Team Building ice-breakers are a fantastic way of easing people into a group environment and can really help to speed up a process which otherwise could take some time and eat into time that you’d planned would be more productive. A word of warning though. Ice breakers need to be well chosen. Just the mention of the words ‘team building’ can be enough to fill your colleagues with dread. No-one enjoys being made to feel awkward, embarrassed or being the focus of attention, if it’s not their thing.
Before selecting your ice-breaker activities, take a few moments to consider which activities will be most suitable for this particular group. Have any of them met each other before? How old are they? How large is the group? What are you trying to achieve? How much time do you have available?
All the following activities require little preparation and are ideal for taking place in the workplace. It’s usually best to have a few ice-breakers ready to go. If something isn’t going down well and the mood in the room isn’t improving, then change to plan B.
Top tip: Keep it simple and put everybody at ease by giving a short but super clear explanation. You want to keep everybody engaged from the outset.
So, here you go. 5 quick and simple ice breakers for your team:
Name: Chat show
Description: Set up enough pairs of chairs around the room so that there is a seat for everyone. Get your group to pair up and sit together. Each person takes a turn to be the chat show host, the aim being to find out three unusual, surprising or interesting facts about their partner within the pre-agreed time frame. Keep an eye on the time.
The whole group then reunites and each person takes their turn to introduce their partner to the rest of the group. People are best picked at random to present, so as to avoid the anxiety of ‘their turn approaching’
Name: My name means…
Description: Again, split your group into pairs. This time they will need to find out a little more about their partner. Each person has to come up with words that are a good fit for their partner, based on the letters of their name. For example, Mark could be sat with Clare and through asking her lots of questions, may find out that Clare could stand for Chatty, Lively, Artistic, Reliable and Extrovert.
Name: Line Up
Description: For larger groups, split them into several smaller groups as required. Ask them to stand in a row. Give a series of instructions, asking the teams to re-order themselves as per your criteria. For example, line up: shortest to tallest, birthdays January to December, alphabetical by middle name, distance of towns they were born in nearest to far. Whatever other ideas you can think of.
Name: Secret Lives
Description: Ideal for teams who usually work remotely and haven’t met before. Prior to the meeting send out a request to each attendee asking for a secret fact about themselves that they are happy to share with the group on the day. This could be a particular interest, achievement, anecdote or talent that will no doubt be of some amusement to the rest of the team.
Create a sheet with a list of all the secrets and a blank space next to it for the ‘owner’. Circulate one to each activity participant at the start.
Ask everyone to mingle and find out which secret belongs to whom, within a certain time limit. At the end, collect in all the sheets and while you are marking them to find out who correctly identified the most, ask the team to reveal their secret to the group one at a time.
You could award a small prize to the winner.
Name: The Human Knot
Description. This is a great game for breaking down barriers and can be played by groups large or small. Break your group into teams of 10 and ask them to stand in circles, shoulder to shoulder. Instruct everybody to raise their right hand and take the hand of someone else in the group (not someone standing directly next to them). Then all raise their left hands and do the same. The task is then to communicate to figure out how to untangle the group into a perfect circle, without letting go of any hands along the way. Penalties for this!
To make the game harder, you could blindfold some of the participants or require that the game be played silently.
We hope you enjoy them. If you are considering a team away day, filled with fun, banter and awesome activities, check out out team building days. The Wright Event is the home of team building and corporate events in the south east.