Social and business gatherings can be awkward, boring and uncomfortable for people if they do not know and interact with their fellow peers or colleagues. Icebreakers are designed to get people involved with one another, which can create a more pleasant, upbeat and comfortable environment.
One of the most basic icebreakers is to go around the room and have everyone say a few things about themselves. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn one another's names, as well as a few other interesting facts about the individual, such as countries visited, favourite food and the type of music they listen to. Have fun and get creative with the facts that are going to be shared -- the more obscure the facts usually the more engaged everyone becomes.
An icebreaker that gets people off of their feet and moving around can kick-start an energetic atmosphere. In this icebreaker, you will need an index card for each person with the name of a famous person, such as a politician, actor, musician, athlete or painter. Each person will be provided with an index card with the name of the person already on it, but she is not allowed to look at the name on her card. The card is to be held on her forehead (so she cannot see what is written on it), and she is to walk around the room and have people give her clues to help her guess the name on her card (similar to 20 questions). Simultaneously, she is to give clues to the other people in the room to help them guess the names on their cards. Once ample time has passed, or all the names have been guessed, the icebreaker is over.
Another simple icebreaker is to go around the room and have everyone say what he would do if he won the lottery today. This is a great icebreaker because it gives insight into the interests and wishes of the people in the group. This icebreaker always becomes a group discussion about the outlandish possibilities that an unlimited amount of money can bring.
Three Things in Common
Have the group go around and try to find three unusual things that they have in common with other members of the group. All three items have to be from a different person in the group; this makes it so that they have to talk to more than one person. The things should not be common, such as race, sex or age, but rather things that reveal a little more about the individual (e.g., they both own a German shepherd or they both like to work on old cars). Once everyone has found three things that he shares with someone in the group, everyone will then present the three items and the person that he shares share the commonalty with to the group. This gets people talking and making connections with several different people in the group.
Item of Significance
Have everyone pull out her wallet or purse and have her locate any item of significance; it can be such things as a picture of her kids, gym membership or credit card. This item will be presented to the group, and the person will give an explanation of why that item is significant to them.
The Year of a Penny
Have everyone pull a penny (or other coin) out of his pocket. Then go around and have everyone read the year that the penny was minted and provide a memorable moment or fun activity that he participated in during that year.