Thawing out from the polar vortex

1/24/2014 4:00:00 PM

It's cold out there and while temperatures are plummeting, I thought I would share some ideas on how to thaw the ice and get your own office staff or meeting attendees to warm up to each other.

From time to time clients and colleagues have asked me for suggestions for games to refresh attendees, get them energized, ready to work and into a collaborative mind set.

Here is a list of easy Ice Breakers and team activities that I have collected over the years that may work for your next meeting:

The common pursuit of trivial knowledge

This one is very simple and works well for drop in hospitality rooms or casual settings where attendees are arriving at different times. Put out the playing cards of a Trivial Pursuit game where guests will easily see them. People will automatically start reading the questions to one another instantly and naturally engage in conversations with one another.

Who am I?

Tape a piece of paper with the name of a person, place or thing on the back of each participant, but don't let them know what the paper says. Have attendees mingle around asking each other questions about the word on their back. They can’t directly ask what the word is – they can only ask for hints. This is a great game to refresh people and get them talking to each other.

Penny for your thoughts

Break people into small groups at a volunteer meeting or first gathering of a volunteer board 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 their coin.

Pick Pocket

This activity is a mini scavenger hunt which doesn’t require a great deal of space or preparation. Participants hunt through their pockets, purses, wallets and briefcases.

Organize attendees into groups of five to ten.
  • Give each participant a Pick Pocket List of 10 items (items listed should be things that are normally found in a wallet or handbag like a nickel, a points card, photograph of children, a mobile device, mints or gum)
  • Tell groups they have 2 minutes to come up with as many items from the list as they can. Tell them that each item is worth
    2-5 points.
  • Explain that they may make a reasonable substitution, but if they do, that item will be worth less. For example, someone may have an Aeroplan card rather than an Air Miles card.
  • After 2 minutes, ask groups to count their points.
  • Ask groups to share what items they got from the list and which substitutions they made.

Cocktails and Dreams

A la Tom Cruise, teams mix up their own cocktails, collaborating to win the tastiest and most attractive concoction from a range of identical ingredients. (Think reality shows like the Cocktail Chronicles or Battle Mixology). Make fruity virgin versions for meetings where alcohol may not set the right tone.