Great Ice breakers for Your Next Event
Your next event, whether it’s in person or virtually, should always start with an ice breaker. Ice breakers are a long-time tradition of warming up your audience so everyone feels engaged and comfortable participating. It’s also a great way to get to know your attendees.
Just try to keep these 3 things in mind when setting up your innovative ice breaker:
- Clearly outline goals
- Keep it simple
- Be sensitive to guests’ needs/beliefs
1 – Share Stories
You can’t always get people to open up and share personal information, that’s why having an ice breaker at the beginning of the meeting or event is a great way to get people out of their comfort zone.
One idea is to have a bunch of pennies on your tables, have everyone pick one and go around the room doing introductions, name, job, where you’re from and then have them read off the year of the penny and tell a story about that year or share something significant that happened in their life that year.
It will make what’s usually a boring round table introduction a bit more intriguing.
Do you need more guides on how to set up your next virtual or hybrid event? Look at these resources.
2 – “Getting to Know You” Introductions
You can go around the room and still have everyone introduce themselves, but this time pose an enthralling question, “What was your first job?” “Favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?” “What is your best accomplishment?”
If you have everyone answer the same question, hopefully attendees will be able to relate to one another and then later at your reception it creates a talking point. “My first job was at a carwash too!” “I loved visiting Rome, it’s the most amazing city, did you see the Coliseum when you were there?” And so on.
3 – Live Polls to Capture Attention
If you are hosting a virtual event, or in person you can use an app to live poll the audience. You can control when they see the percentages and it’s a great way to really capture the audience’s attention, whether in person or virtually.
Attendees want to participate, and they want to see how their colleagues answer the polling questions, so offer live polls and offer them frequently throughout the event for continued engagement.
Have your audience submit questions they are curious about for the poll during the event and now you know what your prospects want to know – this can serve you long after the event as you produce content on items you know your audience is interested in.
4 – “Snowball” Fight
This is a great idea!
Have everyone attending your event write something on a piece of paper. Maybe it’s past or current struggles, suggestions on how to improve the workplace, ideas on how everyone can team build and bond, but don’t have them write their name.
Once everyone has done so, have them all stand up crumple their papers and throw them in the air. Have them pick up others crumpled papers and continue throwing them. After a few minutes you can go around the room and start reading some of the crumpled papers.
It’s a great honest way to hear feedback, since all the notes are anonymous you won’t’ know who wrote it but everyone will hear how your attendees are truly feeling, in the moment. Plus, they have had a blast having a snowball fight to energize the room at the beginning of the meeting. Then you know what to focus your meeting on based on the overall feedback.
5 – “Flying” Challenges
Same idea as the snowball fight but have them write their name on this one and have a contest to see who’s plane fly’s the longest and set up a semi-final round where the top 3 planes go on stage and compete.
6 – Human Bingo
Human Bingo is a great way to have attendees get to know one another. You print out different sheets of paper with boxes listed. “Has 5 cats”, “Grew up in Russia” “Can speak 8 different languages” and have everyone start asking away.
Of course, you will need to do some pre-work and have a questionnaire sent out to attendees beforehand. But as soon as someone has met all the people on their “human bingo” card, they win! Offer a fun prize for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
7 – Top 10 Quiz
Break your attendees into pairs and have them work on a “Top 10” of some topic, ice cream flavors, Netflix shows, clothing brands, etc. Time the answers and see how many the other partner got right and award them points. Teams with the highest points win!
8 – Round Tables to Encourage Networking
Depending on the size of your venue you might not be able to do round tables, but if you are, round tables are highly recommended for providing networking opportunities.
You will be able to break up the room into “table teams” and everyone at the table can get to know one another, either through the penny ice breaker or there’s always the 2 truths and a lie ice breaker.
You introduce yourself by telling everyone 2 true things about yourself and 1 lie. All should be as outrageous as possible so that everyone is stumped by the “lie”. It will encourage networking and hopefully some laughs.
9 – Assignments During Coffee Breaks
Coffee breaks are a perfect time to introduce icebreakers.
Give everyone half of a playing card, and throughout the conference they need to find their “other half”. Or tape a celebrity name on their back and they must ask people different questions to figure out who they are.
Getting people out of their chairs and interacting with others at your event is really the meat of your event – folks want to participate and not just ingest content. Making your content interactive and providing networking opportunities turns your event into experiential marketing and one that will not long be forgotten.
10 – Scavenger Hunt
This ice breaker gets the blood flowing and folks moving which puts some gas on the engagement component. You will send out a required pre-event questionnaire with personal and professional questions. Group folks that would have complimentary skills to help them find each other.
You will give different scavenger hunts to different folks, meaning not everyone has the same clues.
Each person will be looking for someone that has done something specific – once you say go, you will soon start to see people help each other and new groups will be formed based on people finding their clues on the hunt.
No matter which innovative icebreaker you go with, just remember to have something to offer. Icebreakers help set the tone for the event and you will want it to be a memorable one, some of these ideas will ensure it will be!
If you need a partner for your next event, reach out to us and we will help you get started.