Managing People

How to Use Icebreakers For Instant Team Building

May 22, 2017
November 7, 2023
Lattice Team

Looking for a fun and extremely simple way to introduce team building to your team? Try icebreaker questions!

It’s no secret that the word “icebreaker” can induce anxiety and panic in people. But, when executed properly, icebreaker questions can actually get creativity flowing while helping teams get to know each other.

Icebreaker questions are essentially micro-team building exercises in disguise. Because of their casual nature, icebreakers will encourage your employees to share things about themselves in a safe and relaxed space. So whether you have a room full of employees with diverse backgrounds and interests or a remote team that needs to bond, icebreakers are your answer.

Why Icebreakers?

At Museum Hack we are team building nerds; we live and breathe for improved team dynamics, productivity, etc. A big part of our business is leading team building tours of the best museums in the world and fun icebreakers always happen near the beginning of the tour-- we want to make sure that everyone is comfortable speaking up and being an active participant in the experience.

Here are reasons why great icebreaker questions are ideal for team building:

  • Because they’re fun, they help boost energy in dull or low energy situations
  • Your team will learn about each other's interests and passions outside of work
  • They subtly promote critical thinking
  • Great for diffusing team anxiety or stress
  • Perfect start for a meeting or conference call to get the energy flowing
  • They take little to no planning
  • They’re FREE!

Important: One thing to be cautious of is that poorly executed icebreakers can have the opposite affect on your teams. An overly personal icebreaker like “what is your biggest regret?” can cause people to withdraw or feel unfortable. So make sure the questions you choose are considered in advance.

A great way to make sure you don’t start a meeting or event with a disastrous icebreaker, is to always have a list of awesome icebreakers on hand.  This way you can be confident that the icebreaker will encourage your team to share meaningful answers and promote bonding - not stress. There are 15 great icebreaker questions listed at the end of this article. Print them out, save them on your phone, or send them in an email to all your team members. This way you’ll never be caught without an icebreaker and can team-build whenever you want.

Here are the questions…

  1. What sport would you compete in if you were in the Olympics?
  2. If you could choose any person from history to be your imaginary friend, who would it be and why?
  3. You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it?  Sushi? Scotch Tape?
  4. If you could live in any country, where would you live?
  5. You can only own either a smartphone or a computer, which do you choose?
  6. What was the worst job you ever had?
  7. What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve travelled?
  8. Have you ever completed anything on your “bucket list”?
  9. What’s your favorite sandwich and why?
  10. Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?
  11. You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?
  12. Teleportation or flying?
  13. Would your rather live in the ocean or on the moon?
  14. If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore who would it be, why?
  15. What fictional family would you be a member of?

Want even more  icebreakers? We’ve compiled a list of our 100 favorite icebreaker questions.

Moira writes for Museum Hack, a company that leads renegade tours of the best museums in NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Tour types include public, private, bachelorette, and company team building. Museum Hack is also a happy customer of Lattice :)