12 Creative Icebreaker Ideas for Your Next Team Event
Look at you, meeting planner extraordinaire! You’ve booked a great venue for your team meeting via Peerspace, which lists unique event spaces that suit your company’s individual personality. If your team has recently added new members, host a team event so everyone can get to know each other. The best way to do that is to present the group with an icebreaker activity! There is no better way to get your team laughing and relaxed than a getting-to-know-you exercise. Try one of the following icebreaker ideas for your next team event.
1. A networking game similar to “speed dating”
Split the group in half. Seat them, facing each other. Players have one to three minutes each to talk about themselves. Test the environment of your office to narrow it down: they can give a pitch about their position in the company, a project they’re working on, or something they’d love to do.
It can also be personal: one to three minutes to talk about their hobbies, favorite vacation spots, or the best book they’ve ever read. When time is up, the other person gets three minutes. When that’s done, one side of the table stands up and shifts to the next person.
2. Social media
There are so many ways to implement social media in your icebreaker! Invite attendees to connect with each other on a particular platform — pick one — or to post with a unique hashtag. Have them post and use that hashtag throughout the day, as well as tag each other. It will build camaraderie and give the team a unique glimpse into their colleagues’ lives.
3. Arts and crafts
Have a poster contest, a steampunk hat-making workshop, paint wine glasses, or decorate sugar cookies. Cover the tables with butcher paper and leave colored pencils for attendees to doodle or create master works of art. Make art for art’s sake as a means by which to relax and take a break.
4. The board game Scattergories
If you can get your hands on the board game, terrific! Otherwise, create your own. Each player gets a pad of paper and a pen; the facilitator announces a letter and a category, and attendees have one to three minutes to list every word they can think of that starts with that letter, in that category. The real fun comes in when everyone lists their answers at the end. You may have to vote as to how far-reaching the answers can be to fit the category. At the end of it, you’ll all have great insight as to how each person’s mind works under pressure.
5. Find commonalities
It’s nice to make an unexpected personal connection. Attendees are given a list of their colleagues’ names and are asked to scramble the list. The goal is to find a single thing that they have in common with each member of the team. What questions they ask to reach that goal is up to them!
6. Jacks or marbles
Eye-hand coordination is one of the first things to go once we leave elementary school. Reclaim it with a throwback game! Jacks and marbles are cheap, easy, addictive games to play with multiple people. They’re just challenging enough to keep it from getting boring. If you do it right, the game will create a little bit of lighthearted rivalry.
7. Worst job/first job discussions
You’re offering this as an icebreaker because you know that their current job is the best they’ve ever had! Break the group into teams. Each member shares the horror stories of their worst job or a funny anecdote about their first job. The team votes on whose is the worst/funniest, then they present it to the group. It’s a great way to teach your team to appreciate how far they’ve come and reflect on every step of the journey.
8. Purse/briefcase dump
We all have things in our work bags that we intend to remove but never do! Throw out to the group the names of the most irrelevant items you can think of, then offer prizes to the most crowd-pleasing results. Does someone have a tape measure, a child’s toy, a wedding favor, or a wine key?
9. People bingo
Create bingo cards with spaces filled with a mix of business and personal — although not too personal — items. Then you can ask questions like who owns a pet, drinks a Diet Coke at work every day, has dozed off in a meeting before, enjoys camping, etc. Keep it light and fun!
10. A hypothetical desert island situation
You’re trapped on a desert island. What three things would you want to have with you, either for survival or entertainment? Answers will likely range between those who have hardcore, survivalist natures and others with a preference for a remote beach vacation.
11. “If” questions
This can be played with the whole group or in smaller groups. Start with a question: If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why? The question is answered by one person, then they ask another if-based question to the next person. As long as everyone has a chance to talk, it doesn’t matter if the topic branches off into other directions.
There may be more tech-friendly ways to play this game, but nothing beats a flip chart and a couple of markers. Break the group into two teams. Write topics — a noun, a saying, a well-known song lyric — on slips of paper and have each team leader choose at random. They have a finite amount of time to draw clues for their team to guess the topic. It’s frustrating and hilarious — there will be yelling and cheering — especially because very few people can draw well under pressure and with a thick marker!