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Icebreakers
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The Big List of Effective Icebreaker Questions

The Big List of Effective Icebreaker Questions
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Personal Impact, Interview Skills

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Suppose you have a group of people that don’t know each other very well and you want to get them feel more comfortable with one another. If you put this group of people in a room together, they will eventually mingle but the process is often inefficient. Most often the talkative or extrovert types dominate the conversations while others simply listen. People receive a lot of information about a few loud people and start to feel frustrated that they couldn’t get a word in. Alternatively, some may simply feel shy and not so comfortable to suddenly talk about themselves among a group of strangers.

In such cases, a structured approach to break the ice is useful. One simple way to do this is to divide the delegates into smaller groups and provide them with a set of questions that encourages them to talk about specific topics. This exercise and its variations help you achieve this.

Note that the questions listed here are designed to excite and encourage the delegates to talk. They go beyond the usual questions often suggested such as, “What is your hobby?”, or “What country do you like to travel to?” The aim is to ask deeper and more meaningful questions that touch the heart and make the person really excited to talk about themselves. In fact, these questions can make the person learn something about themselves which makes the exercise much more useful.

Often it will take much more than a few minutes to answer some of the questions listed here, but this is fine for the purpose of this exercise because the aim is to simply make people talk excitedly about themselves.

The collection of questions presented here can also be used to interview people or when you simply want to get a person talk about themselves. They can be rather effective in making an emotional connection.

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Form a Line Based on Your Birthday

Form a Line Based on Your Birthday
Leadership, Exercises, Icebreakers, Communication Skills, Exercises for Kids, Decision Making, Large Group

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In this exercise delegates get to form a line based on the order of their birthdays without talking. It provides an opportunity for nonverbal communication, self-organisation, nominating a leader if necessary and quick decision making.

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Icebreaker: This Reminds Me of…

Icebreaker: This Reminds Me of…
Public Speaking, Exercises, Icebreakers, Storytelling, Creative Writing

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This exercise helps with creative storytelling and impromptu delivery. It can also be used as an icebreaker to help delegates learn about each other. The choice of objects dictates what kinds of areas would be covered. Choose the object based on the background of delegates as well as their age. You can also use it for an exercise on creative writing or public speaking.

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Icebreaker: You Can Only Ask One Question

Icebreaker: You Can Only Ask One Question
Exercises, Icebreakers, Problem Solving, Attention and Focus

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This exercise can be used as an icebreaker but can also to see how delegates approach problem solving. The problems considered can also be customised to make the exercise even more useful when an ideal answer is found. As a result, it is a power template to use when you need to make people focus and make important decisions.

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Icebreaker: What Do You Do When You Are Not Working?

Icebreaker: What Do You Do When You Are Not Working?
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Change Management

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Use this icebreaker to help people get to know each other more. It provides a structured approach so that the most is gained from the introductions in a short amount of time.

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Goal Setting Exercise: I Admire People Who…

Goal Setting Exercise: I Admire People Who…
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Motivation, Personal Impact

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This exercise helps delegates realise what values they are impressed with the most, so that they can then relate these values back to themselves.

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Icebreaker: What Are You Good At?

Icebreaker: What Are You Good At?
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building

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This is an icebreaker that helps delegates to become more familiar with each other.

The aim is to systematically share information with a partner to maximise information transfer in a given time.

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Icebreaker: What Is Under My Thumb

Icebreaker: What Is Under My Thumb
Exercises, Icebreakers, Exercises for Kids, Memory

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This fun activity is suitable as an ice breaker. This is a simple randomisation exercise that you can use to get a group of people answer a number of random questions. You will need to write these questions on a football before the course. As each delegate receives the ball he should randomly answer a question based on the setup described here.

Since you have total control over the questions, you can bias the exercise based on your needs. You can use it as an icebreaker with generic questions about delegates. You can also use this for recap to cover what has been discussed in a particular session by asking delegates to answer related questions. You can also use this method as a test.

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Art Exercise: Cooperative Sculpture

Art Exercise: Cooperative Sculpture
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Art

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This exercise helps delegates work together to create a sculpture out of clay. It is ideal for classes on ceramics hand building with clay but it can also be used for a fun team building activity.

This is also a very useful exercise for creativity as it is relatively fast paced. Delegates have little time to get carried away with too much detail on any specific work and so are forced to express their creativity in a focused and meaningful way.

You can use this at the beginning of a multi-day class on making sculptures to break the ice and get people to become more comfortable with each other.

In this exercise, delegates contribute to each other’s design sequentially and everyone participates in the creation of all sculptures.

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Magic Trick: Show off Your Telepathic Powers

Magic Trick: Show off Your Telepathic Powers
Exercises, Icebreakers, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Attention and Focus

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This exercise is ideal for teams with new additions to them. Sometimes it takes a while for teams to get used to their new members and the same is true for the new addition. Joining an already existing team of people can be intimidating. This exercise helps bringing all team members, old and new together by providing them with a shared experience.

Ask the delegates a question related to the content of the course that generates a number of options. Write these suggested options on a flipchart and number them from 1 to N. Next, state that you want to demonstrate your telepathic skills.

Expect disbelief…

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