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Nobody likes to admit it, but the business world can be a scary place. You might be the head honcho of a successful company, but there will still be situations that give you the jitters. As human beings, we’re built to be defensive around new people and situations. This is a protective mechanism and a very important one too, but it can be a real pain when it comes to networking and conferences.
This is why clever ice breaking exercises are often used to get team members warmed up and feeling comfortable. If you’ve never heard the term ‘ice breaker’ before, think back to the kind of activities that children are encouraged to play on the first day of school. They might sit in a circle and, one by one, introduce themselves with their name and an interesting fact.
Essentially, corporate ice breakers are just a more sophisticated version of this ‘getting to know you’ technique.
Keep reading for some cool and creative ice breaking ideas that your clients, employees, and visitors will love.
1. HR Bingo
If you want to get a team feeling comfortable and keen to talk openly, you need to make everybody feel like they’re on the same level. This is surprisingly easy to do, because something as simple as knowing a silly fact about a person is enough to humanise them and prevent them from being intimidating.
HR Bingo works by giving everybody grids filled with various statements (‘I have a pet.’ ‘I have visited Australia.’). Players move around the room, talking to one another, until they have found a story to match every statement.
2. Photo Booth Fun
For workplaces that want to keep things strictly casual, there is always the option of photo booth hire. In fact, photo booths are not just a lot of fun to play with, they can facilitate great ice breaking games.
For instance, have all of the team members take a silly snap and (in secret) write a surprising fact about themselves on a white board. Then, invite them, as a group, to decide which snaps match up with which revelations. It won’t be long before they’re feeling like old friends.
3. Find the Owner
Instead of handing out name tags in the conventional way, you can hand them out randomly and ask team members and guests to search for the owner. When they finally match the face to the name, they have to interview the individual so that they can introduce them to the rest of the group later.
This is a really effective activity for larger groups, because it breaks down interactions and makes sure that everybody has an interesting and engaging conversation.
4. Personal Best
For a quick and easy way to get large groups sharing, split them up into smaller numbers and ask them to talk amongst themselves about their best moments.
This is guaranteed to get everybody feeling positive, motivated, and inspired. It is nice to share good things about yourself, so you’ll notice a really warm and friendly atmosphere develop quite fast. This activity will also give team members a chance to hit upon mutual interest and similar achievements.
5. All Together Now
This is a great activity for smaller groups and teams of people that need to get comfortable with each other very fast. For instance, if you’re bringing together strangers to work on an important project, the ice should be broken quickly, so as to get things moving.
In groups, challenge team members to find three common attributes. So, three things – they can be interests, hobbies, achievements, or life events – that every member can relate to.
Why the Ice Needs to Melt Before the Magic Can Happen
While you can’t take full responsibility for the relationships that team members build – they have a duty to independently foster strong ties – it can really help interactions if there’s a clear place to start. It can be tough to bring large groups of strangers together, because we all come with our own prejudices and stereotypes, but searching for common ground in a fun, relaxed atmosphere is the right way to melt the ice.
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