You know how it is – you’ve been asked to run a team-buildling event or a team meeting. And you know that you’re expected to come up with a fantastic ice-breaker to really kick the event off. But your mind has gone blank. You know you’ve taken part in them before, but nothing that you can remember. What do you do?
No need to panic any longer. We’ve selected our six favourite for you to use… and maybe even improve on? Let us know how it goes and if you’ve got any good ideas for icebreakers that you can share with us.
So, in no particular order, here is our Top 6 Ice-breakers list:
This one is all about using non-verbal communication skills as well as working together for the end result.
You provide the participants with semaphore flags (two short poles with square flags, usually yellow and red) and a piece of paper showing how to make each letter (all letters are made up by holding the flags separately in a specified position – this information is easy to find on the web).
You then provide them with a message that they have to relay to the rest of their team (who are positioned at a distance across the room). The ‘signalman’ can have an assistant to check that the coding is correct and to provide hints and tips or to pick up on any confusion that seems to be within the ‘receiving team’. However, they too are not permitted to speak to the others (only to the signalman).
Once the receiving team (who have also been given a ‘decoder sheet’ the same as the signalman) believes they have understood the message, they write it down and hold up the paper for confirmation. You usually end up with some very funny results!
WHO ARE YOU?
This is one of the simplest – and also needs very little preparation. Useful if you’re in an environment where the people coming together don’t know one another.
Simply get all the participants into a circle in the middle of the room (you too!) and come armed with a ball – tennis, football, beach ball – your choice. Then you throw the ball at someone in the circle whilst calling our ‘Hi I am xxx[insert your name]. Great to meet you.’ This continues around the circle (don’t allow them to pass to the person next to them, they have to throw it across the circle to someone they have never met). Once everyone’s done it once, you then get them to recall the name of someone in the circle and call out their name before tossing the ball. So ‘Hi Henry Jacks, pleased to meet you.’ The idea being that they are then able to recall one another’s name later on during the meeting. You can further this by including say job titles, company names or else a hobby / interest / an outcome they are looking for from the meeting.
Simply keep going until either you feel that everyone is well acquainted or you feel that the circle is beginning to loose interest.
Another simple one to organise – no preparation even needed!
You simply ask the participants to imagine that they’re stranded on a desert island, with no immediate sign of getting rescued. Other than their family, friends, pets or other loved ones, what three items (or you can change it to which three famous people – dead or alive!) would you like to have on the island with you. This usually sparks of additional conversations about people’s choices and what it says about them!
SCALEXTRIC… WITH A DIFFERENCE
Sounds too simple right? And what does racing small cars around a track have to do with team-building?
Well this time, there’s a twist. The ‘driver’ in each team has to wear a blindfold. Then it’s the responsibility of the others in his team to guide him so that he doesn’t fall off the track. Simple? Wait until you’ve tried it!
And then if you’re feeling really brave – and have a venue where it’s possible, not to mention the insurance you’d need (probably best at this point to call in the experts!) you could always give blindfolded 4-wheel driving a go?!
SHARE A SECRET
Also really simple to organise. This one usually works best if the group is made up of colleagues, but maybe not close colleagues or friends. But you can usually also get away with using it in a ‘strangers’ environment too. Again you often get some really funny responses.
Ask the group to think of something about themselves that no-one else in the room could know about them and share it with the group. Simple. You instantly get to know something about someone new and also it’s an opportunity to kick-start conversations when there is a shared interest / skill / something in common. You could equally take this one a step further – if you are working with a group of colleagues who know one another fairly well. Get them to write down their hidden talent on a piece of paper – put them all in a bucket and then you as the facilitator pick each one out in turn, read it out and the group has to guess who it is.
WHAT’S YOUR CLAIM TO FAME?
Quick, easy to organise and easy for participants to join in. Get the ball rolling by asking anyone to tell the group their claim to fame. This could be that Keith Chegwin is their uncle or maybe they’ve performed on BGT. Who knows – the possibilities are endless!
This one can also be carried out as above, with a group of people who know one another well – get them to write it on a piece of paper for you to read out and the rest of the group has to guess whose claim to fame it is!