Meetings. Ugh. Am I Right?
If you think this way about work meetings, chances are others do, such as the team members you’ve called together to discuss a vital aspect of the project you’re all working on. Instead of dismissing them, you could try some ice breakers for work meetings to make them more fun and productive. Icebreaker activities are also a great team-building exercise for traditional and remote teams.
Preparing your in-person or virtual meetings and adding icebreaker games it’s a process, of course, so let’s start at the beginning. Drop drab intros like, “You’ve probably wondered why I’ve gathered you here today.” Yawn. Just like a speech gets attention by opening with an icebreaker question or joke, a team meeting needs to open in such a fashion that it creates a team bonding environment. So, what are some icebreakers for meetings? They should be collaborative. You can even use team collaboration tools to help elicit ideas from the team members.
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30 Best Icebreaker Games to Make your Meetings Fun
Here are some fun meeting icebreaker ideas. Try them, and let us know what you think. If you have techniques that you’ve used, share them with us. Together we can use icebreaker games and team-building activities to make meetings less heinous!
Best Team Building Ice Breakers
Getting a team to work together means building that team. Ice breakers do just that, break that ice that freezes teams in a rigid way. Using these games will help to melt that ice and build the bonds that all well-performing teams have developed.
1. One Word Game
What’s the one word you’d use to describe yourself? Everyone picks one and then they’re referred to by that name throughout the meeting. It’s more than a silly way to start the meeting; it helps you learn about the personality traits of your team members and lets everyone get to know one another a bit better. The best part of this icebreaker game it’s that it’s great for virtual meetings and remote teams.
2. Personality Quiz
This one it’s a great team-building activity that works great for small teams. Simply grab or create a personality quiz and hand it to your team members. Once they fill them out, ask each of them whether they agree with the results or not and ask them a couple of icebreaker questions. This is a great conversation starter and a great way to know your team members’ personality traits.
3. Two Truths and One Lie
This is an easy and fun icebreaker game to get everyone putting down their guard, which allows for teams to work better together. Each person states three facts, two truths and one lie. They can be personal facts, historical facts or anything really. Now the others have to guess which is the untruth.
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4. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a great team-building activity for new hires because it lets them get familiarized with the office. A surprise scavenger hunt is a great icebreaker game to get everybody to know each other and collaborate. Once the scavenger hunt is finished, everybody can have a productive meeting.
5. The End…
Write a fragment of a sentence on a whiteboard or a piece of paper or just say it aloud to the group. Now ask them to complete it. You can take this in any number of directions, from a project-related sentence to a morale-related one or just something in a Mad Libs manner.
6. Share the Love
In the heat of work it’s easy to forget that you’re a group of people and not automatrons on deadline. Yes, there’s a part of you that must be dispassionate and devote oneself to the whole, but ignoring the individual and their emotional needs will come back to haunt you and your productivity. Share the love remedies that by having everyone on the team say something nice about another person on the team. Keep it respectful and in good taste and you’ll watch the smiles rise over the faces of everyone on the team.
Best Ice Breaker Games for Work Meetings
Games are great ice breakers. They’re fun and build team work, if you choose the right games. These games are fun and facilitate the collaboration that your team will need in order to work well together and stay productive.
Related: 10 Super Fun Team Bonding Games
7. The Marshmallow Game
This icebreaker game was first introduced by Tom Wujec in a TED talk. It’s great for team bonding because it requires people to work together to build a structure using 20 spaghetti sticks, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and a marshmallow in 18 minutes. There’s one rule, the marshmallow must be on top.
8. Paper Airplane Game
This is one of those icebreaker games that work only for in-person meetings. Here’s how it works. First, pass colored paper sheets to your team members and ask them to write an interesting fact about themselves. Then ask them to make a paper airplane. Once they’re ready, each team member will throw his paper airplane to the other side of the room. Then pick the paper airplanes, read them out loud and have them guess whose paper airplane it is.
9. Exquisite Corpse
This is an icebreaker game that was created by the Surrealists in which you divide a piece of paper in three, and then three people must draw the head, torso and legs, respectively, without seeing what the person before them drew. Inevitably, the final drawing is a hoot. So, break the group up into threes and have them get drawings as you set up the meeting. Who cares if they draw well or not? The worse they draw, the more hilarious the outcome.
10. Hot & Cold
Hide something in the room, maybe some money or the meeting agenda or something random, then have the team try and work together to discover it. You only can respond by saying they’re hot or cold when they search. Depending on how big your meeting room is, this might be an absurd assignment, but that just makes it a better ice breaker.
11. The Squid Game
The Netflix hit from Korea, The Squid Game, is the opposite of an ice breaker, it’s a depressing illustration of “every man for himself.” But the premise is built on playing a bunch of children’s games. When you’re a child, playing an icebreaker game in the mud with a stranger ends with you both best friends. Using the popular show as a starting point, ask the group to come up with things they played in childhood. Whatever games, from blind man’s bluff to dodge ball, doesn’t matter. You’ll find at the end of the team-building exercise that everyone is laughing and happily working together.
12. Stand Up
Remove the chairs from the room in which you’re meeting and tell everyone that it’s a standup meeting. Not only is there evidence that standup meetings are more efficient, but you’re likely to have a faster and more productive meeting because people will get tired of standing around.
Let’s wrap this up with one of the classic ice breakers, charades. You’ve undoubtedly played this as a kid or maybe at a party. It’s fun and easy—no equipment needed. If you’re unfamiliar, charades is where one person thinks of a word or phrase (you can narrow the choices to movie, song or book titles, animals, etc.) and then has to get the others to guess the word or phrase by acting it out, without speaking. There’s a reason this game is a classic. It’s a great way to loosen the tie (if people still wear ties!) and make a bunch of individuals into a team.
14. Red Light, Green Light
You probably remember playing this game as a child. That speaks to its simplicity, longevity and how much fun it is. As in the old schoolyard game, everyone lines up on one side of the room and a designated leader will shout out green light, which means everyone moves forward, or red light, which means they have to stop. If you keep moving after the leader says red light, you’re out. There’s not much to this game, but then the most fun is usually had with the least complexity. Watch as your team immediately loosens up.
Best Ice Breakers for Virtual Meetings
One of the biggest concerns as teams move to work remotely is accountability. Will they be as productive apart as they can be together under the watchful eye of their supervisor or manager? The answer is yes, but only if you keep them connected virtually and use that digital platform to strengthen the ties that may not be visible but can stretch over time zones.
15. No Smiling
This icebreaker game will make your team members laugh and it works for in-person or virtual meetings. Tell everyone in a very serious tone that you will not tolerate any smiling. Then tell a joke. See if people can keep a straight face. You might not be a comedian, but it’s harder than you think not to laugh. Chances are that within five minutes everyone will be laughing their faces off. That’s exactly what good icebreaker games do. It’s a great way to start a team meeting, and you’ll find it a more effective one because of it.
16. Make a Portrait
Again, this icebreaker game has nothing to do with being artistic, but you can just have team members turn to whoever is sitting next to them and then have each draw a portrait of the other. People are not going to be especially happy with the results (no one’s likely to frame these pictures), but they’ll be playful, which is a great atmosphere to start a meeting. This icebreaker game can also work for remote teams.
17. 10 Things We Have In Common
If you’re trying to bond an organization with many disparate departments or remote teams that mostly interact by email or text, get them all together and direct them to discuss among themselves what they have in common. Have the goal for the group be listing 10 things they share. You might find weird commonalities among the group, which is fun, but the real objective is to bring people together. This ice breaker quickly melts the hard exterior of unfamiliarity and builds partnership.
18. Use PM Software for Virtual Teams
You can take the collaborative features of your project management tool, like ProjectManager, to get the team working together on fun ways to start a meeting with remote teams. Have them create a chatroom where they can discuss the meeting to come. You might even send them an agenda, so they are thinking about what the meeting will be about. Then they have ownership of the ice breaker and buy-in to the whole meeting.
19. Guess That Drawing
Being able to draw well might help in this meeting icebreaker, but it’s not required. In fact, the game is more fun when you can’t even draw a straight line. The idea is that one team draws a word and the other tries to guess it. Use a tool like Drawarsaurus, which will ask you to enter a nickname, create a room and save it as private by creating a password. Then share the link with the virtual team and once everyone has designated themselves as ready to play, you’ll begin. Whoever guesses the word being illustrated fastest wins. It’s a great way to quickly bond distributed teams.
20. Themed Meetings
It’s a silly idea, but don’t dismiss it as trivial. It’s great for holidays, but can be used anytime to lighten the mood before getting into work. You can dress up as your favorite summertime character or in a Halloween costume, depending on the season. You can also just decide that everyone wears a mustache. Whatever theme you pick, make sure it’s in good taste and communicate the theme to everyone prior to the meeting. You don’t want to make anyone feel left out. That defeats the purpose of the meeting icebreaker. This can be done for virtual meetings, but also for when you’re all together in one room.
Meeting ice breakers are important to build teams, but even the most cohesive group needs the right tools to get their work done. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track their work in real time. Our multiple project views, including Gantt charts, kanban boards and task lists, all have task cards that facilitate collaboration with real-time commenting, easy file sharing and much more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
Best Ice Breaker Questions for Work Meetings
An ice breaker doesn’t have to be a game. In fact, some of the easiest and most rewarding are simply a well-asked question. This helps personalize the people on your team. You can learn things about them that you would never find out from just working together. The more team members know each other and can relate to each other, the better they’ll work together and the higher their morale–and that leads to greater productivity.
What’s Your Favorite Year?
As the meeting settles, get people focused by asking what their favorite year is and why. Not only is this interesting, but it is a team bonding activity that provides an avenue for people to know each other in a more intimate way.
What Annoys You?
Ask each person to reveal the personality trait that is most irritating to them. It’s good for a laugh, though you might fear it could make for a disharmonious team. You’d be surprised, what appears might help you resolve conflicts before they occur.
What Kind of Car?
If your workplace was a car, what kind would it be? Or you could tweak that too if you were a car, or if your coworkers were cars, etc. You’re probably seeing how these icebreaker questions are almost a stealthy way to analyze your team and work environment.
What’s Your Theme Song?
Music is a great conversation starter and a great team bonding tool. For this icebreaker activity, ask the team to imagine they’re in a movie. What song would play when they walk into a scene? Would it be a rousing number like in Rocky or maybe something more somber? You can use that information throughout the project to, say, play music when a milestone has been completed.
Related: Staff Meeting Ideas: 7 Creative Tactics That Your Team Will Love
Who Are You?
Hand out blank paper and ask each person to write or draw a short description of themselves. Then put all the papers face down in the middle of the table and go through them, trying to figure out who belongs to which description. You can do this yourself, which gives the team a chance to further bond as they work together to help you out.
Everyone loves candy. Admit it! So, why not get a bag of M&M’s and pass them out. Whatever color the person gets means that they have to answer a specific question about themselves. You can have some fun figuring out what the questions are. This is one of those icebreaker games that are great conversation starters.
What Do You Do to Destress?
Stress is a normal part of one’s personal and professional life. Being able to successfully deal with your stress will make you happier and a better worker. That’s why asking the team what they do to destress is a great meeting icebreaker. It not only addresses that work can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day, but it exposes everyone to many different ways to deal with stress–some of which they may never have thought of on their own. This connects the team, educates them and takes stress out of the shadows where it can do the most harm to one’s personality and productivity.
How ProjectManager Gets the Most Out of Teams
Once the ice is broken and the team is formed, the real work begins. ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps teams work better together. They can plan projects, schedule work and collaborate on tasks. Plus, with unlimited file storage, they can upload as many documents and images as they need to get the work done.
Projects can be created by simply uploading a task list. Once started, teams love the multiple project views, such as kanban boards that visualize workflows and keep teams focused on the tasks at hand. Kanban boards also give managers visibility into the process, so they know who is working on what. Celebrate victories with ProjectManager and its online project management software.
Foster real teamwork with the right tools. ProjectManager is a cloud-based software that takes teamwork to new heights, whether people work in-house or remotely. See how ProjectManager can improve everyone’s productivity by taking this free 30-day trial.