A couple of weeks ago, my friend and fellow TEDxCanberra organiser, Gavin, asked me to suggest some icebreaker activities for an upcoming planning day he was helping to organise. This was my off-the-top-of-my-head response…
- One of the easy ones I like is to go around the room and ask everyone to share something interesting about their name. It’s easy and surprising how much you learn about others.
- For something more interactive, the marshmallow challenge is fun but takes time and some equipment.
- As a creativity warmup you could do the circles challenge (Tim Brown talks about it in his talk from the Serious Play conference on TED.com). You can read about the exercise and download the sheets with the printed cirlces here.
- DIY name-tags? Where they have to make a name tag that not only says their name but has an icon/picture on it that represents something (their role in the team, branch, organisation for example).
- Or a rock-paper-scissors tournament… this gets loud, but is lots of fun…. Everyone pairs up and plays a game of rock-paper-scissors (can be a single game or best of three). The winner progresses to the next round and plays another winner, while the loser becomes the biggest fan of whoever defeated them. They have to cheer and clap and rev up their winner. And so it continues on and on, until you have two people playing off against each other backed by two big teams of supporters.
- Everyone has to line up in order of birthday (1 Jan at one end to 31 Dec at the other) without talking. You could also do variants of this…. middle name by alpha order, length of service in the organisation….
- Another question that is kind of cool to ask is ‘If you were going to make a documentary, what would it be about?’. I’ve done planning days where I get people to write their documentary topic on another nametag and wear it for the day. That way it can continue to be used as an icebreaker throughout the day, during breaks etc.
What are your favourite icebreakers?
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