Select an Icebreaker for a Meeting or Training

An icebreaker is a short activity that sets the tone of an event. They encourage people to get to know each other and make people feel welcome. It’s a chance for people to release their nervousness and warm up the room for what comes next.

We need to be careful when we choose because we have all likely seen an icebreaker go bad. That can kill a meeting. Consider these ideas when you choose an icebreaker:

1 Respect people’s time

  • Use a quick icebreaker. 5 to 15 minutes depending upon the length of the event
  • Don’t use a 20 minute activity for a 3 hour training

2 Use content 

  • Blogging bingo where you meet others to complete your card
  • Introduce yourself as you match logos to companies at branding training

3 Consider your audience

  • Choose an activity where everyone feels safe
  • Don’t ask people to share really personal information
  • Don’t ask adults to be super silly in a business environment
  • Don’t embarrass anyone

4 Choose a simple activity

  • Test your instructions. You should be able to give the instructions to the group in 30 seconds. Ask someone else if they understand them
  • Test a new activity with a group of people you know. That way you see any challenges in time, space, tools, etc.

5 Engage everyone

  • Be sure everyone takes equal roles within an icebreaker activity
  • Don’t require any physical or emotional stress from people

6 Have fun

  • Start with an activity that gets people smiling
  • Get people moving, out of their chairs, and meeting new people

The internet is a great source for icebreakers. There are also wonderful books with ideas. Select the one that you think is right for your event, and then compare it to the checklist above. That way you can be sure to start your event with positive vibes.


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