One of the most difficult parts of bringing a team together is often the start – getting everyone from strangers to familiar and comfortable with each other is a challenge in itself. Some people are extroverts and happy to take the lead in situations like these, but others will prefer to hang back – the aim is to get everyone on the same level. Everyone has their own way of socialising, so it’s important to offer ways to break the ice gently in a way that’s inclusive of everyone and not too commitment. Ice breaker activities are designed to be a little bit fun and silly, to create a friendly atmosphere without pressure. They should also encourage team members to actually learn and remember something about each other, so that going forward they can continue to build on this knowledge and make it easier to open conversations in future.
1. Find 10 Things In Common. Divide the team into smaller groups of four or five, and tell them they have to find 10 things they all have in common. This encourages a discussion of interests and hobbies, and assures that everyone is included and consulted at some point. It gives a foundation to build further communication between members, and you can ask them to take notes and share findings with the group to open this up to the entire team.
2. Did You Know? Bingo. Create a little bingo sheet with odd facts such as “has been to Japan” or “has never ridden a horse” – 5×5 wide, with the facts inside each box. Team members then need to go around the room and collect the signatures of those for whom the facts are true. This encourages everyone to speak and communicate, as well as work together to figure out who has had what experiences.
3. Two Truths And a Lie. With the group sitting in a circle, each person takes turns stating three facts about themselves. Two of them are true and one of them is a lie. The rest of the group can ask them questions about it, and discuss amongst themselves which one they think is the lie. The aim is for them to choose correctly, while the other person tries to deceive them. This encourages group discussion and problem solving, as well as letting them get to know the person who made the statements.
These icebreakers won’t just make people comfortable and more familiar in the short term – they’re designed to encourage continued conversation and getting to know each other better to build a strong and friendly team.