33 Fun (Not Cheesy) Icebreaker Games for Work Meetings in 2022

33 Fun (Not Cheesy) Icebreaker Games for Work Meetings in 2022

Most people recognize that heart-sinking feeling when you are waiting to start a training session and the organiser says, “Right, we'll start with an icebreaker! Everyone pair up and find out five things about the other person.”

Icebreakers are often associated with activities that many people – particularly introverts – find cringeworthy and embarrassing.

The good news is that icebreakers can actually be fun and engaging.

Don't believe it? Read on to discover ten icebreaker games that will make team meetings and workshops more productive and enjoyable for all concerned.

10 Fun Icebreaker Games for Work Meetings
10 Fun Icebreaker Games for Work Meetings

Most people recognize that heart-sinking feeling when you are waiting to start a training session and the organiser says:

“Right, we'll start with an icebreaker! Everyone pair up and find out five things about the other person.”

Icebreakers are often associated with activities that many people – particularly introverts – find cringeworthy and embarrassing.

The good news is that icebreakers can actually be fun and engaging.

Don't believe it? Read on to discover 33 icebreaker games that will make team meetings and workshops more productive and enjoyable for all concerned.

What Is an Icebreaker?

An icebreaker is a short activity introduced by the trainer at the start of a course, training session or any other type of group activity where it is expected that the majority of people don't know each other well, such as new hires or remote teams.

They are also great for team bonding, especially before starting an important project where collaboration between team members is especially vital.

The aim of an icebreaker question is to warm up the room prior to starting a meeting by giving participants time to have a little fun and get to know each other.

When participants feel comfortable and relaxed, they will have more productive discussions.

Icebreakers can be used to:

  • Encourage collaboration – When people feel relaxed, they will be more able to interact comfortably with each other and the facilitator.

  • Inject some energy – Get participants involved from the very start and they will feel engaged and motivated to get the best out of the session.

  • Encourage team building – Developing relationships between groups of people so that they work together more productively.

  • Create a relaxed or creative company culture – Having a positive company culture has been proven to increase the productivity and creativity of teams.

Icebreakers are especially useful for virtual teams. Remote working has many benefits to both employers and employees, but one of the main negatives is that it is increasingly hard for teams to bond and for individuals to feel included.

Many of these icebreakers can be undertaken on Zoom, and it is worth considering implementing a regular ice breaker to virtual team meetings.

The Best 33 Icebreakers for Meetings

These team-building icebreaker ideas for meetings all have the following things in common – they are quick, easy and inexpensive.

They are perfect for building confidence, fostering a sense of togetherness and impressing your boss.

Tip: don't be tempted to make them too long – keep them snappy and quick; just long enough to 'break the ice'.

1. The M&M Game

This is a simple and fun way to get people to introduce themselves and is a favorite icebreaker.

Most foks love chocolate and this icebreaker has a relaxed vibe, so is a great way to encourage shyer people to get involved. The game can also be easily adapted depending on what you want to find out about your team.

Basically, each color M&M is assigned a question or a characteristic. A red candy, for example, could be your favorite film, the green one could be your greatest fear.

Get creative and use your imagination to decide what the M&M’s will signify. This game also works with Skittles or any other type of different colored candy.

How to play:

Everyone grabs a small handful of M&M’s from the central bowl. The facilitator will then call out a color and everyone with candies of that color has to answer the question assigned to that color. If they have two blue candies they have to answer two questions. After they have answered, candidates get to eat their candy.

2. Childhood Achievements

This one is good for a small group of under 20 people. Simply ask everyone around the table to share something they achieved when they were under the age of 18.

If you want to keep it light, start things off by thinking of something silly, such as the fact that you learned how to tie your shoelaces at the ripe old age of 15.

Getting people to talk about themselves and share fun facts can help the group bond and allow the quieter people a chance to speak.

3. Circle and Hoops

If you have access to a large open space, this is well worth a whirl, as it's nearly impossible to do without laughing.

Get everyone to form a large circle and hold hands. Take a normal-sized hula hoop and place it on the arm of one person in the circle, getting them to rejoin their hands.

The aim is to see if they can find a way of getting the hoop to travel around the circle without anyone breaking hands.

This is an excellent problem-solving and team-building activity, and is great for getting everyone relaxed and loosened up.

4. The Chicken and Fox Brain Teaser

This old riddle is a fun icebreaker to encourage creative thinking. It works best if you split up the group into smaller teams of three or four.

You have a chicken, a fox and a bag of grain, and have to take all of them across the river without anyone being eaten. You can only take one in the boat at a time.

This is a classic puzzle but there is a good chance that your team won't have heard of it before, especially if they are young.

Click here for the answer to the riddle.

5. Three Stellar Moments

If you are looking for team-building icebreakers for meetings, this activity is ideal for creating an energized yet appropriately serious vibe.

Ask all participants to think of three moments when they exceeded all expectations during their career and share with the group. Allow about 10 minutes for everyone to think of their best memories.

It allows everyone a moment to reflect on their personal successes and to hear and learn about the achievements of their colleagues. Hopefully it will create an atmosphere that quickly becomes mutually supportive and empowering, an ideal warm-up for a course with difficult or challenging content.

Is it fun? Well, yes – after all, most people love the opportunity to talk about their finest moments.

6. Stranded on a Desert Island

Get everyone into small groups of between three to six and tell them the scenario, providing sheets of paper and pens.

In five minutes they are going to be stranded on a desert island and must think of three things to take with them. Ask them to decide on three things and the reasons why.

Each group must decide on a leader who will share the three things with the wider group.

This activity is a great icebreaker as it allows people who don't like talking in front of unfamiliar people to participate without feeling under pressure.

It is also an opportunity for you to observe people's brainstorming and problem-solving skills within each group, giving you valuable insights into their personality type and how they think.

7. Picture This

Hand out pencils, Sharpies and plain paper, and ask everyone to draw a picture that expresses who they are as a person.

Allow about 10 minutes for this part of the activity.

Get everyone to take turns to share their picture with the person sitting to their right. Take this to the next level by asking them to share their partner's picture and its meaning to the wider group.

This activity encourages positive communication and will allow you to see who has good listening and communication skills.

Some people will love this activity, while others will find it more of a challenge and will worry about being made a fool of – every group is different.

If you find that this activity is met with moans and groans when you announce it, have a backup activity ready (for example, one of these other fun icebreaker games).

8. Tell a Bad Joke

Icebreakers are often considered to be embarrassing, and the bad joke contest is a fantastic way to exploit the natural cringe factor that a lot of people experience when they are faced with an exercise.

Set some ground rules (for instance, nothing offensive or not safe for work) and challenge your group to tell the worst or funniest joke they can think of.

Research using smartphones is absolutely permitted and laughter is obligatory. You will find that the lamest grade-school jokes always get the biggest laughs.

Here's one to get you started:

"What did the rug say to the floor? Don't move, I've got you covered."

This is a quick icebreaker activity that will instantly create a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Each participant takes it in turns to tell their joke, and the group must decide which one is the worst.

This is a quick icebreaker activity that will instantly create a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

9. Office Charades

Exactly the same as the traditional parlor game with one exception: you are only allowed to describe objects commonly found in the office (this is harder than it sounds).

Ask for a volunteer to start things off. They are only allowed to use silent gestures to describe the object. Any words that are spoken aloud mean instant disqualification.

10. Mindfulness

This activity is not strictly a game but in today's high-pressure work environment, the opportunity to take a few minutes to be a little zen should not be sniffed at.

Start the meeting with a calming few minutes where everyone can meditate. Play some calming music and turn off any bright lights.

Ask everyone to listen and identify any sounds that they can hear, and to remain in the present moment.

You could also ask everyone to write down three things that they are currently stressed about. When the meditation is over, ask everyone to tear their piece of paper up and place it in a bowl in the center of the table.

This is an effective way of getting everyone to leave their stress and worries to one side before the start of the main event.

11. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a really simple game where every person needs to choose three statements about themselves.

Two of the statements must be true, and one is a lie.

Everyone else must decide which of the three statements is a lie.

This is a great game to learn more about the other people in the meeting, and the answers can be serious or fun, depending on how the person is describing themselves.

12. What’s My Name

Every team member in the group has the name of a celebrity taped to their back, and they need to ask other people closed questions (with yes or no answers) to try and find out which celebrity they are.

This is an excellent ice breaker that also helps people get involved to ask the right questions, using teamwork and communication skills to be one of the first to find out your name.

13. Who Did It?

Every person in the group writes down something that they have done on a small piece of paper or card.

This can be something mundane, like ‘Once worked at McDonald’s’ or something more exciting like ‘I once swam with dolphins in Florida.’

All the statements are put into a hat and pulled out one at a time. The rest of the participants must guess who did it.

14. Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament

Everyone knows how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, and many people might even have a winning technique that they rely on.

The tournament gives everyone the opportunity to play in the knockout rounds.

As people get knocked out, they become fans and cheer the remaining competitors on, getting increasingly raucous and erupting into giggles.

15. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are great fun, and they can be adapted to suit the surroundings.

For example, you can arrange a scavenger hunt in the office or room you are in, use the whole building, or even send participants to a local park.

Scavenger hunts can also take place remotely in video meetings.

Split participants into teams so that they can work together to find the different items on the list, and for the best results offer the winners a little prize – whether that is a voucher or just a badge to wear for the rest of the event.

16. No Smiling

This is not so much a game as a quick way to loosen people up before starting.

Ask all the participants to stand facing each other in a circle and tell them that they are not allowed to smile or laugh.

The natural tendency to laugh when you are not allowed to, coupled with nerves and anticipation, will make this a challenge that is guaranteed to end in fun.

You can make it even more fun by trying to make the participants smile and laugh.

17. Marshmallow Challenge

This is an good icebreaker that is also a great team-building exercise.

You should split the participants into equal groups and give them some pieces of equipment to use. This should include some spaghetti sticks, tape, string and a marshmallow.

Using only this equipment and their ingenuity, the participants must work together to build a tower that is as high as possible so that they can beat the other teams.

18. Never Have I Ever

This might have started as a drinking game, but it can be adopted for a fun getting-to-know-you icebreaker game with a few tweaks.

Start off with the rules that the topics must be suitable for work, and every person holds up five fingers.

Take it in turns to give a ‘never have I ever’ statement, and those that have done the described thing have to put a finger down.

This is a game that can spark conversation and make people feel happy and relaxed.

19. Movie Pitch

This icebreaker game can work with individuals or small groups and is really simple.

Give each team 10 minutes or so to come up with a pitch for a movie. You can give them a genre or name an actor that must be involved, or just leave it wide open to see what they produce.

After the time is up, the teams should come together and describe their movie idea and the group must decide which one they think should win.

20. Group Map

A simple exercise that can make for some great discussions is providing a map of the country and inviting participants to place their name or a picture of themselves in the place that they were born.

The leader can then ask about each location in turn, encouraging the participants to talk about their home town and what they like about it.

This can still work with an international group of participants if you use a map of Europe or a world map.

21. Line Up

Creativity, teamwork and non-verbal communication are all skills that are needed to complete this activity.

Participants must create a single file line based on certain pre-determined characteristics.

For example, they might need to line up in order from the shortest to the tallest, or from the oldest to the youngest.

However, they are not allowed to speak at all during this challenge. Other criteria can be added to make it harder if necessary.

22. Silly Argument

This is a fun one because it encourages some banter and friendly debate.

Splitting the group down the middle, present a silly debate topic (nothing that could get personal or be considered offensive, of course). This might be something like ‘Pizza is better than a cheeseburger'.

Each team member is assigned a side of the argument to debate and some time to discuss tactics and ideas on how to get their point across.

Then, both sides come together to debate the argument in the best way, while the arbiter is the leader and who gets to keep order in the court and decide on an eventual winner.

23. Helium Stick

A physical activity that needs something like a broom handle or a long stick, this is another teamwork-based icebreaker activity that will make people laugh.

Hold the stick at about shoulder height and instruct every participant to hold one finger on the underside of the stick. This will support it comfortably if everyone is well spread out.

Then, the challenge is to lower the stick to the ground, without grabbing or pinching it. If it falls or it is grabbed, they must start again.

24. Would You Rather?

This game can be expanded to cover any number of topics, from work-related decisions to things like holidays, food or random ones.

Ask each participant what they would rather have or do out of two options, and then let them describe their reasoning afterwards.

This is a great way for even the most introverted participants to get involved, as other people in the group will soon weigh in with their own opinions.

An alternative to this is ‘Have you ever?’ but remember to keep the questions relatively professional.

25. Red Light, Green Light

Childhood games adapted for the workplace always go down well as icebreakers and this simple game is no exception.

The rules are simple:

The leader stands at the front of the room, with their back to the participants who are lined up at the rear of the room. When the leader says, ‘green light,’ the participants can make their way across the room. When the leader spins round and says, ‘red light,’ the participants must freeze. If the leader spots movement, then that participant is out.

The winner is the first person to either cross the finishing line or touch the wall, depending on the environment.

26. Hot Take

Much like the silly argument activity, Hot Take is designed to encourage the sharing of opinions, hopefully with some laughs.

A hot take in this situation is a statement that might be considered a little bit controversial (but obviously not offensive and suitable for the workplace).

For example, you might want to kick off the discussion by saying ‘Pineapple belongs on pizza'.

27. Simon Says

Another childhood memory, Simon Says is a great icebreaker that focuses on fun but also on active listening skills.

The leader tells the participants to complete an action, starting with the phrase ‘Simon says'.

If someone does not complete the action, they are out.

Participants can also be out if they complete an action that wasn’t prefaced with the phrase ‘Simon says.’

28. Clumps

This is a great movement ice breaker, especially when working with large groups of participants.

Ask everyone to mill about and mingle in a wide-open space. The leader will then call out a number under 10, and everyone needs to get themselves into a ‘clump’ that has the right number of people in it.

Anyone that is not in the clump is out, and the winner is the last participant standing.

29. Coin

This is a good ‘getting to know you’ game that needs little preparation – just some coins.

Ask every participant to take a coin, and then talk about something significant that happened to them when the coin was first minted (according to the date on the coin).

You might want to make sure that the older coins are taken from the pile before this begins, depending on the ages of the participants.

30. The Name Game

In this icebreaker game, select a theme (perhaps actors or just celebrities in general) and then every person in the circle must provide a name that matches the theme.

The difficulty is that the name must start with the last letter of the previous name.

For example, if the previous name was 'Brad Pitt', the next name would have to start with a 'T'.

No names can be repeated and if answers aren’t given in five seconds that player is out.

31. Tower of Questions

Tower building games (like Jenga) are fun to play, and simple to grasp. You can turn them into icebreaker games by writing questions on the blocks.

When the participant removes the block, they must answer the question on it before they can place it on the top.

The questions can be relevant to the meeting or to the business, or they can be about getting to know the participants a bit better.

32. Things in Common

When working with a large group of participants, particularly if they do not know each other very well, finding things in common is an excellent icebreaker that helps make positive connections.

In this activity, participants should be split into groups and given the task of finding ten things that they all have in common.

They shouldn’t be obvious things, like all working for the same company or all wearing shoes, however.

33. Blind Drawing

This is an activity that should take place in pairs.

Both people sit back-to-back and one has an image in front of them that they need to describe to the other so that they can draw it.

The describer cannot use any phrases that might give it away or be too obvious, and the drawer can only use the information that they are given to complete their drawing.

How to Design the Best Ice Breaker

We have given lots of examples above of great meeting icebreaker games to try with your teams, but really any activity can be an ice breaker if it has the following key features:

  • It is fun. An icebreaker that is boring, embarrassing or over-complicated will not have the desired effect and will leave team members feeling uncomfortable rather than motivated. Keep things professional but lighthearted.

  • It only lasts a few minutes. Remember that an icebreaker is just designed as a warm up, it is not the objective of the meeting. Although it is easy to get carried away with the fun, ensure there is a clear end-point and you allow time for business discussions to take place afterwards.

  • It is engaging. The icebreaker must keep everyone engaged and interested and should ensure that all members of the meeting are able to willingly participate.

  • It is easy to understand. Spending ages explaining the rules or causing the participants to become confused is a no-no.

  • It is inclusive. Ensure that all members of the team are able to participate and all content is suitable for the diverse range of people within the team, as well as workplace rules and etiquette.

Final Thoughts

If chosen well, team-building icebreakers for meetings can result in more productive and memorable sessions.

Icebreakers can be cliched, sure, but if they are carefully considered and led by a thoughtful facilitator, they can set the tone of the meeting and enable everyone to gain more than they might have done otherwise.


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