All Ice-Breaking, Zero Eye-Rolling

by Lisa Bodell for ForbesWomen

A bad icebreaker can feel as awkward as the first day of middle school. A good one can start a friendship or a partnership, and build trust and cooperation across an office or entire org.

To kick off an annual meeting, a conference, or even a team huddle, lean on a tried-and-tested icebreaker. From breaking down social barriers to helping colleagues feel more connected, these three icebreakers can help you warm up a group of stoics.

The first is called Common Ground. It’s ideal for introducing new people to one another or increasing rapport in colleagues who already work together. It takes about 15 minutes and is a favorite of the Bath & Bristol Marketing Network in the U.K. for small and large groups. Start by splitting the room of 30 people or fewer into groups of two to three and provide each group with a sheet of flip-chart paper and a Sharpie.

Inform groups that they have two minutes to capture on paper everything they have in common and share these with the room. The big takeaway comes when people discover how much they have in common with each other. If you’ve got a competitive group, declare the group with the highest number of commonalties as the winner.

Speaking of competitive, the next icebreaker is geared toward senior leaders and managers in a group of 20 or fewer.

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