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15 Best Icebreaker Tools for Fun and Engaging Work Meetings

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Reviewed by Kara Funk

Senior HR Consultant, People & Culture

Icebreaker tools

What does Shakespeare and team building have in common? The term ' ‘Break the Ice’’! This term is almost 400 years old and was first featured in Shakespeare’s 1590 play ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. The term’s connotation was meant to overcome a socially awkward situation, and the connotation holds true today - we’ve just shortened the term to ‘icebreaker.’ Any interaction - a dialog, game or activity that’s essentially designed to facilitate easy and comfortable communication is an icebreaker. Today icebreaker tools are used in companies to help in fostering more meaningful relationships, a more collaborative and productive workplace and a positive work culture.

Read on to discover the 15 best icebreaker tools that are designed to up the fun quotient at the workplace, forge more meaningful relationships and build a more positive work culture.

Discover the article on the best virtual brainstorming tools that will supercharge your team's ideation process and unlock a world of innovative ice breaker questions.

1. What are Icebreaker Tools and How to Select Them?

What are Icebreaker Tools and How to Select Them?

Icebreaker tools are specifically designed questions, activities or games that   aim to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all involved. Icebreaker tools are often used in meetings, team building or training sessions and are  especially useful if there are new members of a group or team participating. Icebreaker tools are vital in engaging people, raising their comfort levels, boosting communication and fostering a more inclusive environment regardless of  titles, designation or hierarchy.While there is no secret sauce to selecting a good icebreaker tool as different tools  work well for different scenarios, we provided afew considerations below:

  • Fun - for maximum effectiveness, an icebreaker needs to allow for a bit of humor and fun.Ensure that icebreaker tools are questions, games or activities that not only educate, but can break down barriers and entertain
  • Engage - The icebreaker tools should be designed to get participants involved and engage in conversations with each other as compared to simply accomplishing tasks on their own.
  • Structure - Ensure that the icebreaker tool begins with structure such as a first round of introductions, then some energy-raising exercises and then grouping of teams to play a game.

2. What are Some Benefits of Icebreaker Tools?

What are Some Benefits of Icebreaker Tools?

Some of the benefits of icebreaker tools are listed below

  • Fun short icebreakers can be used to break down barriers when people are interacting with each other for the first time by reducing the levels of social awkwardness and creating a more welcoming environment.
  • Icebreaker tools help team members share fun or interesting facts about themselves and nd instill confidence in participants. 
  • Icebreakers are also great ways to observe and assess people's behavior so you can analyze their strengths or weaknesses to help identify which areas need more focus.
  • A majority of icebreaker tools serve as an opportunity to take a moment away from the strain of work, and often energizes team members and boosts productivity. 
  • Icebreaker tools foster inclusivity and promote a positive work culture as participants include team members with different titles, divisions, genders and hierarchies. 

3. List of 15 Icebreaker App & Platforms

List of 15 Icebreaker App & Platforms

3.1. The One-Word Icebreaker

The one-word icebreaker game is an unstructured yet fun way to spark a conversation and get participants to break the ice. Simply divide the team into groups and ask them to describe a certain person, place, event or thing in one word. This can also be done on an individual basis by asking each participant a question that asks them to describe anything you choose from the sun, music, culture, or even themselves- in just one word! 

Our take on this: The One-word icebreaker tool is helpful in the workspace as it helps employees observe, analyze their situations and articulate their opinions better during meetings or other formal sessions. 

3.2. Ice Shaker

Ice Shaker

This social game is perfect for remote and distributed teams as small as 6 and up to as many as as 200 people, on Zoom or other popular video conferencing platforms. The game has an entertaining host and runs as a series of short icebreaker games for meetings such as Rogue Gallery, Shark Tank, Speed Puzzler and more. Easily customizable based on your team strength, each of these games is a great way for team members to loosen up and engage in some friendly competition. 

Our take on this:  This icebreaker tool helps to hone effective virtual communication across teams that are spread out as they work towards a common goal. 

3.3. Bucket List

In this icebreaker tool participants take a moment to write down a few things on their bucket list and then take turns sharing them aloud with the group. This activity encourages teammates to communicate and share their aspirations or goals and it’s often very interesting to see how many participants may share the same goals or visions for the future. 

Our take on this: This one fosters a sense of unity and team bonding that’s great for goal or deadline oriented environments. 

3.4. Coworker Feud

This is the work version of the classic Family Feud game and is great for remote or hybrid teams. The host takes turns asking teams lighting-fast questions on coworkers such as Name the one thing, or Tell us something unique or the Top reason for x, and the participants need to answer the right ones quickly to score points.

Our take on this: This fun icebreaker game requires quick thinking and is a great warmup up for any brainstorming or problem solving sessions.

3.5. QuizBreaker

Choose from 100 questions or customize the questions using QuizBreakers platform and have team members answer them. This icebreaker game will then automatically send out the same questions with the answers and employees have to guess whose answers they are.

Our take on this: This icebreaker tool acts as the right icebreaker platform for team members to familiarize themselves and bond with each other in a fun way.

3.6. Water Cooler Trivia

This is one that your teams will enjoy playing over and over again. With over 10,000 questions in the database that employees need to answer, there are plenty of categories and skill levels to choose from. The game can be played on Teams, Slack or even through email. The best part is these questions can also be customized based on the nature of the session.

Our take on this:  This simple trivia icebreaker game makes it easy for team members to communicate with each other and promote team bonding and a positive, happy environment.

3.7. Pictionary

Pictionary is a classic game that never seems to get old. All you need is a blank board, random words, and a fun attitude. It’s a game that translates online just as it does in the office with digital whiteboards. This icebreaker game simply requires one team to draw a picture from the words on their cue cards and keep the opposite team guessing. The team that guesses the most correctly are the winners. 

Our take on this: The icebreaker tool is great for both new and existing employees who aim to work well in groups 

3.8. Two Truths And a Lie

This is a popular icebreaker that inspires creativity. Every player has to state two facts or truths and one lie about themselves. The challenge is to figure out the lie among the three statements given. The rib-tickling element here is to craft a believable lie and for the group members to play sleuth and figure it out.

Our take on this: This icebreaker helps team members get to know each other and promotes a spirit of team bonding.

3.9. Sporcle

Sporcle

 

Sporcle is a great icebreaker platform that provides a range of quizzes or icebreaker games on a wide gamut of categories and topics using the web or a mobile device. These topics cover language,  pop culture, geography,  sports, and much more. 

Our take on this: This icebreaker platform is great for simple team bonding and effective collaboration. 

3.10. Classic Trivia

The icebreaker questions in this game  are fun and easy to answer with the services of an online host.. To set the ball rolling, divide the team into small groups and get them to answer a lot of engaging questions on a variety of classic topics such as geography, history and more. Classic Trivia can be played across both hybrid and remote teams easily.  

Our take on this: Instills a sense of unity and bonding as teams compete in groups to answer all the questions correctly. 

3.11. Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light

In this icebreaker game, players line up at one side of a room while the leader is directed to either say, “Green Light”.or “Red Light’’. Players need to walk to the other side of the room when “Green Light” is called out and stay rooted or be ousted out of the game when “Red Light'' is called out. 

Our take on this : This is a great one that hones interpersonal skills since players need quick thinking and active listening to ace the game.

3.12. Myers-Briggs Session

A personality test can double as a wonderful icebreaker tool for employees both new and old. The classic Myers-Briggs Test evaluates people’s responses and arrives at specific personality types that are symbolized in four letters. Simply share the Myers-Briggs test with your team members to answer the questions and then set a time for a discussion of the results. 

Our take on this: This is one of the best icebreaker tools for new joinees and existing employees to bond over discussions and to understand strengths and weaknesses.

3.13. Drawful 2

With this icebreaker tool, groups of three to eight players face the challenge of drawing or sketching their version of a word or phrase that’s been given to them.

Our take on this: This icebreaker requires complete understanding and effective collaboration to draw a concept that everyone has agreed just the way it would work in problem solving at work.

3.14. Pop Quiz

To pique the interests of participants, poll the group on the topics they’re most interested in or passionate about and then create short fun pop quizzes around those topics. Divide the participants into teams that will compete to answer the most questions correctly. There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to break the ice! Online pop quizzes such as AhaSlide, Trivia Crack, and Quiz app are few of these that have multiple categories, and are perfect for remote or hybrid teams.

Our take on this: It’s great to instill a competitive spirit and encourage playful team interactions for a more engaging work experience. 

3.15. You Nailed It

This simple icebreaker tool revolves around sharing positive reviews or feedback about each other without getting into too much detail. Simply start a session and encourage team members to take turns sharing their positive feedback or kudos to other participantswhile the recipients bask in their appreciation.

Our take on this:  The simplistic nature of this activity helps in creating a happy and positive environment by boosting confidence levels.

4. FAQs

4.1. Are there free icebreaker tools?

There are a wide range of icebreaker tools out there to explore. A few of them are;

  •  Two truths and One Lie
  •  Find 10 things in Common
  •  One-Word Icebreaker Game

4.2. How do I find an icebreaker platform for my meeting?

There are plenty of icebreaker platforms to choose from based on the nature of the meetings you need to conduct. Take a look at some of the icebreaker tools listed above.

4.3. Why are office icebreakers important?

Icebreakers are essential in a professional setting because they help build rapport among colleagues, reduce tension, and create a more open and collaborative work environment. 

4.4. What are some of the icebreaker benefits in team-building?

Icebreaker benefits in team-building events include - enhanced communication, reduced tension, promoting creativity etc., which contribute to increased teamwork and productivity among participants.

4.5. How can confidence building icebreakers benefit individuals?

Confidence building icebreakers can empower individuals by helping them overcome shyness, build self-esteem, and develop effective communication skills. 

4.6. What are some popular online icebreaker games for virtual team meetings?

There are several engaging online icebreaker games for virtual settings, such as - two truths and a lie, virtual scavenger hunt, Pictionary, Zoom Bingo, and virtual trivia. These interactive icebreaker games not only add fun to virtual meetings but also build team bonding. 

4.7. What is an icebreaker drawing exercise?

An icebreaker drawing exercise is a group activity where participants are asked to create drawings or visual representations based on specific prompts or themes.  Icebreaker drawing exercises are often used in team-building sessions, workshops, or educational settings to engage participants and facilitate connections.

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