The Best Ice Breaker Games
It is crucial to start a workshop session, or any presentation for that matter, on a good note. That is the reason why facilitators use ice breaker games to efficiently engange people in their sessions. Ice breakers are mini games intended to make participants comfortable mingling and speaking with each other by removing communication barriers. They are used to warm up attendees and foster a more comfortable environment that is conducive to active participation.
While there are numerous ice breaker games that anyone can adopt, there are also bad ones, and some of them require excessive physical activity that not everyone can enjoy. They key to a good start is one that is not mentally and physically dragging, with simple mechanics and easy to execute. Participants should not feel coerced when doing it, so choosing an efficient ice breaker, adapted to the right target, is very important.
So far, below are examples of ice breakers that facilitators commonly consider as their favorites.
- What’s My Name. Very straightforward and easy, this is a good activity for participants to get to know each other’s names. One by one, participants will be asked to state their name with an adjective that starts with the same letter as their name. Take Marvelous Mary or Dashing Diane, for example. In an ideal setup, they should be called by these names throughout the duration of the session. This help also to remember the names of the participants.
- The Trust Walk. As the name implies, this activity emphasizes the need to build an atmosphere of trust among pairs or groups. It is done by pairing two participants – one of whom will be blindfolded while the other instructs him to get to where he should. This also teaches everyone, especially the blindfolded, to be a good listener. This can turn out to be a very fun activity, but is only advisable when there’s ample space in the venue.
- Two Truths and a Lie. This is one of the best ice breaker games in the sense that it enables participants to learn about each other on a more personal level. The rule is simple – each one will be asked to share three brief stories about himself, two of which is true, and the other is a lie. The facilitator then randomly picks another participant to guess which story is a lie.
- The Five Favorites. This activity takes on the concept of list games wherein people talk about five random favorites. This could be anything from movies, television series, sports, celebrities… The main idea is for people to find a common ground and eventually start a conversation.
- Speed Chatting. Similar to speed dating, each member is given a few minutes to talk to another about anything under the sun to build and gauge rapport. After that, he will be moved to the next person and the succeeding ones until he gets to chat with everyone. This is an exciting ice breaker as it gives participants the opportunity to meet and greet different people in short span of time.
- The Interview. An enhanced version of Speed Chatting, The Interview promotes good interpersonal relationships. Participants will be split into pairs, and they get as much information as possible about each other, just like in a formal interview. At the end of the activity, each participant will be asked to share three meaningful things about their partner.
- World Geography. One of the few ice breaker games that encourages participants to think quickly, World Geography is an easy favorite. The facilitator asks someone to name a country and pick another person to name another that starts with the last letter of the former (e.g., Belgium, Italy, Philippines, Ethiopia…).