The highest performing teams I’ve worked with used to run, every once in a while, an icebreaker. Either before a meeting such as a retrospective, as part of celebrating a milestone, or when onboarding new members.
We put together, in this blog post, a few icebreakers we’ve used after getting positive feedback from teams in the past. Do you know any other good one? Please add in the comments section.
1) Collaborative face drawing
Hand paper and pen over to everyone. Tell them to write down their names on the paper. Then, play a song for a while and tell your coworkers to walk randomly around the office until you pause the music. When that happens, each person will pair with whoever is the closest and draw part of the other’s face (at the same time). If Joe is pairing with Mary, he’ll give her his sheet so she can draw, for instance, his eyes (that one is easy to start with), and vice versa. As a facilitator, give them some time (30 seconds, perhaps) and when it is over, ensure each person has their own “art” and then play the song again, and so on. At the end of the game, every member will have a drawing of their faces made collaboratively by the team. Yeah, things might be completely out of place, but whatever – that’s the fun!
2) A or B
As a facilitator, ask your coworkers random questions, always giving them only two options. Whoever chose option “A” goes to the left of the room, and people who picked “B” head over to the right, for instance. That activity is simple but efficient to get to know each other. Questions such as “Mario or Sonic”, “BBQ or sushi”, or even “dogs or cats” will get people active before an important meeting and foster empathy.
3) Team Jeopardy
You can use online tools or even pieces of paper for that one, it is your call. Just like the game you all know, there are questions available and each correct answer will grant someone some money (please, not real money). However, rather than random BS, be creative: categorize each group of questions based on a theme that interests your team. It could be questions about a member, about the product or project you’re working on, or even nerdy stuff. Rotate the order of who answers and when. In the end, put a leaderboard visible with who raked in the highest amount of money – it will be the perfect excuse to run the activity again soon!
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