Meetings. Ugh. Am I Right?
If you think this way about project meetings, chances are others do, such as the team members you’ve called together to discuss a vital aspect of the project you’re all working on. Instead of dismissing meetings whole cloth, you could try some icebreaker games to make them more fun and productive. Icebreaker activities are also a great team-building exercise for traditional and remote teams.
Preparing your in-person or virtual meetings and adding icebreaker games it’s a process, of course, so let’s start at the beginning. Drop drab intros like, “You’ve probably wondered why I’ve gathered you here today.” Yawn. Just like a speech gets attention by opening with an icebreaker joke, a team meeting needs to open in such a fashion that it creates a team bonding environment. So, what are some icebreakers for meetings? They should be collaborative. You can even use team collaboration tools to help elicit ideas from the team members.
25 Best Icebreaker Games to Make your Meetings Fun
Here are some fun meeting icebreaker ideas. Try them, and let us know what you think. If you have techniques that you’ve used, share them with us. Together we can use icebreaker games and team-building activities to make meetings less heinous!
1. One Word Game
What’s the one word you’d use to describe yourself? Everyone picks one and then they’re referred to by that name throughout the meeting. It’s more than a silly way to start the meeting; it helps you learn about the personality traits of your team members and lets everyone get to know one another a bit better. The best part of this icebreaker game it’s that it’s great for virtual meetings and remote teams.
2. Personality Quiz
This one it’s a great team-building activity that works great for small teams. Simply grab or create a personality quiz and hand it to your team members. Once they fill them out, ask each of them whether they agree with the results or not and ask them a couple of icebreaker questions. This is a great conversation starter and a great way to know your team members’ personality traits.
3. Two Truths and One Lie
This is an easy and fun icebreaker game to get everyone putting down their guard, which allows for teams to work better together. Each person states three facts, two truths and one lie. They can be personal facts, historical facts or anything really. Now the others have to guess which is the untruth.
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4. What’s Your Favorite Year
As the meeting settles, get people focused by asking what their favorite year is and why. Not only is this interesting, but it is a team bonding activity that provides an avenue for people to know each other in a more intimate way.
5. The Marshmallow Game
This icebreaker game was first introduced by Tom Wujec in a TED talk. It’s great for team bonding because it requires people to work together to build a structure using 20 spaghetti sticks, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and a marshmallow in 18 minutes. There’s one rule, the marshmallow must be on top.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a great team-building activity for new hires because it lets them get familiarized with the office. A surprise scavenger hunt is a great icebreaker game to get everybody to know each other and collaborate. Once the scavenger hunt is finished, everybody can have a productive meeting.
7. Paper Airplane Game
This is one of those icebreaker games that work only for in-person meetings. Here’s how it works. First, pass colored paper sheets to your team members and ask them to write an interesting fact about themselves. Then ask them to make a paper airplane. Once they’re ready, each team member will throw his paper airplane to the other side of the room. Then pick the paper airplanes, read them out loud and have them guess whose paper airplane it is.
Everyone loves candy. Admit it! So, why not get a bag of M&M’s and pass them out. Whatever color the person gets means that they have to answer a specific question about themselves. You can have some fun figuring out what the questions are. This is one of those icebreaker games that are great conversation starters.
9. No Smiling
This icebreaker game will make your team members laugh and it works for in-person or virtual meetings. Tell everyone in a very serious tone that you will not tolerate any smiling. Then tell a joke. See if people can keep a straight face. You might not be a comedian, but it’s harder than you think not to laugh. Chances are that within five minutes everyone will be laughing their faces off. That’s exactly what good icebreaker games do. It’s a great way to start a team meeting, and you’ll find it a more effective one because of it.
10. Exquisite Corpse
This is an icebreaker game that was created by the Surrealists in which you divide a piece of paper in three, and then three people must draw the head, torso and legs, respectively, without seeing what the person before them drew. Inevitably, the final drawing is a hoot. So, break the group up into threes and have them get drawings as you set up the meeting. Who cares if they draw well or not? The worse they draw, the more hilarious the outcome.
Related: 10 Super Fun Team Bonding Games
11. Stranded Desert Island Picks
You’ve heard the old, “If you were stranded on a desert island what one book would you have with you?” Well, find out! It could be books, music, food, etc. Again, a silly icebreaker question, but a real team-building activity for in-person or virtual meetings that helps to better know the people on your team.
12. What Annoys You?
Ask each person to reveal the personality trait that is most irritating to them. It’s good for a laugh, though you might fear it could make for a disharmonious team. You’d be surprised, what appears might help you resolve conflicts before they occur.
13. What Kind of Car?
If your workplace was a car, what kind would it be? Or you could tweak that too if you were a car, or if your coworkers were cars, etc. You’re probably seeing how these icebreaker questions are almost a stealthy way to analyze your team and work environment.
14. What’s Your Theme Song?
Music is a great conversation starter and a great team bonding tool. For this icebreaker activity, ask the team to imagine they’re in a movie. What song would play when they walk into a scene? Would it be a rousing number like in Rocky or maybe something more somber? You can use that information throughout the project to, say, play music when a milestone has been completed.
15. Make a Portrait
Again, this icebreaker game has nothing to do with being artistic, but you can just have team members turn to whoever is sitting next to them and then have each draw a portrait of the other. People are not going to be especially happy with the results (no one’s likely to frame these pictures), but they’ll be playful, which is a great atmosphere to start a meeting. This icebreaker game can also work for remote teams.
Related: Staff Meeting Ideas: 7 Creative Tactics That Your Team Will Love
16. Use PM Software for Virtual Teams
You can take the collaborative features of your project management tool, like ProjectManager, to get the team working together on fun ways to start a meeting with remote teams. Have them create a chatroom where they can discuss the meeting to come. You might even send them an agenda, so they are thinking about what the meeting will be about. Then they have ownership of the ice breaker and buy-in to the whole meeting.
17. Be Honest
It might seem like a dangerous door to open but ask the team to be honest about their day. The Huffington Post says that “the best business is done when you’re being true and authentic.” If nothing else, you’re sure to get engagement from the team, and that’s how you want to start a meeting, with a fully engaged room.
18. Who Are You?
Hand out blank paper and ask each person to write or draw a short description of themselves. Then put all the papers face down in the middle of the table and go through them, trying to figure out who belongs to which description. You can do this yourself, which gives the team a chance to further bond as they work together to help you out.
19. The End…
Write a fragment of a sentence on a whiteboard or a piece of paper or just say it aloud to the group. Now ask them to complete it. You can take this in any number of directions, from a project-related sentence to a morale-related one or just something in a Mad Libs manner.
20. Hot & Cold
Hide something in the room, maybe some money or the meeting agenda or something random, then have the team try and work together to discover it. You only can respond by saying they’re hot or cold when they search. Depending on how big your meeting room is, this might be an absurd assignment, but that just makes it a better ice breaker.
21. Movie That Made You Cry
Admit it, you’ve teared up in a dark theater. When the lights came on, you covered your face. “I’m not crying!” But there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Movies can be emotionally manipulative. That’s one of the reasons why we go. When everyone on the team opens up about that tearjerker that hit them in the heart, whether it’s Bambi or The Shawshank Redemption, it will accelerate team bonding.
22. 10 Things We Have In Common
If you’re trying to bond an organization with many disparate departments or remote teams that mostly interact by email or text, get them all together and direct them to discuss among themselves what they have in common. Have the goal for the group be listing 10 things they share. You might find weird commonalities among the group, which is fun, but the real objective is to bring people together. This ice breaker quickly melts the hard exterior of unfamiliarity and builds partnership.
23. The Squid Game
The Netflix hit from Korea, The Squid Game, is the opposite of an ice breaker, it’s a depressing illustration of “every man for himself.” But the premise is built on playing a bunch of children’s games. When you’re a child, playing an icebreaker game in the mud with a stranger ends with you both best friends. Using the popular show as a starting point, ask the group to come up with things they played in childhood. Whatever games, from blind man’s bluff to dodge ball, doesn’t matter. You’ll find at the end of the team-building exercise that everyone is laughing and happily working together.
24. Stand Up
Remove the chairs from the room in which you’re meeting and tell everyone that it’s a standup meeting. Not only is there evidence that standup meetings are more efficient, but you’re likely to have a faster and more productive meeting because people will get tired of standing around.
Let’s wrap this up with one of the classic ice breakers, charades. You’ve undoubtedly played this as a kid or maybe at a party. It’s fun and easy—no equipment needed. If you’re unfamiliar, charades is where one person thinks of a word or phrase (you can narrow the choices to movie, song or book titles, animals, etc.) and then has to get the others to guess the word or phrase by acting it out, without speaking. There’s a reason this game is a classic. It’s a great way to loosen the tie (if people still wear ties!) and make a bunch of individuals into a team.
How ProjectManager Gets the Most Out of Teams
Once the ice is broken and the team is formed, the real work begins. ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps teams work better together. They can plan projects, schedule work and collaborate on tasks. Plus, with unlimited file storage, they can upload as many documents and images as they need to get the work done.
Projects can be created by simply uploading a task list. Once started, teams love the multiple project views, such as kanban boards that visualize workflows and keep teams focused on the tasks at hand. Kanban boards also give managers visibility into the process, so they know who is working on what. Celebrate victories with ProjectManager and its online project management software.
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