8 Icebreakers to Jumpstart Your Brainstorming Meetings

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Facilitating meetings means more than just gathering people together, be it virtual or in-person. If you are planning a meeting, especially a brainstorming session, it’s important that the participants are mentally prepared to collaborate before you start. This is where icebreakers come in handy. The right type of icebreaker, when planned and facilitated accordingly, can help spark creativity and inspire cooperation among your participants.

Benefits of an Icebreaker

Icebreakers are must-haves for every facilitator. No matter how big or small your audience is, regardless of your venue, there are a number of benefits to jumpstarting gatherings with icebreakers. The right icebreaker can help you:

  • Start your session with the right atmosphere. Even if your participants are aware that they are joining a brainstorming session, not everyone will be immediately ready to participate. Some might still be thinking about other tasks or might have concerns about other matters outside of work. Through icebreakers, you get to set the mood of the meeting. Icebreakers can help everyone be more at ease with the current environment.
  • Encourage creative thinking. Brainstorming will require lots of creative thinking. To help your participants mentally prepare for the brainstorming session, you can run an icebreaker that will help get their creative juices flowing.
  • Initiate collaboration. If your brainstorming session involves people from different teams or departments, or maybe from a different organization, then an icebreaker will be a great way to get everyone better acquainted. Some icebreakers are ideal for introducing participants and giving everyone a glimpse of the people they will be collaborating with during the brainstorming session.
  • Prepare the participants for what happens next. An icebreaker can be a nice form of introductory activity for participants. By choosing the right type of icebreaker, a facilitator can ease into the brainstorming session with less friction or awkwardness and keep your participants enthused to the concept of the whole activity.

Things to Consider When Preparing Icebreakers

Icebreakers vary in style, format and purpose. For your icebreaker to work, you need to consider a number of things before you decide on what icebreaker to use. There are hundreds of icebreakers to choose from, so to help you decide on which one to pick, here are four things you should consider.

  • Size of the audience. Some icebreakers are well suited for large audiences, while some are for a smaller number of participants. The right activity will help you make sure that no one gets left out.
  • Relevance of the icebreaker. Choose an icebreaker that is relevant to the main purpose of your brainstorming session. If it is to plan out a product design, a fun and collaborative icebreaker will definitely help jumpstart everyone’s creative thinking. It can even help them come up with ideas which can be further developed once the main brainstorming session begins.
  • Resources needed. Do you have enough time to prepare the materials needed for your icebreaker? Or is it something that will require some research or maybe a pre-activity survey involving all the participants? If you are short on time for planning, you might want to instead choose an activity that will involve less preparation beforehand.
  • Platform or venue. Are you planning an on-site or a virtual brainstorming meeting? Some icebreakers are best suited for on-site participants, while some are specifically designed for virtual sessions.

Jumpstart Your Brainstorming Sessions with These Icebreakers

Now that you know the basics on planning and choosing the right icebreaker, it’s time for you to decide what icebreaker to use for your brainstorming session. Here are 8 of the most popular icebreakers, suitable for either on-site or virtual sessions, to help you facilitate a more productive brainstorming meeting.

1) Two Truths and One Lie

This icebreaker has become a go-to activity for small remote teams, but it also works for on-site participants. It’s a great way to get team members to become more acquainted with each other and practice some deductive reasoning.

How it’s done: Ask all participants to prepare three personal information about themselves, one of which should be a lie. These can be any random ideas, such as hobbies, past experiences, accomplishments, a unique collection, places visited, skills, etc. Each participant will then take turns sharing with the rest of the team all three pieces of information they prepared, after which, the others will try to guess what they think is the lie.

2) Roses are Red

This poetry writing activity can be a good way to inject some fun and creative thinking into your session.

How it’s done: Each participant will have to come up with their own version of the “Roses are Red” poem. The facilitator will have to give a theme where the participants will base their poem on. For example: if you need to brainstorm ideas on how to market your brand, the poem can go like this:

Roses are red,
Carnations are pink,
Let’s collaborate with influencers
What do you think?

Once everyone has made their poems, ask each participant to read their poem in front of the audience and get ready to hear some laughs and cheers!

3) Guess My Secret Talent

This is another fun guessing game that gets everyone’s analytical thinking going.

How it’s done: Participants are given a piece of paper each, all of the same sizes, wherein they will each write down a special talent or ability they possess that nobody in the room knows about. Once done, participants will drop their papers in a bowl or a box and the facilitator will randomly read each paper aloud to everyone. The participants will then try to guess which talent belongs to whom.

4) Animal Personality

A simple get-to-know-you activity that allows participants to have a better sense of the people they are collaborating with. It’s a nice way to get everyone to warm up with other participants.

How it’s done: The facilitator asks the participants to answer the question: “What animal best represents your personality and why?” Each participant will then be given the chance to share their answers. For example: “I’m like a cat. I’m usually chill, but when the situation calls for it, I can be focused and ready to pounce.”

5) Superpowers

There’s probably not a person in this world who hasn’t yet imagined being a superhero. So why not initiate a conversation about it and help your participants feel more at ease and ready to get some brainstorming done?

How it’s done: Ask your participants: “If you could have just one superpower, what would it be and why?” Give each participant the chance to share their answers and get ready to gain more insights on the individuals you will be working with during your brainstorming session. Some sample answers can be: “I’d like to have the ability to teleport so that I can go on vacation anywhere in the world anytime I want to.”

6) Dinner with the Famous

Another simple icebreaker that you can use for small team meetings is by asking your participants about the famous people that they want to meet.

How it’s done: Ask the participants to give three names of famous personalities, fictional characters, or historical figures (past or present) who they would want to have dinner with and why? This question can help you have some insight on the type of persons your participants are. Some will want to meet famous Hollywood stars, fictional characters, political figures, government leaders or even athletes.

7) Word Association

Need to activate your participants’ quick thinking? This fun and fast-paced word association game will do just that.

How it’s done: For on-site sessions, participants sit in a circle. For virtual sessions, participants will be assigned numbers which will serve as their order. The facilitator randomly chooses the first player, who will then say one word out loud. The next player has to quickly say a word that is relevant to the previous word. The relevance will be decided upon by the participants, who get to accept or reject the answer.

If at least one participant does not agree to the answer, they can challenge it and everyone gets to vote if the answer will be allowed or not. In case of a tie, the word is allowed. A participant gets eliminated if they:

  • take longer than three seconds to respond;
  • repeat a word that has already been said in the game;
  • are challenged and loses the vote.

Eliminated players can still challenge answers and cast their votes. The last player standing will be declared as the winner. Some example series of answers that are relevant to each other can be:

  • Glue
  • Liquid
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Frozen
  • Olaf
  • Carrot
  • Orange

This activity allows participants to think creatively and actively participate in sharing ideas.

8) Collaborative Storytelling

Prepare your participants to weave an extraordinary story! This icebreaker is another rapid-response activity that is sure to get everyone laughing and creatively thinking.

How it’s done: Have the participants form a circle or assign numbers for their order. Choose one participant to begin telling a story, which can be about anything. After a few sentences, they pass the storytelling to the person next to them (or the person with the next number). The next person will then continue the story however they wish to tell it. The storytelling gets passed to all the participants until it reaches the person who started it, who then creates the ending for the story.

This activity is sure to get some creative juices flowing and urge everyone to collaborate while having fun.

Improve Brainstorming Sessions with the Right Tools and Processes

Initiating icebreakers is just one small portion of getting the whole team to collaborate and stay productive during brainstorming sessions. The right combination of processes and work tools will help enhance the overall work experience and enhance everyone’s efficiency, not just during brainstorming sessions, but while handling regular day to day operations.

Need help in adopting new tools that will work well for your team and business? Talk to us at TKKIE to learn more about our onsite or virtual adoption sessions and discovery workshops. We will help you find the perfect technology that are suited for your business operations.

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