6 Icebreakers to Encourage Collaboration at Work Events

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After introducing an icebreaker activity to a group, you might be met with rolled eyes and “not again” utterances. This reaction is only because everyone seems to recycle the same icebreakers over and over again.

However, that certainly doesn’t mean you should give up on icebreaker activities! They are a great way for a group to warm up and feel comfortable contributing ideas in a meeting, workshop, or any collaborative event. Instead, consider refreshing your repertoire of go-to icebreakers with the list below:

1. Pick a Song

Let everyone be a professional baseball player for a day and have participants select a work-appropriate “walk-up song.” At the beginning of the event, play a snippet of each song and encourage the rest of the participants to guess whose song it is. Not only does each employee have a chance to get energized by their own song, but it’s also a fun way to learn something about fellow participants. If it’s a longer meeting, you can space out the song snippets to re-energize the group throughout the event.

2. Compliment Your Neighbor

If this is a group where everyone knows each other well, ask each participant to share a compliment about the person to their right. This activity works well if the main event requires thinking outside of the box. After receiving a compliment, participants might feel more comfortable sharing their ideas.

3. Breaking Stereotypes

In this quick, lightweight icebreaker, participants state a single sentence in the following format: “I [true description], but I [negate a stereotype related to first description]. For example, I could say, “I grew up in California, but I’ve never been surfing.”

This is a great option if you are short on time, but still want the benefits of an icebreaker activity.

2. Trivia

Pick a relevant theme, like an upcoming holiday or pop culture event, and do quick research on related trivia questions. A few questions is all you need to energize the group before a collaborative event.

Or, you can even flip it around and ask everyone to submit a fact about themselves prior to the event, read each fact out loud, and have people guess whose fact it is.

3. Pick a Word

In this icebreaker activity, choose a single word and ask participants to share what the word means to them (bonus points if the word is related to the content of the meeting!). Encourage people to use anecdotal examples to explain their response.

For example, if you are hosting an innovation workshop, you can ask everyone what the word “innovation” means to them.

4. Pose a Question

Choose one or two questions for everyone to answer. If you choose the right questions, you can get some interesting and insightful answers from the group. Some examples include:

If you were to travel anywhere for a month (financial and professional obligations aside), where would you go?

What would the title of your autobiography be?

What was your best Halloween costume? (Tip: Questions about the past can encourage people to feel comfortable answering freely. It’s easy to laugh at and bond over past stories.)

If you could interview one celebrity, who would it be?

As always, if you have any other great icebreaker ideas, feel free to tweet them to us at @CultureIQ!

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