How to Break Ice. Top 10 Activities

By Susan M. Heathfield

Are you interested in trying out some of my best ice breaker activities? These top ten ice breaker activities are not just popular in meetings, training classes, and team building events, they are the most popular with the Human Resources section’s readers. Try these top ten ice breaker activities out in your own workplace. They’ll make your participants comfortable talking and at ease with the other attendees.
Get your participants off to a good start by using these ice breaker activities in your workplace.
Even in your regularly scheduled, weekly meetings, a brief ice breaker makes a difference in the resulting employee conversations. Use these sample ice breakers to build strong, effective teams of employees.
Instructions and suggestions for how to make the most of these ice breaker activities are included with each ice breaker.

Top 10 Ice Breaker Activities

1.My Favorite Team Building Ice Breaker: Find 10 Things in Common
In this ice breaker, you find ten things that you have in common with the other participants in your group. You start by telling them that simple cop-outs such as body parts are not allowed. Find out how to lead this fun ice breaker.

2. Meet and Greet Meeting Ice Breakers
Looking for simple, fun ways to have your meeting participants become comfortable greeting each other? Here are two to try that require a bit of advance preparation, but they’re fun. (And, the advanced preparation really isn’t too bad.)

3. The Best One Word Ice Breaker
This is becoming a new favorite ice breaker. After using it for a couple of years, it works well in every meeting, training, and team building session on any topic. In a team building session on the topic of conflict resolution, participants were asked to start out the session by saying what they think of when they think of conflict. In a second example, in a session on culture, the participants were asked to describe their current culture in one word. Why not try it out? It’s definitely fun for participants.

4. The Five of Anything Ice Breaker
You can use any number for this fun ice breaker that quickly allows participants to share interests. Make the interests germane to your session or let your participants learn more about each other. This ice breaker is easily customized to your meeting’s needs.

5. Fun and Funny Ice Breakers
Want to laugh with participants as you break the ice at the beginning of a training class, team building session, or a meeting? These ice breakers are fun and funny and while they may not introduce the topic of the meeting, they have their own place in the world of warming people up to hold discussions in meetings.

6. Speed Meeting Ice Breaker
Have you ever attended a speed dating session? They were quite the rage for awhile. This ice breaker was modeled on the concept of speed dating. It lets you meet a large number of meeting participants in just a short amount of time. It’s fun and gets your participants moving physically around the room for an added warm-up advantage. Check it out.

7. Your Favorites—An Ice Breaker
From pets to food to flowers, everyone has favorites. That’s what makes this ice breaker so much fun. Participants can’t get it wrong. It embarrasses no one and the participants don’t have to disclose deep, dark secrets. It’s fun to hear the answers from your colleagues when they list their favorites. The key is to keep it light so participants are comfortable sharing. Stay away from topics such as religion and politics to succeed every time using this ice breaker. See how.

8. Ice Breakers for Meetings at Work: Energizing Questions
Need an ice breaker that encourages reflection and sharing? These thoughtful questions warm up your meeting while allowing participants to share something that is important to them. Here are many examples of questions you might like to use. They’re easy to customize for your meetings. They are easy to choose from depending on the mood you’d like to foster in your meeting, training, or team building session.

9. Three Shining Work Moments Ice Breaker
Originally developed to lead a session on team building with police officers—think of unsmiling, expressionless cop faces—to understand the importance of this type of activity that was scheduled right before the cocktail hour. This ice breaker/team building activity worked so well, that it has been used over and over with different groups. This ice breaker enables participants to reflect on their years of work (or years of college) and pick three moments to share with their small group of teammates. These are the shining moments that people remember when the stars and sun seemed to align and they produced their best work, their finest moments, and their career successes. You won’t hear a pin drop while participants think of the three moments to share. Here’s how to lead this meeting.

Your Personal Best: A Magical Team Building Activity
In this ice breaker, you ask the participants to think back over their careers and identify a moment when everything that is great about themselves was operating in high gear. They’re asked to share that moment in a small group. The secret is that it is probably the first thought that came to their mind when they heard the instructions. You’ll never find any participant who doesn’t have a moment to share. See more of this ice breaker that allows people to share their personal best.