Getting everyone to leave their desks for a team meeting, then getting them into “meeting mode” can be quite a juggling act. That’s why having some meeting icebreakers around can help you get people adjusted.
Although team meetings are a necessary evil, some people just want to be left alone to concentrate on their job. I’ve always tried to open mine with some fun games, especially if there’s a bit of lagtime before the meeting starts.
If you’re having meetings with other teams, these meeting icebreakers can also be used as a fun way to get everyone relaxed with one another. This is a handy benefit for all involved, when you need quick work favors from them in the future.
Whether your meeting’s an hour long and running across a DAY, here are five meeting icebreakers for you to try out.
Learning more about your teammates outside work is a nice side effect of these meeting icebreakers and fits our company philosophy. Learning drops of trivia about everyone you work with can help people gel.
To play, each person shares two things no one at work knows, by writing them on slips of paper.
Jumble the papers, making sure everyone gets two. Players then take it in turn to read theirs out, leaving everyone to guess their owners. The more crazy the facts, the better, for example: I used to be a stand-up comedian, I know how to drive a combine harvest, I lived in a different country for __ years.
One of the more active meeting icebreakers in this list, this game gets everyone moving about. Before playing, create a list of 10-15 everyday scenarios that might happen to people at work, for example:
- Slamming the phone down after speaking to an irate caller
- Your computer crashes while saving a 100-page report
- Taking shorthand at a meeting
Tear them all up and put them in a bowl. Now split everyone into two equal teams, and assign each to their own corner of the room.
On Go!, the first player from each must grab the same scenario from you and mime it for their team to guess. If the scenario is guessed correctly, the next player then runs to collect the next scenario which they’re to act out for their team. The first team to complete the entire list wins a special favor.
This is one of the more colorful meeting icebreakers. When playing this, you’ll be encouraging people to talk about the things they love in their work (yes, it’s possible).
Before playing, empty a packet of M&Ms or Skittles into a bowl. Everyone will need at least 5 pieces each, so make sure you have enough candy.
On a sheet of paper, write down what each color means. For example:
- Yellow Skittle: Last book read on the way into work
- Red: Most memorable work party
- Green: One thing you love about your job
- Orange: Favorite work thing you do to keep you motivated
- Blue: One stressful thing in your job you wish you could improve
- Purple: One life goal you’re working on
As the bowl goes round, each player shares something based on the color they pick. They must pick colors at random, so no deliberate choosing. They can eat the piece of candy they’ve picked, if they want, after they’ve finished their individual sharing.
As for the sheet of color meanings, you can either pin them up for all to see or keep the list to yourself, so playing the role of question master.
It’s okay if a player picks the same again. This gives them the chance to say more about themselves.
This simple meeting icebreaker’s useful when people are coming together from different teams or departments but lack common ground.
Pair everyone up, with the first person given 3 minutes to share something personal or work-related based on a topic. Topics could include sharing one thing you love about your job, asking them what they would do if they had a million dollars, sharing a personal or professional achievement, or finding out which actor would play them if someone made a movie of their life.
At the end of the game, players can share what they’ve learned about each other. Alternatively, you can continue the game, this time with new pairs.
Work People Bingo
To prepare this game in advance, create a single bingo card of 25 squares which you then photocopy according to how many players you anticipate will be involved. Each square contains a work-themed statement, instead of a number. For example:
- Takes two forms of transport to get into work
- Leaves the house before 6am
- Uses the work gym
- Has had their whole team over for dinner
- Wears a lucky tie for sales meetings
Players must now find others in the room to match those statements. Once a person is found, write their name in the right square. The first player to fill a row or the most filled squares is the winner.
Meeting icebreakers are a great way to slide into a meeting. And once everyone’s warmed up, you’ll find that people will interact more during the eventual meeting at hand.