There’s no avoiding the need for ice breakers in social settings. Unless you plan on never leaving your home, you will have to meet new people at some point in your life. An ice breaker is just a technique to introduce yourself to a new person or warm-up to to a group of people.
Any time you’re introduced to a new group of people, you can usually expect some level of anxiety. People need an opportunity to get to know each other. In a business setting, a group must be comfortable around each other before they can be expected to produce meaningful results for the company. Ice breakers are necessary for easing adults into an unfamiliar set of social circumstances. When people enjoy their work, as well as feel comfortable with their co-workers, the job environment is a lot more pleasant and productive. Using ice breakers are a great way to cut the tension, open up new lines of communication and create a sense of comfort with those around you.
Playing ice breaker games is a great way for adults to get to know each other better. One of the most effective games is “Catch Phrase“. It’s an electronic game which incorporates Pictionary and Charades together. Because it’s electronic, it’s very easy to set up. The game is played using two teams. The goal for each player is to get their team to say the word or word phrase displayed on the electronic screen on the console. One member of a team starts the timer and tries to get his or her team to guess the displayed word or phrase.
A clue-giver can make any physical gesture and give almost any verbal clue, but may not say a word that rhymes with any of the words, give the first letter of a word, say the number of syllables, or say part of any word in the clue. When the team guesses correctly, the other team is quickly handed the console. Play continues until the timer runs out. When one of the teams is caught holding the device when the timer buzzes, the other team earns a point. Because the clue topics involve a wide-variety of trivia, nearly every team member can contribute.
Depending on who contributes and when, players can see with whom they have things in common based on the topics and themes of the phrases. Discovering common ground with others is the first step in breaking the ice.
When first starting out, smaller teams are preferable Large groups could be both scary and intimidating to some. Getting to know each other is easier in smaller groups. Once the ice is broken, you can then switch groups or combine small groups into larger ones.
It can be a good idea to do something fun as an ice breaker tactic. If the activity is athletically demanding, be mindful of the physical abilities of the people involved. You don’t want to alienate anyone. Bowling is always comical as is mini-golf. Getting away from the office, the meeting or the professional task at hand for a few hours may lead to increased productivity. Coupling breakfast or coffee with icebreaking activities makes the environment feel more social. Eating is usually a group activity anyway. Just a few snacks will make the interaction seem less “official” and more friendly.
Never take for granted the significance and importance of ice breaking. This forms the foundation of the professional social environment and sense of “team”.