Icebreaker questions are activities used to welcome and warm up the conversation among participants in a meeting or training workshop. They can be designed as simple team-building activities to help employees or groups establish a positive and productive team dynamic. Icebreakers range from simple one-question answers to something detailed but must not be too elaborate. Any event that requires people to interact with each other and has a facilitator is an opportunity to use an icebreaker.
Icebreakers play significant roles in events in which communication and participant comfort level are important factors. They help to ensure that all attendees are equal participants and they are fully engaged so that they own the outcomes of the meeting or session. These activities break down barriers that exist in the workplace through its hierarchy, organization chart, job titles, and various departmental entities.
Related: Team Building Icebreakers
Types of Icebreakers
Questions and short answers
These types of icebreakers involve different questions that you ask everyone within the group. Some questions might be funny, some may adopt a more professional or formal demeanour. The question and answer format works well with groups of individuals who don't know each other that well. Later, the questions can be changed to those which help to get to know each other on a deeper level. It all depends on how personally involved the group wants to get.
This type of activity is normally used when the group has worked together for some time. Typically, Personal icebreaker questions are aimed at getting to know each other's preferences and experiences . They help bring the group closer and become more connected to each other and create points of connection between participants. This type of activity is usually aimed at executive teams or small groups.
Icebreakers for Conversations
The first type of Icebreaker is just for fun. When participants know each other, the laughter and conversation generated by the Icebreaker will warm up the group. If the participants are strangers, they learn something about each other and feel more ready to engage in.conversation.
Related: Activities for Employee Engagement
Small group icebreakers normally range from 2-10 individuals. These Icebreakers are aimed for small groups, executive boards, or small staffs. These tend to include games, talking, drawing, singing and other activities. These activities are meant to still be fun for the group, but don't need many participants. When people think of Icebreakers, they think active games but this is not always the case. An icebreaker can be as simple as, "let's all draw our favourite animal and talk about why we chose it".
These icebreakers are meant for groups of 10+ individuals. This type of Icebreaker is meant to involve more people while still having fun. You can make teams, or do things like guessing games in large groups. A good "hack" for large groups is that you can always break them down. If you have a small group activity, you can split up your large group into smaller ones to do the smaller activity.
Active games are the types of Icebreakers where the group or organization is moving around a lot. These icebreakers tend to be used more when the group is tired of sitting around or is about to sit for a decent amount of time. Active Icebreakers are often used before meetings, or as a break.
100 Fun Icebreaker Questions
Here are some of fun icebreaker questions.
- Can you share a funny story about yourself?
- What was the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?
- Who's the most famous person you know and how do they know them?
- How was your first day in the office?
- What was the last public event you went to?
- Where was your last vacation?
- How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
- What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you on the way to work?
- What is something that always makes you happy?
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
- Do you fold your pizza?
- What fictional family would you most like to join?
- Would you rather be reincarnated as a cat or a dog?
- Pull out your phone; what is your most used emoji?
- Who was your childhood famous crush?
- Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
- What celebrity do most people say you look like?
- If you could try any food, what would it be?
- What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
- You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
- What is your go-to karaoke anthem?
- What is your favourite type of sandwich?
- Pick your favourite decade. Tell us why.
- You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
- What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
- Who is the most interesting Disney character?
- What is the best super power?
- What dog breed would you be?
- Have you ever met your idol?
- What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
- Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
- Do you prefer big dogs or small dogs?
- Show us your most-used emoji.
- Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
- Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
- What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
- What is a weird fact you know?
- What sport would you compete in if you were in the Olympics?
- Who is the better businessman or business woman and why? (Example: Justin Timberlake or Justin Bieber?)
- What was the worst job you ever had?
- You can have anyone fictional as your imaginary friend, who do you choose and why?
- What would your superpower be and why?
- Which band / artist – dead or alive would play at your funeral?
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What's your favourite tradition or holiday?
- What fictional world or place would you like to visit?
- What is your favourite breakfast food?
- What is your favourite time of the day and why?
- Coffee or tea?
- Teleportation or flying?
- What is your favourite TV show?
- What book, movie read/seen recently you would recommend and why?
- What breed of dog would you be?
- If you had a time machine, would go back in time or into the future?
- Do you think you could live without your smartphone (or other technology item) for 24 hours?
- What is your favourite dessert?
- What was your favourite game to play as a child?
- What was the worst style choice you ever made?
- Are you a traveller or a homebody?
- What's one career you wish you could have?
- What fictional world or place would you like to visit?
- What's your favourite place of all the places you've travelled?
- Have you ever met your idol or someone you revere greatly?
- Have you ever completed anything on your "bucket list"?
- Do you have a favourite plant?
- What did you have for breakfast this morning?
- What was the country you last visited outside of United States?
- What's is one thing we don't know about you?
- What is your favorite meal to cook and why?
- Are you a morning person or a night person?
- What is your favorite musical instrument and why?
- Are you a cat person or a dog person?
- What languages do you know how to speak?
- What was the worst haircut you ever had?
- If you could have any superpower, which one would you want to have?
- If you were a superhero, what would your name be?
- If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
- Choose a celebrity to have dinner with and why.
- You've won 100 million dollars; what would you do with it?
- If you were from the opposite gender, what would you do differently?
- If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
- If you had to change your career, what would you choose?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- What's your favourite place to visit if given an opportunity?
- What's the craziest or weirdest dream you've ever had?
- If you could be invisible for one hour, where would you go, and what would you do?
- If you could bring 3 things with you before getting stuck on a desert island, what would they be?
- Can you share a crazy travel story from your last trip abroad?
- If you won the lottery tonight, who would you call first?
- If you could visit any country in the world right now, which one would it be and why?
- If you were a piece of furniture, which one would you be?
- Which superhero sidekick would you want to have?
- If you could meet one person, past or present, who would it be and why?
- Who was your childhood actor/actress crush?
- If you were a wrestler what would be your entrance theme song?
- Have you ever been told you look like someone famous, who was it?
- If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
- If you could bring back any fashion trend what would it be?
- If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life what would it be?
- What's the most embarrassing fashion trend you used to rock?
Icebreaker questions can generally be funny, quirky, and imaginative. They can be used in various situations such as work meetings, team-building activities, back-to-school, morning meetings, or any occasion. Icebreaker questions can be used to break barriers and understand the personalities and characteristics of each member. In the long run, it helps build compassion and relationships between team members, which results in improved communication and teamwork. Good icebreaker questions allow for self-expression, don't have a wrong answers and anyone can answer. They are an effective way of building relationships because they force us to reveal a piece of ourselves. They also make people momentarily vulnerable before others, which is how humans bond with each other and feel safe and accepted.