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Icebreakers 101: Five Ways to Introduce Them Effectively

meeting icebreakers 101 by De-de Mulligan and Mulligan Management Group Blog Post


As the name implies, Icebreakers are meant to “break the ice” among individuals that are virtually strangers or perhaps only see each other occasionally. With proper planning, your icebreaker can be an excellent avenue for participants to take their relationships to the next level and start to have fun at your event.

It is essential to introduce the right icebreaker, but it requires proper planning and forethought. Here is your icebreaker roadmap.


Plan for Icebreaker Success


  • Have a clear purpose for your activity. Do you want to:
    • Stimulate conversations?
    • Lead participants into an activity?
    • Involve and focus on the presenter?
    • Make it competitive?
    • Promote team building?
  • Make sure it effortlessly segues into the rest of the meeting and is congruent with your theme.
  • Keep it simple. Your team needs to be able to explain it effectively. Do a dry run with staffers to test out your icebreaker’s effectiveness.
  • Determine what type of icebreaker you will have and when it will occur. Most icebreakers occur at the beginning of each meeting, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
  • Make it short. Anything beyond 15-20 minutes, participants begin to lose interest.


5 Great Icebreakers


  1. Display the following questions on a projector. What is your favorite:
    1. Season?
    2. Animal?
    3. Food?
    4. TV Show?
    5. Hobby?

Ask everyone to answer each question on a piece of paper and put their name on it. Collect all the papers. Ask the facilitator to select a few sheets, read the answers, and ask the audience to guess who it is.


Ideal for a group of 15-25 participants.


  1. Via an online survey tool, ask attendees to write down two questions they hope to have answered at today’s meeting. Once answered, show the results on a large monitor. Have someone keep track of the results and make sure all questions are answered by the end of the session.

    This is ideal for a group of 5-25 participants.

  2. Go around the room and have each person introduce themselves to the group by their first name only. But before they do so, they must include two adjectives before their name that start with the beginning letter of their name. An example could be Deadline Driven De-de. This can be a lot of fun and keep people focused on the names of other attendees.

    Ideal for a group of 25-150 participants.

  3. Bring enough pennies for everyone in the room. Spread them out on a large table. Have everyone come forward to get one. Have them tell the group something special that happened to them on the year imprinted on the penny at each introduction.

    Ideal for a group of up to 100 participants.

  4. If you use roundtables, assign seating, so people who do not know each other or work in the same company are not at the same table. This works best with 8-10 people per table. Ask participants to pair up and learn as much about each other for 2 minutes. Then, have them introduce each other to the table.

    Ideal for roundtable settings with an even number of seats at the table (6, 8, or 10).


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