the participants, showing how they relate to each other. This is good because it shows that the group is all interconnected, but works best when everyone at least knows about the other participants.

Hopes, Fears and Expectations. In small groups, participants should discuss their hopes, fears, and expectations of the event and/or the process for which the group has been brought together. They can be combined, or they can be left as a small-group activity. This helps ensure that you meet the group’s expectations for the event.

3. Introducing the subject
word cloud Place a word on a flipchart or board and ask participants to call out the words associated with that word Write them on the board, clustering by theme if appropriate You can also do this by giving participants post-it notes for their words. This makes it easier for them to group words themselves. This exercise is good because it shows the scope of the topic, and gives the group a chance to talk about clustering.

burning question Ask participants to call out questions they hope will be answered by the event. It may be best to do this after a small group discussion to ensure that one or two people do not ‘hog the limelight’. This helps ensure that the meeting meets expectations.

Turn it around. Use brainstorming techniques to turn your problem around and think about it differently. For example, if you’re there to talk about how to attract more customers, think about how to turn customers away. Again, this may be best done in small groups, but can be done together. It helps people talk and see things differently.

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