When you have a room full of people with different interests and backgrounds, it can be hard to break the awkward silence that wafts through a room. Icebreakers are relaxed questions that help ease your employees into talking about themselves and learning about each other. Properly executed icebreakers are ideal for cutting anxiety in team building situations. Sometimes people feel more comfortable answering questions that require a specific answer, rather than offering up a general personal fact.
However, not all icebreakers are created equal. Many people dread icebreakers – at least the traditional kind. Poorly planned and executed icebreaker questions can conjure up awkward memories of summer camp and grade school. They’ll actually make your employees feel uncomfortable and less likely to talk. Icebreakers should make your employees feel at ease, not stressed. Generic icebreaker questions (like “What is your favorite soda?) can also be disastrous. Make sure the questions are not only relevant but require your employees to give meaningful answers.
We’ve saved you from an icebreaker disaster by compiling a list of 10 fun and creative icebreaker questions. You can use these to get your team warmed up before a team building activity or meeting. At their core these icebreakers are light and fun but the answers you hear will be insightful. You’ll find your team bonding over shared qualities and laughing about things in no time.
Here are the questions…
- If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?
The question, while sounding slightly superficial, will actually give your team insight into what people enjoy outside of work. That could be a type of food, music, or product!
- What was your least favorite food as a child or now?
An easy childhood question that doesn’t pry. The goal is to avoid having your team members feel uncomfortable sharing something. A simple question like this can give your employees a little background on each other.
- If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose and why?
Pop culture questions are always funny and get people giggling, laughing and connecting. You’ll learn a lot about a person from the type of TV they like or dislike.
- If you were a wrestler what would be your entrance theme song?
Having your employees envision their wrestling personality is hilarious for learning about personal taste. What kind of music they choose could reflect the type of music they enjoy outside of work.
- If you had to eat one meal everyday for the rest of your life what would it be?
It’s always funny to think about what your favorite food is and if you could actually eat it everyday for the rest of your life. This question is sure to get the team laughing.
- Who is the better businessman or business woman and why? Timberlake or Justin Bieber?
This question can be also be modified to fit your company or the department you are working with. The comparison gets your team discussing business ethics, drive and definitions of success. The people you choose make the question fun. Examples: Emily Bronte vs. Jane Austen, Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs.
- What was the worst job you ever had?
Another good question about personal background that isn’t prying. Your employees will learn about their teammates work history and the types of work and work environment they dislike.
- What would your superpower be and why?
Again, fun but insightful. This helps employees learn about what their co-workers value, but in a fun, non-threatening way.
- If you could choose any two dead people to have dinner with who would they be?
A little morbid but this type of question always get people laughing and thinking.
- If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
A fun way to ask what qualities people value in themselves. Your employees will have fun thinking up answers but also get insight into what their co-workers feel they are good at.
The great thing about icebreakers is that they involve little to no planning. Keep this list of icebreakers on hand and use them at team meetings or at the start off a particularly busy work day. You don’t have to make it a big event. Just remember that the more relaxed and comfortable your team, the better the exercise will work!