Use Icebreakers to Help You Start Your Meetings Off Right - Docket

Use Icebreakers to Help You Start Your Meetings Off Right

When a rapport has yet to be built, meetings can be awkward and ineffective. It’s often difficult to get people to participate in a meeting if they don’t feel comfortable around each other. Ice breaker activities, such as ice breaker questions, are designed to build an instant camaraderie. When people understand each other’s modes of communication, meetings are more likely to yield positive results.

But preparing ice breakers without materials or icebreaker activities can be difficult. Few people are able to extemporaneously strike up an engaging conversation. Having some conversation icebreakers questions at hand can make the process significantly easier, while also making sure that everyone remains directed, engaged, and on task. When you prepare your ice breakers, you can make sure you’re using the ones that are most likely to yield positive results.

By being proactive and preparing your ice breakers in advance, you can improve the productivity and utility of your company’s meetings — while also helping to forge long-lasting relationships between team members.

Icebreakers with a Purpose

An employee walks into a meeting and every person there is a stranger. That employee isn’t going to readily offer their opinion and expertise, even if they have something valuable to say. Increasingly, businesses are operating with multiple departments, offices, and remote locations, none of which may have regular interaction with each other. A business may suddenly need a group of remote workers to work on a project, even though they’ve never spoken to each other before.

Team building games can help. 5 minute team building activities can be used to start off a meeting, providing for a valuable bonding experience from the outset. In those 5 minutes, employees will learn a great deal about each other, their communication styles, and their challenges. This is a “crash course” for working together.

An assortment of fun icebreakers for meetings can get people talking and interacting with each other, dissipating any anxiety or fear that could otherwise exist. Employees who have never worked together before will at least develop a foundation of knowledge about each other — and be able to extrapolate this knowledge to their project.

Ice breaker games for meetings should be carefully selected to represent the company’s culture, while meeting ice breaker questions or conversation icebreaker questions should be tailored towards simply getting people talking. Icebreakers for meetings & training seminars will ensure that everyone instantly feels more comfortable, and therefore more receptive to the information being imparted.

Of course, there are different types of ice breakers. Ice breakers for work team building may be different from general, routine team building ice breakers for staff meetings. Likewise, training icebreakers for small groups will differ from icebreakers for large groups to get to know each other.

Icebreakers by Theme

Let’s talk about some different icebreaker themes. There are different types of icebreakers depending on the type of meeting. If you’re trying to think up icebreakers for your business, you can start here.

  • Funny ice breakers. Fun icebreakers are often used to break the tension in small groups who might not otherwise know each other. However, you need to make sure that humorous ice breakers don’t become inappropriate ice breaker questions. You can ask people to do a silly dance that goes along with their name, for instance.
  • Quick ice breakers. Quick ice breakers may be used to break tension in larger groups who might not know each other. They’re intended to get people interacting quickly in larger groups. You can ask people do to a chant together or play a very fast game.
  • Deep icebreaker questions. Deep questions are commonly used when a team will be working together for some time, and needs to truly understand each other to begin working. You can ask people questions about their own philosophies, but make sure it doesn’t get inappropriate or too political.
  • Team building ice breakers. Team building icebreakers for meetings and team building icebreakers for staff meetings can bring a team together with the greater, personal understanding of each member prior to kicking off a staff meeting. An example of an exercise is to split everyone up in pairs and have them try to find 10 things (or any number you choose) that they have in common. This creates dialogue, is fun to find common interests, and opens the door to learning more about each other.

The tone of your ice breakers also sets the tone of a meeting. You don’t want humorous ice breakers before a solemn meeting, nor do you want deep ice breaker questions before what should be a light-hearted announcement. And, of course, it’s absolutely vital that you avoid anything that could be perceived as inappropriate; if possible, you may want to get the entirety of your documents reviewed.

Icebreakers by Group Size

The size of your group is going to have a significant impact on the type of ice breaker games you play. Ice breaker games for small groups will often be focused on making sure that everyone knows each other, usually by taking turns answering questions and interacting with the group as a whole. Conversely, ice breaker games for large groups often pair people off or break people into teams, forging relationships within the larger group that exists.

The goal of ice breaker questions for small groups often differs from large group icebreaker questions, for similar reasons. Small groups can often deal with deeper, more contemplative, small group icebreaker questions than larger groups because each individual has more time. Ice breakers for large groups 100 are not going to be able to personalize time in this way, but will still get people talking.

There are many ice breaker games for large groups of adults indoor, which can double as general team-building exercises. Ice breakers for large groups of professionals often involve splitting people into groups and asking them to perform a single task; it’s usually not possible to discuss questions with each individual in the group one at a time.

Whether you’re trying to craft ice breakers for small groups meetings, quick ice breakers for meetings, or just trying to find small group games indoor, you need to focus on your goals: getting people to talk and communicate. Ultimately, the actual ice breaker questions aren’t what matters: what matters is making sure people engage so you can have greater success during your meetings. For large group activities for adults and quick ice breakers for large groups, you should err on the side of simplicity.

About the Author

Heather Hansson

Heather is VP of Product and Chief of Staff at Docket. She enjoys leading cross-functional teams to work together on vision, strategy, and implementing solutions that help people work and live better. When she isn’t helping rid the world of wasteful meetings with Docket, Heather likes to run, take violin lessons with her son, and spend time with her family.

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