Icebreakers for Corporate Meetings

Using an icebreaker at the opening of a corporate meeting—whether small or conference-sized—can mean the difference between getting off to a fantastic start with engaged participants or another dull compulsory gathering of people staring at their mobile devices.

When people know who they are sharing space with for an hour, a day, a week, they feel like a team and perform better together. Work gets done more efficiently and you get the results you want.

01
of 06

Three Words

Businesspeople talking.

 Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

If you had to describe yourself in three words, which three would you choose? You might be surprised by how the people around you describe themselves. This icebreaker is quick and easy, and perfect for a small group. It also helps foster understanding between people who work together.

02
of 06

People Bingo

Professionals laughing at something on ipad.

Westend61 / Getty Images

People Bingo is a good choice for large groups, especially conferences, where you have space for people to move about and meet each other. It's completely customizable.

People Bingo gets people to meet each other and learn something about each other. Instead of numbers, the bingo cards are printed with characteristics like "Is Afraid of Spiders" or "Is Allergic to Cats" or with something a person may or may not have done such as "Has Been to Five Countries" or "Has Never Used a Rotary Phone." The game can be made as silly as the group wishes.

The bingo cards are distributed to all participants along with pens, and each person then sets out to find a person to match one of the descriptions in each square. When a match is found, the person signs their name to the square.

Just like in regular bingo, the first person to fill out a line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally yells, "Bingo!" If their card is verified, they are declared the winner.

03
of 06

Two Truths and a Lie

Businesswoman presenting in meeting room
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

This can be truly hilarious in any group, whether the participants are team members or strangers. You never know what your fellow participants have experienced. See if you can identify the lies. This icebreaker game is especially fun if you are working with creative types.

Each person takes turns making three statements about themselves, two of which are true, one of which is a lie. The others try to guess which is the false statement.

One strategy to fool others about the lie can include making the true statement seem outlandish, while the lie seems mundane. Another method is to remain calm and not give anything away with body language.

But the reverse of these strategies can also be used to try to guess the lie. For instance, if someone says: "I used to dye my hair pink, I stole $1,000 and never got caught, and I like Rice Krispies," the theft sounds like the lie, so is probably the truth. Reverse psychology might tell you the most boring of the three—liking Rice Krispies—is probably the lie.

04
of 06

Marooned

Business people stranded on island

Gabriela Medina / Getty Images

If you were marooned on a deserted island, who would you want with you?

This icebreaker is a great game to play when people don’t know each other, and it fosters team building in groups that already work together. People's choices can be very revealing about who they are and what they find interesting or compelling.

Typically, people will mention a spouse or other loved one and either famous people or someone with critical survival skills or someone who could help get them off the island or summon help.

05
of 06

Expectations

Woman with hand on mouth in classroom.

Cultura / yellowdog / The Image Bank / Getty Images 

Expectations are powerful, especially when you have a gathering of adults. Understanding your participants' expectations of the event is key to your success.

Elect a scribe to write on the board and have participants volunteer some expectations they have for the meeting. Some good choices are, "Respect the person speaking," or "No inappropriate comments." 

06
of 06

Time Machine

Man laughing with hand over face.

PeskyMonkey / E Plus / Getty Images

If you could climb aboard a time machine and take off for any time period at all, when and where would you go? The past? The future? This is the perfect icebreaker for groups gathered to discuss history, sociology, or technology.