Ice+Breakers by qihao0824


									The Magic Wand

Ask the participants what they would do if they just found a magic wand that allows them to focus
on three work-related issues. They can discuss anything they want - themselves, their work
assignment, their work territory/location, those they work with, an important project, etc.? Have the
participants discuss why the issue is important. Another variation is to have them discuss what they
would change and the organization if they become the supervisor for a month. This activity helps
them to learn about others' desires and frustrations.

Three Shining Work Moments Ice Breaker Steps

1. Divide the meeting participants into groups of four people by having them number off, one
through four.

Have your number ones sit with the other ones and so forth. (You do this because people generally
begin a meeting by sitting with the people they already know best.)

2. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to look back over their work careers and
find three events, activities, accomplishments, collaborations, or moments of recognition by others
that were shining or important to them. I think of these as career highlights. Provide ten or so
minutes for the participants to think about and jot down ideas before you ask them to share their
shining moments with their small group.

If you have employees who are relatively new to the work place, you can ask them to share
moments from college classes, part time jobs, or volunteer work.

3. Once participants have a chance to think about their shining moments, ask them to share them
with their small group. My preference is that each person shares one at a time. They share their first;
then, each person shares their second and then, their third. Tell the small group members to look for
common themes and similarities in the stories.

4. Tell the groups that each person will be asked to share one of their shining moments with the
whole group upon completion of the small group exercise, if they are comfortable doing so.

5. Debrief the team building ice breaker by asking the group how they reacted to the ice breaker -
to the experience of telling their own stories and hearing the stories of their coworkers.

6. Continue to debrief the ice breaker by asking the large group if participants noticed themes in
the stories. Ask if participants found commonalities in the stories shared in the small or large

One theme that I often find mentioned is that the stories are all about receiving recognition. Many
stories center around promotions, successful product launches, and moments of company
recognition. Let your participants draw this conclusion; don't tell them. It generally sparks a
discussion about the importance of employee recognition.

7. When the team building ice breaker discussion is finished, ask the participants if they have
anything they'd like to add to the discussion before moving on with the rest of the session.
Five of Anything Ice Breaker Steps

1. Divide the meeting participants into groups of four or five people by having them number off.
(You do this because people generally begin a meeting by sitting with the people they already know

2. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to share their five favorite movies of all
time, or their five favorite novels, or their five least liked films, and so forth. The topic can be five
of anything - most liked or disliked.

This ice breaker helps the group explore shared interests more broadly and sparks lots of discussion
about why each person likes or dislikes their selected five.

While I generally recommend ice breakers that are related to the topic of the meeting, "five of
anything" is a quick, fun team building activity that people really enjoy. No one is asked to leave
their conversational comfort zone and I have never found a participant unwilling to share the
answers to this type of question.

3. You can also use this ice breaker for topical discussion. As an example, in a session on team
building, you might ask, "What are five dysfunctional behaviors you have experienced when
participating on an unsuccessful team?" Or, "Think about the best team you have ever been on.
What are five key factors that made it your best or most successful team?"

4. Tell the groups that one person must take notes and be ready to share the highlights of their
group discussion with the whole group upon completion of the assignment.

5. Debrief the team building ice breaker by asking for a volunteer to read their list of five of
anything. Or ask the volunteer to list any movies, for example, that more than one person had in
common and shared as their favorite. Then, ask each group to share their whole list with the whole

Because people are almost always your best source for laughter and fun, the reading of the lists
generates a lot of laughter and discussion. You can also catch the drift of the conversation in the
small groups based on the transitions made from item to item.

6. When the volunteer from each group is finished, ask the rest of the participants if they have
anything they'd like to add to the discussion before moving on with the rest of the session.

This team building icebreaker takes 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the number of groups that need
to report their discussion.

Stand Up When – This ice breaker is designed to give the speaker a quick view of an audience’s
demographics. It is also a quick and effective way for an audience to get to know something about
their co-participants. You can decide on any questions that will provide helpful information. The
audience is asked to stand each time they can answer yes to a question. They stand, note others
standing, and then sit down. If you’d like, you can do a pair and share conversation when they are
Fortune Cookie Discussion

In this icebreaker, quotations magnify central themes and raise issues that result in lively debate and
discussion. They can be light-hearted or serious, authentic or fabricated.


1. Identify quotations that are appropriate for your target audience. You can select quotes from a
variety of sources such as You can also pen your own quotations under a
pseudonym to add humor to your session.

2. Insert the quotations in fortune cookies (or tape them to the cellophane wrapper). You’ll find that
tweezers work well if you need a tool for removing and replacing fortune cookie scripts. If time is
limited, simply fold the strips of paper and place them in a container.

4. Distribute the fortune cookies (or strips of paper) to individuals, pairs or teams.

5. Provide 10-minutes for participants to reflect and formulate a response (e.g. agree/disagree and/or
relevance of the quotation).

6. Debrief - display each quotation on a flip chart, whiteboard, or PowerPoint slide in turn to ensure
everyone can reflect on the quotation.

Extension: ‘One-minute Paper’: Invite participants to take a minute to record their thoughts that
came to mind while reflecting on the quotation.

Sample quotations:

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think."
- Socrates

"Personally, I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."
- Winston Churchill

"The only kind of learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered or self-
appropriated learning - truth that has been assimilated in experience."
- Carl Rogers

"The teacher if he is indeed wise does not teach bid you to enter the house of wisdom but leads you
to the threshold of your own mind."
- Kahlil Gilbran

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The
great teacher inspires."
- William Arthur Ward.

"Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching." -- Oscar Wilde
"What I hear, I forget.
What I see, I remember.
What I do, I understand."
- Confucius

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
- Mark Twain

"Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me
remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not
foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all."
- Arthur C. Clarke

"Cogito, ergo sum." (I think, therefore I am.)
- Descartes

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre."
- Gail Godwin

"There are two types of education... One should teach us how to make a living, And the other how to
- John Adams

"What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul."
- Joseph Addison

" The paradox of education is precisely this-- that as one begins to become conscious one begins to
examine the society in which he is being educated."
- James Baldwin

"He who dares to teach must never cease to learn."
- Richard Henry Dann

“Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but something. Don't just stand there,
make it happen."
- Lee Iacocca

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
- William Butler Yeats

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