Top 10 Ice Breakers

Find Icebreaker Activities for Meetings, Training, and Team Building

illustration of top office ice breakers

Illustration by Hugo Lin. © The Balance, 2018

Are you interested in trying out some of my best ice breaker activities? These top ten ice breaker activities are not just popular in meetings, training classes, and team building events, they are the most popular with the readers of this Human Resources content.

Why You'll Want to Try Out These Icebreakers

Get your participants off to a good start by using these icebreaker activities in your own workplace. They'll make your participants comfortable talking and at ease with the other attendees.

Even in your regularly scheduled, weekly meetings, a brief icebreaker makes a difference in the resulting employee conversations. Use these sample icebreakers to build strong, effective teams of employees. Instructions and suggestions for how to make the most of these icebreaker activities are included with each icebreaker.

What do these icebreaker activities have in common? For a start, they're field-tested, tried, and true and have proven successful at warming up audiences for years.

Find 10 Things in Common Icebreaker

In this icebreaker, you find ten things that you have in common with the other participants in your group. You start by telling them that simple cop-outs such as body parts are not allowed. Find out how to lead this fun icebreaker.

Meet and Greet Meeting Icebreakers

Looking for simple, fun ways to have your meeting participants become comfortable greeting each other? Here are two to try that require a bit of advance preparation, but they're fun—and the advanced preparation really isn't too bad—given the success of your results.

The Best One-Word Icebreaker

This is becoming a new favorite icebreaker for readers. After using it for a couple of years, they find it works well in every meeting, training, and team building session on any topic. In a team-building session on the topic of conflict resolution, participants were asked to start out the session by saying what they think of when they think of conflict. In a second example, in a session on culture, the participants were asked to describe their current culture in one word. Why not try it out? It's definitely fun for participants.

The 5 of Anything Icebreaker

You can use any number for this fun icebreaker that quickly allows participants to share interests. Make the interests germane to your session or let your participants learn more about each other. This icebreaker is easily customized to your meeting's needs. Participants feel safe answering this icebreaker activity because it is not intrusive.

Fun and Funny Icebreakers

Want to laugh with participants as you break the ice at the beginning of a training class, team building session, or a meeting? These icebreakers are fun and funny, and while they may not introduce the topic of the meeting, they have their own place in the world of warming people up to hold discussions in meetings.

Speed Meeting Icebreaker 

Have you ever attended a speed dating session? They were quite the rage for a while. This icebreaker was modeled on the concept of speed dating. It lets you meet a large number of meeting participants in just a short amount of time. It's fun and gets your participants moving physically around the room for an added warm-up advantage. Why not check it out?

Your Favorites—An Icebreaker 

From pets to food to flowers, everyone has favorites. That's what makes this icebreaker so much fun. Participants can't get it wrong. It embarrasses no one and the participants don't have to disclose deep, dark secrets. It's fun to hear the answers from your colleagues when they list their favorites. The key is to keep it light so that participants are comfortable sharing. Stay away from topics such as religion and politics to succeed every time using this icebreaker. See how.

Energizing Questions Icebreaker

Need an icebreaker that encourages reflection and sharing? These thoughtful questions warm up your meeting while allowing participants to share something that is important to them. Here are many examples of the type of questions you might like to use. They're easy to customize for your meetings. They are easy to choose from depending on the mood you'd like to foster in your meeting, training, or team building session.

Three Shining Work Moments Icebreaker

Originally developed to lead a session on team building with police officers—think of unsmiling, expressionless cop faces—to understand the importance of this type of activity that was also scheduled right before the cocktail hour. This ice breaker/team building activity worked so well, that it has been used over and over with different groups.

This ice breaker enables participants to reflect on their years of work (or years of college) and pick three moments to share with their small group of teammates. These are the shining moments that people remember when the stars and sun seemed to align and they produced their best work, their finest moments, and their career successes. You won't hear a pin drop while participants think of the three moments to share. Here's how to lead this meeting.

Your Personal Best: A Magical Team Building Icebreaker/Activity 

In this icebreaker, you ask the participants to think back over their careers and identify a moment when everything that is great about themselves was operating in high gear. Ask your participants to share that moment with a small group of people. Tell the participants that the secret to their success with this ice breaker is that the moment is probably the first thought that came to their mind when they heard the instructions. You'll never find any participant who doesn't have a moment to share. See more of this icebreaker that allows people to share their personal best.