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9 Easy & Engaging Icebreakers for Meetings

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So you’re sitting at your desk plugging away at the mountain of emails you have in your inbox and then all of a sudden your meeting reminder pops up: “Weekly Staff Meeting – Due in 15 minutes.” You let out an exasperated sigh and prepare yourself for an hour of mandatory staff time. Ten minutes later you reluctantly trudge into the team conference room and take a seat. However, when you sit down you realize there’s a toaster sitting in the middle of the table. You wonder what the meaning of this could be and then your manager explains they want to start of this week’s staff meeting with a short and sweet icebreaker.

Icebreakers are great ways to break up the monotony of meetings if executed the right way. Below are nine fun and easy icebreakers that will liven things up at your next meeting and foster team building amongst your colleagues.

1.  The Toaster Game

Mentioned above, the Toaster Game involves placing a toaster in the middle of the conference room table. Pop the toaster down and whilst the bread is toasting go around the table and ask each person to say something about themselves. Whoever is speaking when the bread pops up has to eat the toast with whatever toppings the team decides to add.   Just make sure they’re not allergic to anything on the piece of toast.

2.  Year of the Coin

Hand out a coin to each person and ask people to share something they were doing the year the coin was minted. Be sure to sift through the coins beforehand to make sure your team was born when the coins were minted though.

3.  Toilet Roll Game

Pass around a roll of toilet paper and ask everyone to tear off what they normally use when they…do their “business.” Then explain to everyone for each sheet they tore off, they must tell one thing about themselves.

4.  18 & Under

Go around the table and ask each person to reveal an accomplishment they achieved before they turned 18.

5.  The M&M Game

Fill a bowl with M&Ms and pass around the group. Ask each person to take a small handful of M&Ms. Once the bowl of M&Ms has been passed around, explain the colors of the M&Ms mean certain things, such as:

Red: Favorite superhero

Orange: Favorite outdoor activity

Blue: Favorite food

Green: Favorite vacation spot

Brown: Favorite TV show

Yellow: Why you absolutely love your agency/organization/company

Then circle around the table and ask your team to give answers for the M&Ms they scooped out of the bowl.

6.  No Smiling

Announce at the beginning of the meeting that no one is allowed to smile whatsoever. It’s a lot harder than it sounds and you’ll see reverse psychology start to take place.

7.  Paper Airplane Game

Pass out a sheet a paper to each person attending the meeting. Then ask everyone to write an interesting fact about themselves on the piece of paper and fold it into a paper airplane. Everyone should then launch their paper airplane to somewhere around the conference room. Meeting attendees then grab a launched paper airplane and guess who the interesting fact belongs to. Just make sure your organization has workers comp in place before trying this icebreaker, you don’t want any lawsuits for eyes being poked out.

8.  Marooned

Go around the table and ask each person, “If you were stranded on a deserted island, which three people would you want with you (dead, alive or famous)?”

9.  Would You Rather

Take turns going around the table and ask each person a “Would You Rather” question. Below are a few examples:

“Would you rather own a private jet or have the ability to teleport like in Star Trek?”

“Would you rather drive a really nice car or have a gorgeous home?”

“Would you rather speak to a huge crowd or hold a snake?”

Setting a relaxed and open atmosphere is important before getting any meeting started. Hopefully the listed icebreakers start your new year and next staff meeting with some light-hearted and fun candor.

Ryan Rosado is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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8 Comments

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Steve

Why are you yelling?

And besides, he gave 9 thoughtful **suggestions**.. don’t like one? Try the other eight.

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Profile Photo Dave Barton

Thanks, Ryan. I love the “no smiling” activity.

I’ve also had success polling the crowd to find similarities/differences of experience or opinion. A basic sharing activity like “train wreck” can boost energy for problematic after lunch sessions. I also like polling and remote polling options that allow participants to respond to a question anonymously using a device or smartphone (notecards work fine too) before visually displaying the results.

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