Icebreakers are little party games designed to help people get to know and feel comfortable around one another. Some are silly, others are a little embarrassing, and others are merely informative in a light-hearted way. If chosen correctly, icebreakers can be a very powerful tool that facilitates the success of your group, meeting or party. People might turn their nose up to an ice-breaker at first but once you take the lead and show guests your not afraid to be a little silly everyone loosens up and feels more at ease. Party planning is never easy, but maybe you never thought attending parties can be just as intimidating. I've put together a small guide in aiding a warming up of any party atmosphere so you will retain your title as best host.
In choosing an icebreaker party game, you need to think about the personality of your group and its ultimate purpose.
- Are people trying to network for business? Then you want an icebreaker that gives them a chance to showcase their business services.
- Is it a baby shower? In that case, you are uniting guests who are strangers to one another, but close to the mother-to-be. You want an icebreaker that makes everyone feel relaxed but gives the spotlight to the pregnant mother in a kind way.
- If you're hosting a family reunion, distant family members may be meeting for the first time in twenty years, and know little about one another except that they share a common ancestor. So you need to use icebreakers that will quickly build familial intimacy.
- Is it a group of volunteers that need to work cooperatively on a project? You need to find icebreakers that will help people feel united in their common undertaking.
Here a just a few ideas for icebreakers that I've seen work effectively.
- At a business function, ask participants to pair up with someone they don't know and learn as much as they can about the other person in five minutes. Then have them introduce that person to the whole group.
- Break people into small groups at a volunteer organization and give each person a penny. Ask them to introduce themselves to the group and talk about what they were doing during the year on the coin.
- During a cocktail party tape, the name of a famous person on everyone's back. As people socialize, they can ask for clues about their famous person. The first person to guess the name on his or her back wins a prize.
- If you have a Trivial Pursuit game, put out the cards where guests will see them. Guests automatically read the questions to one another, thus beginning conversations.
Baby/Bridal Shower Ice Breakers
- Human Bingo - A potentially hilarious icebreaker.
- Icebreakers - Warming Up the Family - Here's a great list of suggestions from Genealogy.com, for using at large family reunions.
- Miscellaneous Mish-Mosh of Icebreakers - These are party icebreakers from The Real Beer Page that involve beer (big surprise!)
- Openers, Games, Get-to-Know-You Stuff - This page of ice-breaker suggestions is from Resident Assistant.com. As you might guess, the activities are geared to a younger, non-professional crowd.
- Party Games Collection 2 - 120 adult party games, written up by a Russian party consultant (explaining the sometimes-awkward language). Many of them work well as icebreakers.