Use This Five of Anything Icebreaker for Team Building

Improve Teamwork and Cooperation With the Five of Anything Icebreaker

a trio of young women having coffee and chatting
kristian sekulic/Vetta/Getty Images

Looking for a winning team-building icebreaker that you can use for meetings, training classes, team building sessions, and company events and activities? The five of anything icebreaker makes group cohesiveness and cooperation a natural extension of the discussion when you use this team building icebreaker. 

Icebreakers That Relate to the Session's Topic

You can relate the five items selected to the topic of the session and use the icebreaker to add to the content of the session. For example, in a session about how to run a successful meeting, you might ask the participants to identify the five most important factors in making a meeting successful. 

In a session on employee motivation, you can ask the participants to share the five factors that most motivate them as individuals at work. In a class about how to listen more effectively, you can ask your attendees to identify five bad habits of poor listeners. In a class on change management, you can ask participants to list five behaviors they have noted when employees are resisting change. Or ask for five ways leaders can introduce change in such a way as to not create resistance.

The only limit to the potential five questions is the facilitator's imagination. In each of these examples, the icebreaker can serve as the starting point for your discussion.

Icebreakers That Are for Fun and Team Building

On other occasions, you can use this icebreaker to encourage your participants to have fun and enjoy each other. These are twelve example topics that have been fun for participants in the past.

  • 5 favorite novels
  • 5 favorite scary movies
  • 5 worst movies that they've ever seen
  • 5 favorite flowers
  • 5 favorite vegetables
  • 5 favorite dinners
  • 5 foods they'd prefer not to eat again
  • 5 cities they'd most like to visit
  • 5 countries they plan to see
  • 5 favorite TV shows of all time
  • 5 most disliked tasks to do around the house
  • 5 favorite dogs

Five of Anything Icebreaker Steps 

  1. Divide the meeting participants into groups of four or five people by having them number off. (You do this because people generally begin a meeting by sitting with the people they already know best or the people from their own departments.)
  2. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to share with the members of their group their five favorite movies of all time, or their five favorite novels or their five least liked films, and so forth as discussed above.
    The topic can be five of anything—most liked or disliked. This icebreaker helps the group explore shared interests more broadly and sparks a lot of discussion about why each person likes or dislikes their selected five.
    While I generally recommend icebreakers that are related to the topic of the meeting, five of anything is a quick, fun team building activity that people really enjoy. No one is asked to leave their conversational comfort zone and participants are never unwilling to share the answers to this type of question.
  3. You can also use this icebreaker for topical discussion. As another example, in a session on team building, you might ask, "What are five dysfunctional behaviors you have experienced when participating in an unsuccessful team?" Or, "Think about the best team you have ever been on. What are five key and important factors that made it your best or most successful team?"
  4. Tell the groups that one person must take notes and be ready to share the highlights of their group discussion with the whole group upon completion of the assignment.
  5. Debrief the team-building icebreaker by asking for a volunteer to read their list of five of anything. Or ask the volunteer to list any movies, for example, that more than one person had in common and shared as their favorite. Then, ask each group to share their whole list with the whole group.
    Because people are almost always your best source of laughter and fun, the reading of the lists generates a lot of laughter and discussion. You can also catch the drift of the conversation in the small groups based on the transitions made from item to item.
  6. When the volunteer from each group is finished, ask the rest of the participants if they have anything they'd like to add to the discussion before moving on with the rest of the session.

This team-building icebreaker takes 10 -15 minutes, depending on the number of groups that need to report their discussion.

Watch Now: 7 Tips for Team Builders That Are Actually Fun