5 communication ice breakers

In this article, we will learn about the different types of activities called icebreakers that are employed to navigate the work environment or awkward moments smoothly.

What are ice-breakers?

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Icebreakers are games or activities utilized to bring down the tension and awkwardness in the environment and make everyone relaxed around each other. Following are just a few examples of icebreakers. 

  • One Word Game.
  • Pop Quiz.
  • Birth Map.
  • Would You Rather.
  • 18 & Under.
  • Two Truths and a Lie.
  • Fun Questions.
  • Personality Quiz.

Icebreakers

Icebreakers can also be defined as exercises that promote discussions among employees thus helping them to get to know each other. It is a great exercise for introductions, team building, easing hectic work meetings, or even during work events. Ice breakers also help employees in learning different types of skills or showcase their talents in different types of things that were previously not known to colleagues or superiors. Following are some common types of  icebreakers:

  • Introductory icebreakers
  • Meeting or event icebreakers
  • Icebreakers for team building
  • Group icebreakers
  • Problem-solving or puzzle icebreakers

The duration of the activity or games depends on the type of activity chosen. Also, the number of participants can vary according to the exercise or the requirement of the host. It can last anywhere from five minutes to fifteen minutes as long as the participant feel comfortable and can shake off their nerves. 

How communication icebreakers work

A healthy and productive work environment is built upon many factors and effective communication is one of them. Being able to command and direct the employees is just as important as being able to understand the directions and adapting to them efficiently. The role of icebreakers is to teach these skills but in a fun, interesting and engaging way. 

Following are a few of the key reasons why icebreakers are such an effective tool: 

Improves listening techniques

To develop better listening skills, a person should possess keen focus and attention. These are the key elements of active listening. Icebreakers help in developing these skills and also provide practice and training to hone them further. They also help you understand your flaws and errors thereby making you aware of areas that need improvement. They also serve as a guiding tool to team leaders helping them understand what their team lacks and needs to develop effective communication.

Strengthens communication skills

To understand be able to convey what you wanted to convey is a very essential skill. Many times misunderstandings arise due to miscommunication which can be pretty disastrous in work life. Some icebreakers are designed to strengthen an individual’s communication skills by teaching them how to structure a message and convey their intention briefly and concisely. 

Improves effective feedback skills

Being able to give as well as receive constructive criticism is very important. Feedback allows the person a chance to improve themselves and is a positive motivator for some people. But if feedback is conveyed offhandedly or negligently it can bring down the morale of the receiver. Therefore many icebreaker exercises teach how to convey feedback positively. These exercises also promote a neutral space for the employees so that they can express themselves comfortably. 

Purpose to use Icebreakers

Ice breakers are generally utilized before starting a session or a team-building event. These activities allow the participants to get to know each other and introduce themselves in a relaxed and comfortable manner. The sessions are interactive and fun thus the meeting is started on a positive note.

Familiarity with the facilitators and participants increases engagement and interest and helps in initiating a productive start. Contributions are made willingly and people are also more receptive towards feedback and opinions. 

Therefore the role of the facilitator is to keep things engaging and fun and makefeels sure that everyone participating in the exercise is comfortable and interactive. 

When to Use Icebreakers

As previously stated and very evident from the name itself icebreakers are used to “break the ice” during meetings or events. These activities are generally put to use when there is a congregation of strangers or people who aren’t well acquainted with each other but need to work together to achieve a common goal.

Icebreakers can be utilized during the following events or circumstances:

When there is a diverse group of people with culturally different backgrounds

People need to work efficiently and quickly to achieve a common goal

The team members are new or the team is newly formed. 

Participants are not familiar with the content being discussed. 

People meeting for the first time might be apprehensive about the meeting for different kinds of reasons. Each reason is unique to that person. Some might have ore conceived notions or perceptions that might make them slightly apprehensive about the new group and interactions. At such times it is the facilitator’s job to put things at ease and break the ice. Most often once the activities start and the mood is lightened up even the strictest and most daunting people ease a little bit and learn to be more cordial. But it takes effort and patience. It is also important to make sure that people are not being forced to do anything that they are not comfortable with as that will work against the goal of the activities. 

Structuring Your Ice Breaker

It is very crucial to make sure that the objectives of the meeting are considered when designing an ice-breaking activity. Also, the activities designed should be appropriate and acceptable to all participants involved. 

The next step is to clarify these objectives to all the participants before the start of the session.  

Let us suppose that The objectives for a meeting arranged to solve the problems at work could be

To generate a working environment for the event that is productive and healthy. Also, everyone involved regardless of their job title or position in the company should display active participation 

With such brief, concise and specific objectives we can structure the design and foundation of the session. You can also ask yourself questions as to how you would meet these objectives.

“What could be done to make people more comfortable with contributing?

“How to attain an equal ground for people coming together who belong to different positions and jobs?

“What should be done to create a common sense of purpose?”

Such types of questions work  as a checklist that you can use to guide while designing the session:

Examples

As we have seen as discussed there are many types of icebreakers available that can be catered to and utilized according to our objectives. 

Following are just some of the examples

Introductory Ice Breakers

These are used to introduce participants to each other and to facilitate conversation amongst them.

Introductory Ice breakers are designed with the intention of making the introductory process smoother and easier. These icebreakers facilitate conversation and ease the awkwardness generally present when meeting for the first time. 

The Little Known Fact:

In this activity, the participants are asked to share details about them such as their name, designation, role in the department, and then one little-known fact about themselves. 

Amongst the usual work-related or general information, the little-known fact works as a humanizing element that allows the participant to become comfortable with each other.  This 

True or False: 

In this fun activity, participants are asked to introduce themselves by using three to four statements. Out of which one statement would be a false statement. The rest of the participants have to identify which statement could be false and vote on it. 

This helps in initiating interaction as well as also helps them get to know each other in a fun and interesting way.

Interviews: 

In this ice breaker activity, participants can interview each other after breaking into a group of two. ask participants to get into twos. After the interviews, the partners would introduce each other to the rest of the participants based on the interviews they conducted,

Problem Solvers: 

This is a problem-solving task wherein participants have to work as a unit to solve a problem scenario.

Thus, these were just some of the ice breakers used at workplaces to ease communication and promote a healthy work environment. 

Conclusion

We learned about different types of icebreakers and how to utilize them> We also looked at the purpose as well as uses of icebreakers in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common icebreakers?

Icebreakers work like a charm to bring down the tension and make everyone relaxed. There are many icebreaking activities developed and utilized over the years. Following are just some of the more commonly used icebreakers.

  • One Word Game.
  • Pop Quiz.
  • Birth Map.
  • Would You Rather.
  • 18 & Under.
  • Two Truths and a Lie.
  • Fun Questions.
  • Personality Quiz.

Where can I practice communication skills?

To practice communications skills there are several activities an individual can try. Some of these activities are as follows

Active listening. Respect the person talking to you and always listen patiently and carefully

  • It matters Who you are talking to 
  • Be careful with your body language as it matters
  • Always check your message before you hit send. …
  • Be concise but specific…
  • Make a note of things
  • Sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone. …
  • Think before you speak.

Why are icebreakers bad?

The goal of Icebreakers is to encourage and develop interaction between strangers to form a connection. But sometimes the triviality of the games can easily insult people’s intelligence and insinuates that these professional adults lack the social skills to meet each other on their own. Worse still, they may further alienate shy folks who don’t like the spotlight.

How do you make a zoom call interesting?

Zoom meetings can get tedious or even quite tense. Also, it becomes difficult to enliven such meetings as you cannot control or arrange all the factors that come into play. But there are still a few ways we can make zoom meetings interesting. Following are so,e tips.

  1. Try utilizing Breakout Rooms. …
  2. Set up a theme for the meeting
  3. Try persuading everyone to agree to a Dress Code. …
  4. Play and have fun with your Backgrounds. …
  5. Tone down the tension in the environment by playing online games together. Play online games together. …
  6. You can try doing your version of MTV cribs…
  7. Exercise your vocal chord and have a fun Zoom Karaoke party.

How can I practice communication skills alone?

There are several effective ways of improving our communications skills alone. Some of the common ways are as follows

  1. Give yourself time and be patient. Spend some time with yourself just thinking.
  2. Be cognizant of who you are speaking with
  3. Be unabashed about expressing your thoughts after editing them Express your edited thoughts. …
  4. Invest in good books and reading material
  5. Try writing out and speaking to yourself before you say it to someone.
  6. Practice speech and try to talk verbally more than texting or using gestures. 

References

Icebreakers to improve team communication. Icebreakers to Improve Team Communication. (2021, January 3). Retrieved January 16, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/icebreakers-for-communication

the Mind Tools Content Team By the Mind Tools Content Team, Team, the M. T. C., wrote, B. T., Wrote, K., & wrote, M. (n.d.). Ice breakers: Getting everyone to contribute at the start of a successful event. Communication Skills Training from MindTools.com. Retrieved January 16, 2022, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_76.htm 

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