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Icebreaker questions establish a friendly informal climate for the formal learning to follow. When you’re holding a team meeting at work with lots of people who might not know each other well, things tend to go more smoothly when everyone feels connected and relaxed. Conversation and ideas flow more readily, tasks get accomplished, and your team becomes stronger as a result.
But how do you get these conversations and comfort started? They usually won’t happen on their own in the middle of a work meeting where you’re trying to accomplish tasks. You need to put space on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting for a few team icebreaker questions and watch the magic happen. We have some ideas for icebreakers in your next meeting, below.
What are icebreaker questions?
Icebreaker questions are questions you ask a group at the beginning of a team meeting or work gathering that break the ice between people who might not know each other well. They help participants get to know a little about each other, warm up the group, and engage employees without too much effort on the part of the meeting facilitator.
Icebreaker questions for teams can be related to something happening in the meeting or in the workplace, or they can simply be fun and personal. Picking the right icebreaker depends on the purpose of the meeting, how well everyone in the meeting knows each other, and how much time you have for the icebreaker activity.
That’s why we’ve created this list of the best icebreaker questions that cover all the possible ways you can use team-building icebreaker questions at work. Whether you’re looking for something funny and friendly or more work-focused, you’ll find plenty of options for your next meeting here.
Best team-building icebreaker questions
These icebreaker questions are fun, but they also have a goal - to help your team build trust and relationships with each other by understanding each other more deeply. Use these questions when you want to build rapport on the team and have everyone get to know each other better.
1. If you woke up as an animal tomorrow, which animal would you want to be and why?
2. What is the best compliment you’ve received from someone in the office?
3. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while working from home?
4. What’s your dream vacation and why?
5. What outdoor activities are your favorite, and how often do you get to do them?
6. What is your favorite color and why is it your favorite?
7. Share three things about you that you think no one here knows.
8. What was your least favorite class in college and why?
9. What was your favorite class in college and why?
10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your life?
11. What would be the title of your autobiography if you wrote one?
12. What’s the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
13. Who is the most inspirational person you’ve ever met, and why?
14. What was your dream job growing up?
15. What’s the worst job you ever had?
16. If you weren’t in this job, what other career could you see yourself pursuing?
17. What’s something that’s at the top of your bucket list?
18. What are you passionate about outside of work?
19. How many siblings do you have, and where do you land in the birth order?
20. What would you like to be known or remembered for?
Fun icebreaker questions for work
Looking for a fun, light-hearted way to bring your team together during meetings and events? These fun icebreaker questions are work-appropriate and don’t ask for too much personal detail, which can be an issue when people are sharing things at work.
21. If you could live anywhere on the planet, where would it be and why?
22. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?
23. What’s the most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
24. What’s your ideal last meal?
25. What is your favorite breakfast?
26. What is a popular food that you really dislike?
27. If you could have dinner with any figure from history, who would you choose and why?
28. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
29. What’s your favorite song to get you pumped up for the day or a tough task?
30 What’s a funny family tradition you have that other people find amusing or confusing?
31. If you created a slogan for your life, what would it be and why?
32. If money weren’t a consideration, what would you do with your days and how would you spend your life?
33. What’s your favorite book, and why?
34. What’s your favorite movie, and why?
35. What movie/book/song can you absolutely not stand, and why?
36. What’s the craziest fashion trend that you followed and look back on with amusement?
37. What kind of pet would you have if you could have any that you wanted?
38 . What’s something fun or interesting about your family history?
39 . What’s your secret talent that no one here knows about?
40. Do you speak any foreign languages?
41. Are you a morning person or a night person?
42. What’s your favorite scent?
Work-related icebreaker questions
Sometimes, you want to break the ice by talking about work-related topics and keep the discussion focused on work activities. These work-related icebreaker questions will help you do just that while still keeping the mood friendly and fun.
43. What would you like to accomplish in your job this year?
44. What’s your most significant current challenge at work and why?
45. What part of your current job is your favorite and why?
46. Who was the best boss you ever had, and what were the characteristics that made them so great?
47. What’s your favorite activity you get to do at work, and why is it your favorite?
48. What’s the best thing about working from home?
49. What’s the worst thing about working from home?
50. What’s something you’re really proud of accomplishing in your career?
Using icebreakers for teams effectively
When planning an icebreaker activity for your next team meeting, here are a few tips to make it as effective as possible.
1. Know the ice you’re trying to break
What is the purpose of your icebreaker activity? It should be more than just making the meeting flow smoothly - there is also thought needed about the kind of ice you’re trying to break. This could be one of three kinds:
- Getting a group of people who don’t know each other acquainted, like one or more new employees.
- Getting a group of people with different backgrounds to understand each other’s perspectives.
- Getting a group of people at different levels of the organization to overcome their status differences and be comfortable with each other.
You will need different questions for each kind of icebreaker in order to make your activity more effective, so think carefully when you’re choosing your icebreaker.
2. Keep it polite and professional
Different people have different comfort levels with sharing personal details and stories in the workplace. And to keep everyone comfortable, those differences should be respected in an icebreaker activity.
You should be sure to keep any questions broad enough that people aren’t pressured into sharing very personal stories if they don’t want to do so. You can still get to know more about people’s lives while having empathy for their comfort levels in these discussions. That way, your team will feel closer together instead of a few people feeling uncomfortable.
3. Allot enough time
Some icebreaker questions are answered quickly and easily and can take just 5 minutes. Others are more involved and lead to longer discussions, and could take 30 minutes to an hour. Since meetings are time-limited, be sure to pick a question that aligns with the length of your meeting.
After all, if you take up most of a short meeting time with an icebreaker, everyone might feel great but you won’t get much done. On the other hand, if you’re holding a multi-day meeting where participants will have a lot of interaction, you might need a longer icebreaker so everyone gets very comfortable with each other first.
4. Adjust for group size
Every icebreaker question is a little different - some will lead to short answers, and others will lead to in-depth discussions. If you’re holding a meeting with a very large group, icebreakers can be a challenge. You can either choose questions that will give short, succinct answers so you can get to everyone in the group, or you can break your group into smaller teams for discussions.
Either way, it’s important to ensure that everyone in the group has a chance to participate fully in whatever icebreaker you choose. Otherwise, the main point of the activity is lost, and you won’t gain the full value from the time spent.
Icebreakers at work are a great team-building activity. You can pick from one of the many questions we gathered for you to find the perfect icebreaker activity for your next team meeting, or brainstorm your own fun ideas.
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