Icebreakers are sometimes overlooked as a non essential, flippant or even embarrassing way to kick off a facilitation or training session.

If these thoughts ever pop into my mind I soon recall the one or two training events I ran where I decided not to use an icebreaker, and how disastrous they were.

Used correctly, icebreakers are a great way for a group to get to know one another, to relax and to get into an optimum mindset for learning.

Here are some of my favourite icebreakers; all with a visual twist.

1. Truth or Lie
A classic icebreaker. Each person calls out two statements about themselves, one is true, one is false. The group have to guess which is which.
Add a visual twist by asking for a volunteer to draw the first person’s two statements on a flip chart or virtual whiteboard. (Once they have finished someone else takes a turn drawing their two statements, and so on.) Guessing can be tracked by drawing True False columns on the page and adding a tick under the column when someone guesses. If done virtually people can add their guesses using Annotation. 
The volunteer has absolutely no idea what the person is going to say, and although at first the thought of drawing on the spot may seem horrifying, in my experience everyone really enjoys this game. The drawings make it a hilarious and memorable experience for everyone.

2. Animal Alphabet Game
Start by drawing an animal beginning with the letter A, again using a flipchart or online whiteboard. Whoever is first to guess what the animal is (if running thison Zoom for example, you can invite people to add their guesses into the chatbox or type them on the screen using annotation – set the annotation function so that names are visible – this makes the process quicker) gets up to draw an animal beginning with B and so on. I have used this with groups of children and adults alike and everyone loves it, despite often getting stuck on N, Y, W…

3. Pictionary
Who doesn’t love Pictionary? Not just for Christmas, it’s also a fun and engaging way to open a session. People take turns drawings words, sayings or topic specific phrases whilst others guess at what is being depicted. What could possibly go wrong?!

Despite some initial resistance, once the games get started everyone will want to have a go.

If you are doing this virtually and have never drawn on a virtual whiteboard before then this is the perfect way to start! It will feel odd to use your mouse or tracker to draw on the screen, and the drawings probably will come out all wobbly and a bit strange looking, and that’s kind of the point 🙂

Bonus tip: Get your creative thinking hat on and consider how you can tie in one or more of the above icebreakers with the content you then discussing.

 

Have you used any of these icebreakers? Have you got any more ideas for fun icebreakers? I’d love to hear from you. Share your comments in the box below.