That may sound flippant, but it’s important that people relax, get to know each other and contribute meaningfully.
Meetings are a huge investment of time and money, so create a positive working atmosphere from the beginning.
Try these meeting ice breakers to do that...
Fact or Fiction. Everyone says three things about themselves, one of which is made up. For example; ‘My name is Jane Smith, I’m 34 years old, and I own a house in France. Other delegates have to guess which fact is fiction. (By the way, Jane is 40!)
No smiling. Nobody is permitted to smile for a set length of time. As ice breakers for meetings go, this is surprisingly effective. Maybe it’s reverse psychology, but people often start smiling or laughing because they’re not allowed to. A variation on it is no blinking.
One Burning Question. Ask people to write down a single question they have about the topic of the meeting and then invite the group to respond.
Dream Destination. Participants say their name and the place they would most like to visit in the world. Other delegates can then ask them what it is about that particular place that appeals.
Rate to 10. A simple ice breaker for meetings. Participants share with the neighbour and/or the group how they feel about the upcoming meeting by indicating their enthusiasm as a score of 10.
Something in Common. Everyone needs a pen and paper. They have to speak to as many other people as you decide and record something they have in common. The first person to complete it wins a prize.
Egg drop. More suitable for an all day event. You will need: eggs (in shells!), paper, cocktail sticks, sticky tape and a small prize. Teams have to create a cushion for the egg from the materials provided. They then have to drop the egg from head height without it cracking. Can be messy.
Name Three… The facilitator asks each participant to name three of something.For example:Foods you like.Places you’ve been.Things you’re good at.Things you’re bad at.Things that you’re scared of.Secrets you know!
Brainstorm. Split the group into teams of four or five. Give each team a simple topic like, 'What would you take to a desert island?' or 'List the countries of Europe'. Give teams two minutes and tell them 'The team with the most items on their list wins.' People will offer ideas without worrying what others will think.
Birthright. Make four groups: youngest, middle, oldest and only children. After they have gathered, have each group write down the pros and cons of their particular birth order. So, the youngest children might say 'I always got stuck with hand-me-down clothes, but I was allowed to get away with more.' This offers people a chance to quickly connect over shared experiences.
Taking turns. The simplest one of all. Ask delegates their name and where they come from. That’s it!
Ice Breakers for Meetings - Ground rules:
Time it. Meeting icebreakers are meant to introduce the meeting itself. They shouldn’t be too short or over run. The length should be proportionate to the time allocated to the meeting itself.
Be nice. Having a light hearted meeting icebreaker is fine. Ensure that no one feels victimized though. That would not set the tone well.
Keep dignity. Make sure nothing compromises the dignity of anyone, particularly if you don’t know one another.
These are all tried and tested ice breakers for meetings that will help your meeting get off to a great start in a warm atmosphere. Give them a go!