• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
Admin Pro Forum

Which icebreakers can really start a meeting on the right note?

Get PDF file

by on
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: "I'm trying to come up with some fresh, unusual icebreakers for our inter-office admin meetings. Going around the room introducing ourselves and telling what we do is so stale! What are some better ways to get people into an upbeat, productive mood?” – Jennifer A., Transcriber

Leave your answer below!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Carlson July 16, 2018 at 8:32 am

I might be in the minority, but I have a different take on ice breakers/team building/morale building activities – hopefully, I don’t come across as rude – that is not my intent. Everyone’s time is so valuable – is it really worth the 10-15 minutes to spend doing that? Many people would prefer that the meeting just begins and gets done as quickly as possible so that they can go back to their work. Think about it – having an extra 15+ minutes at your desk on meeting days would make you much more productive! For our team meetings, we do a quick checkout at the end of the meeting so that if anyone has anything additional to contribute, they can do it at that time. Most often, everything has been covered in the meeting already, and no one has anything to add.

I’ve seen meeting clocks where they add up the hourly rate of all people in the room and start the clock ticking when a meeting begins to see how much that meeting actually costs. Much less time is wasted when people are conscious of the meeting’s cost.

There are other ways to build camaraderie – forced fun should not be on that list. To many people, ice-breakers and games intended to build morale end up doing the opposite and make people dread going to these meetings.


Lisa S July 26, 2018 at 2:51 pm

I completely agree. We found that icebreakers were eating up way too much meeting time, and stopped doing it years ago. Especially for my company, which is small enough that most of us have known each other a long time.

I personally was quite relieved that we stopped doing ice-breakers. I remember one meeting when someone decided that the ice-breaker topic was, “What are you going to do for Mother’s Day this weekend? Let’s go around the table and share our plans.” That was a little awkward in some cases, because some in the room didn’t have plans (were single with no kids, parents had passed away, etc.). What if someone’s mother (or child) had recently passed away? Other meetings had “get to know each other” games, some of which were interesting, some of which were sort of lame. I definitely wasn’t sorry to see this go.


Carol July 12, 2018 at 5:22 pm

We each wrote something on a piece of paper that few people knew about us, then we put them in a bowl. We each pulled a paper from the bowl and tried to guess who it was about. We learned a lot about each other!


Stephanie Thomas June 29, 2018 at 3:22 pm

At a Facilitator’s training, we did the usual, our name, which district we worked in, but made one change-up asking each person to name one thing they were most passionate about. Let me tell you, some of the answers were laugh out loud funny, others quite surprising. In that short time span, we found out more about each other than we had known in the 5 years we had been meeting.


Renee June 29, 2018 at 8:20 am

I once attended an event that used “Get To Know You Bingo”. The sheet of paper had squares 5 rows across and 5 rows down. In each square were questions such as: “Has more than 3 pet animals”, “Has a tattoo”, “Lived in Texas 10 Years”, etc. There was a line under each question for a person’s name. The rules were: 1) You couldn’t use yourself. 2) You could only use one person. Once you completed two rows of 5 either Up, Down, Diagonally or sideways – shout “Bingo”!


Monica July 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm

Yes, this is fun and gets everyone to mingle.


Judith September 14, 2018 at 6:25 pm

I’m a bit confused about rule 2. You were partnered with one person or one person per square?


Shannon Hendren June 28, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Google “Bus Stop Ice breaker”. It is similar to what Stephanie and Tina submitted. I use it here at Corporate and it is a big hit. I just used colored string instead of duck tape.


Stephanie Francis June 28, 2018 at 4:55 pm

We do Curiosity Conversations. I have a list of questions like What is your Favorite Family Tradition; Cake or Pie; First Car – Clunker, Used, Showroom New; or Most Beautiful Place You have Ever Visited and more along those lines. We get a volunteer to start and then that person throws a stuffed animal to the person they would like to answer next. The questions are numbered 1 through however many people we have in the meeting. Each person picks a number and answers the corresponding question. I change the numbers or questions up for each meeting. It is a lot of fun and gets people sharing parts of themselves. You can also do work related questions but we decided to stay away from that to avoid complainers and those who might be unhappy.


Tina June 28, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Would you rather questions ! First ask the question and then ask for an explanation for their answer. i.e. Would you rather skip everywhere or run everywhere? Would you rather have a horse tail or a unicorn horn? Silly questions, with no right or wrong answer. This provides a bit of humor and a judgement free zone for all participants. The internet has tons of would you rather questions.


Esther June 28, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Have each individual name the most unusual object they have in their desk drawer (or purse or brief case).


Heather June 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm

We do quick wins and it can be either related to work or personnel that the person feels successful about. We also did a thing where you told the person nextnto you three things about yourself and they had to draw it and then presented it to the group. It s about a 5 to 10 minute exercise.


Donna June 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

2 Truths & a Lie?


Leave a Comment