We’ve all been to an event where attendees who don’t know each other are standing around and staring at their phones instead of interacting with each other. This can be every event planner’s nightmare.
Luckily, there are some quick and simple games that can fix this problem. Icebreakers can jumpstart event networking by sparking conversations. They’re great ways to start meetings, conferences, and any events where there are people who don’t know each other.
Icebreakers can quickly give attendees insight on their peers and energize event participants. The best icebreakers are memorable and fun.
These seven icebreakers listed don’t take a lot of effort to plan and play, but they can create a better event experience and help encourage attendees to return.
7 Creative Event Icebreakers
#1. Two Truths and a Lie
“Two truths and a lie” is a classic icebreaker. If you haven’t played it before, here’s how it works:
Each participant states two truths about themselves and one lie, not saying which statements are true and false. The other group members must pick which statement is a lie and the speaker then reveals the lie.
This game is best when the truth statements are unique, for example, “I once owned a pet hedgehog” instead of “I live in a house.” It’s also the most fun when participants have a difficult time guessing what is true and what is a lie.
#2. 10 Things in Common
This one requires attendees pair up with someone they don’t know, which can be done by event staff or attendees. Each pair must determine things they have in common with each other. This icebreaker helps people identify common ground and is especially helpful for groups with diverse attendees.
Tip: make sure attendees don’t cheat by noting obvious commonalities like “we’re both human” or “we’re both attending this event.”
#3. Name Tags
Name tags are a staple at many events, but they don’t have to include only a person’s name. Spice up name tags with an icebreaker that involves asking attendees a question about themselves. Then have them write the answers on their name tags.
Attendees can then see each other’s name tags and talk about their answers. It’s like a free conversation starter!
The icebreaker question can even be included during event registration, so it’s easy for event organizers to print out name tags with the answers.
#4. Finish the Sentence
On each table, there is a different topic on a card turned upside down. Those sitting at a table must finish the sentence on the card. For example, the prompt could be “My guilty pleasure is…” or “My favorite animal is…”
Those sitting at each table must go around and answer the question one at a time. This is a great way to help strangers feel more comfortable sitting together.
This game requires some delicious candy. Each color M&M represents a different question. Attendees each choose their favorite M&M color and answer the question that coordinates with the color.
Event planners can easily come up with topics or questions for each of the six colors, or use instructions online.
#6. Interview Someone
Host faux “interviews” between people sitting next to each other. Ask attendees to identify three things about the person they interviewed and share it with the rest of the table or room.
This icebreaker is great because it allows attendees to get to know someone new in a personal way. It also tests their memory.
#7. Group Bingo
Fill a standard Bingo card with simple facts and statements that would likely be true about people in the room. For example, “I have a cat” or “I’ve lived in Seattle.” Attendees must go around the room and find a person who has each of the characteristics. The first person to check off all of the boxes is the winner!
Pro tip: the statements you choose can be specific to your event. If you’re hosting a cooking class, try food related statements such as “I’ve cooked a soufflé.” In addition to introducing the event, this icebreaker is a great way to gauge the experience of your attendees.
Don’t Delve Too Deep
Icebreakers are meant to be light-hearted and exciting. Be careful not to choose icebreaker topics that bring up anything that might make attendees uncomfortable. Icebreakers should make people more comfortable, not less.
Put yourself in the attendees’ shoes and think about what you would be comfortable sharing with strangers when planning good icebreakers.
Icebreakers Should Not be Complicated
Another word of caution: If it’s your inclination to come up with an icebreaker that’s completely unique, be careful not to make it complicated. Keep it simple. The best icebreakers are easy to explain, don’t require many materials, and can be completed by attendees without using too much brainpower.
One of these seven icebreakers is sure to supercharge your next event. If your attendees are smiling, talking, and having fun, you’ve succeeded!