The Dos and Don’ts of Workplace Icebreakers

We’ve all encountered our fair share of embarrassing workplace icebreaker games, which end up making people feel even more nervous and uncomfortable than before the game started. Icebreakers are important to get the creative juices flowing and ensure that everyone is at ease with one another; if they start off on the wrong note, it can put the entire session in jeopardy. To put an end to those awkward attempts to break the ice, we’ve compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts that will help any management team to get their group feeling relaxed and ready to conquer anything.


– Use your workplace icebreaker to help introduce employees to one another, get them chatting, find some common interests and, most important, share names! Many people can go an entire session without finding out someone’s name, and name badges are impersonal. Use your icebreaker as a great introductory session to other participants.

– Keep it simple. Icebreakers are intended to be ten-minute exercises that help people relax – they don’t need to spend half of that time having complex rules explained to them! The simple activities are often the best, and the most effective.

– Choose something that everyone can relate to and enjoy. If in doubt – go for a musical icebreaker. Everyone likes music in some form, and it can be a great way for groups to form connections with each other before they get down to the hard work.

– Be enthusiastic. Whatever happens, if you don’t endorse your icebreaker, your team will never get on board with it!


– Don’t come up with an icebreaker that will put people on the spot and make them feel uncomfortable. Encouraging someone to stand up and make a fool of themselves in front of the group might give everyone a good laugh and will certainly break the ice, but it doesn’t set the right tone for a productive session.

– There’s no need to limit icebreakers to the beginning of a session. They can be used to give a much-needed boost to bunch of flagging delegates who are starting to droop before lunch. Energise your team with a quick five-minute icebreaker.

– Don’t be afraid to mix it up if your icebreaker isn’t working. If people aren’t on board with your idea, cut it short and try something else that might get them all onside. There’s no point in continuing with a flagging game – it’s a waste of time for all involved and no one will feel any more comfortable than they did before they started.