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Icebreaker Bingo: What Is It And Steps To Play It At Your Workplace Successfully?

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Icebreaker Bingo: What Is It And Steps To Play It At Your Workplace Successfully

If you’re looking for fun ways to promote socialization in your work environment, icebreaker bingo is a great option to consider. Building on the simple tenets of traditional bingo, it’s a game that stimulates conversations during group gatherings, while simultaneously improving interpersonal office relationships in the long term.

In this post, we’ve put together a guide to creating your own icebreaker bingo activity, along with suggestions for prompts you can include on your bingo cards. With these tools in hand, you should have no problem creating an entertaining session for your colleagues to enjoy.

1. What is Icebreaker Bingo?

Icebreaker bingo is a very simple game designed to facilitate socializing in a group setting.. Essentially, participants attempt to fill in a bingo card that contains statements or questions, such as “Has a pet” or “Do you play team sports?”, by speaking to other people present. When you have met somebody who fulfills a prompt, you write their name into the appropriate square on your bingo card.

2. Why Should You Play Icebreaker Bingo?

As the prelude to a conference or a company getaway, icebreaker bingo helps, well, break the ice! Instead of struggling for conversation starters, everyone has a series of discussion topics at their fingertips. This not only fosters communication skills, but also aids the development of team dynamics, as staff become more familiar with one another’s personalities and hobbies.

3. How Do You Play Icebreaker Bingo with Your Team?

How-Do-You-Play-Icebreaker-Bingo-with-Your-Team

3.1. Prepare Bingo Cards With Different Icebreaker Prompts

If you want to host a game of icebreaker bingo, the first step is to create bingo cards. Come up with your own prompts (scroll down for some of our suggestions), or you can head online for a bit of inspiration. There are even websites that will help you automatically generate generic bingo cards digitally, which can then be accessed by participants through a shared link.

3.2. Distribute the Bingo Cards to Each Participant

How you distribute the bingo cards will depend on whether you decide on physical or digital cards. Digital ones are obviously more sustainable and can be emailed to everyone at the click of a button. Physical cards, on the other hand, are more tangible and ensure you won’t suffer any technical hiccoughs – plus, you can offset the environmental impact by printing the cards on scrap paper.

3.3. Instruct Participants to Mingle and Find Other Individuals Who Match the Prompts

Perhaps the most important part is to ensure everybody understands how to play the game. In order to fill in their card, each player will need to mix and mingle with different groups of people, introducing themselves when necessary, before asking about one of the traits on their bingo card.

3.4. Once a Participant Completes a Line, Call Out "Bingo”

Like traditional bingo, the object is to connect five squares in a row, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The only difference is that instead of numbers, the squares are occupied by personal facts or attributes that you must try to discover in other participants.

Once somebody has managed to mark off five squares in a row, they must shout out “Bingo!” to declare their win.

3.5. Verify by Checking the Signed Squares Against the Prompts

Once someone has shouted “Bingo!”, ask them to bring their card over and verify that they have indeed filled in the squares correctly with the names of colleagues. Alternatively, you might ask participants to have their squares signed by the person who fulfilled the trait described in a square, just to confirm the more competitive participants aren’t trying to pull a fast one.

3.6. Celebrate the Winner and Acknowledge Their Achievement

Once you’ve checked that the person that called “Bingo” has indeed correctly filled in their squares, announce them as the winner. You may also wish to acknowledge the achievement with some form of prize.

3.7. Continue Playing Until Multiple Winners Are Identified

Depending on how much time you have allocated for icebreaker bingo, you may want to continue playing until multiple winners are found, so that staff can get to know one another better. Usually, around 20 to 30 minutes is a good amount of time to give people to mingle with several different attendees.

3.8. Encourage Participants to Share Interesting Stories During the Game

While there is a competitive element to icebreaker bingo, the goal is less about being the first to link five squares together and more about building rapport. Make sure you explain that to everyone beforehand, so that people properly engage in conversations rather than just bluntly asking participants if they fit a description before moving on.

4. Examples of Icebreaker Bingo Questions for Work

Can you play an instrument?

Have you traveled to 3 continents?

Do you enjoy musicals?

Have you ever attended a concert?

Can you name all five original members of One Direction?

Have you ever changed career paths?

Do you know how to code?

Have you ever met a celebrity?

Can you perform a magic trick?

Do you like spicy food?

Have you ever lived in another country?

Are you a Virgo?

Can you speak a second language?

Can you recite a poem by heart?

Do you have a pet?

Do you play any sports?

Are you able to drive a manual car?

Have you ever won an award at work?

Have you ever seen an episode of The Office?

Do you prefer working in the office over remote working?

5. Tips to Make Icebreaker Bingo Fun and Interactive at Work

Tips-to-Make-Icebreaker-Bingo-Fun-and-Interactive-at-Work

5.1. Customize the Bingo Cards

Ideally, each bingo card should be unique in terms of either the descriptions in the squares or the order of those descriptions on the card. If you are creating the cards in a word document, for example, you can have a set list of around 30 to 50 prompts, then copy and paste them into different positions on a bingo card template.

This process can of course be time consuming, but don’t worry if you’re a little strapped for time: it’s also okay to have a few duplicate cards, since each participant is likely to be engaging with a set of different people.

5.2. Include a Mix of Activities

Icebreaker bingo doesn’t have to be the only activity you engage in as part of your team-building efforts. Especially during corporate getaways, consider scheduling a series of icebreaker games over the course of the first day or evening. This will provide a solid foundation for the rest of the retreat, as employees will have had the opportunity to get to know one another in a relaxed social setting before engaging in more serious work-related seminars or workshops together.

5.3. Encourage Teamwork

An alternative to the usual icebreaker bingo format is to get your staff to play in teams. Assign people to groups of 3 or 4, then have them complete their bingo cards together. This is a great way to add collaborative and strategic elements to the activity.

5.4. Offer Prizes

Whether you decide to limit the game to a single winner or open it up to multiple victors, celebrating success with a prize of some sort is a nice touch that will enhance the enjoyment of the participants. Prizes can be anything from a gift voucher to a bottle of wine or even some kind of gag gift.

5.5. Mix Virtual and In-person Participation

It’s entirely possible to play icebreaker bingo in a virtual setting. Simply set up a video conference call with breakout rooms where people can peel off to have separate conversations, before gathering everyone together again. Yes, this does entail a little bit more logistical complexity, but it’s worth it if it means you can include team members who are unable to attend in person.

6. FAQs

6.1. How do you play icebreaker bingo?

Each player receives a bingo card that is 5 squares by 5 squares, for a total of 25 squares. Every square contains either a statement or a question, and participants must meet people who fulfill the criterion in order to cross it off. The winner is the person who manages to make a row of five first and shouts out “Bingo!”

6.2. What is ice breaker game for students?

Icebreaker bingo works just as well in the classroom as it does in the office. Whether you’re a teacher in a school or a seminar leader in a college, it can be a good activity for encouraging people to introduce themselves to one another at the beginner of a course.

6.3. How do you play introduction bingo?

Introduction bingo is basically icebreaker bingo by another name. The same rules apply. In some variations, the focus might be on speaking to people who fit certain categories, rather than trying to discover pastimes or traits. For example, the prompts might say “Speak to someone with black hair” or “Talk to someone from a different department that you’ve never met before.”

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