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Icebreakers That Don’t Suck

Connectivities are fun and engaging mini-games and questions designed to kick small-talk and leave you feeling more connected to the people around you right now. Use these to jumpstart a conversation with a stranger or close a party, either way, you’ll be happy you did!

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Keep it Light

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Two Truths & a Lie

For smaller groups, this one is a classic. Each person thinks up three statements about themselves (the stranger the better), and one of those statements must be false. The other people in the group need to guess which of those statements is false.

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“Yes, and…” Game

Separate people into pairs. One person starts by making a short statement. (“My friend took me to a store.”) The other person responds with “yes, and…,“ before adding something more to the story. (“Yes, and he didn’t want to wait while I went inside.”) The first person responds to their statement and adds more. (“Yes, and so I had to walk home.”; “Yes, and then a stray dog came up and bit me.”, etc.)

This keeps going for as long as you’d like. The game is all about listening to others and building off of what was said to create a fun, linear story. By accepting someone else’s direction and adapting, you’ll be a little more connected.

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Three “Ha”s

Remember being a kid and daring people not to laugh? Well turns out it’s still a blast to do as an adult.

Gather in a circle and everyone is challenged to NOT smile or communicate in any way.

Going around the circle, the first person says “HA.”

The second person says “HA, HA.”

The third person says “HA, HA, HA.”

And then you go back to a single “HA”…

BUT NO ONE MAY SMILE…

Ya. See how long you can keep that going before everyone breaks out laughing. 🙂

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Mute Organization

You’d be surprised how well you can work with others without words. In this game, everyone in the group needs to work together to arrange themselves in order according to some basic rule, but without making any noise. For example, you might line up according to your birthday or height. Choose your rules and get organizing!

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“What are you doing?” Game

Pick 2 people to begin this game and form a circle around them.

Person 1 starts by acting out an activity, and Person 2 asks “What are you doing?”

Person 1 responds by saying a new activity that’s different than the one they’re already acting out. Now, Person 2 has to act out the activity that Person 1 said.

Next, Person 1 asks Person 2 what they’re doing. Person 2 responds by saying something other than what they’re already doing, but it can’t be a repeat activity!

Once they get into the swing of things, you can ask the rest of the group to suggest a topic, and then the activities will have to relate to that topic.

A person has to step out of the circle and is replaced by someone on the outside if they do any of the following:

  • If a person says an activity and it looks like they start to do that activity, they’re out.
  • If they repeat an activity that’s already been used, they’re out.
  • If they take too long to come up with an activity, they’re out.

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Connective Questions

  • What’s new and good in my life? 
  • What’s the best thing that happened to me this week?
  • Something I’m grateful for these days is…

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Dig In

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Who Done It?

Use the power of groupthink to discover something new. Pass out blank cards and ask each person to write one interesting, weird, or silly thing they have done on the card. Then collect the cards and read them out one at a time. The room needs to guess who they think might have done what is written on each card.

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Talk Show Icebreaker Game(s)

For this talk show icebreaker game, you will want to start by splitting your group into pairs.

Ask each person to find a semi-private spot and interview their partner. One person should assume the role of a talk show host, while the other person should assume the role of the talk show guest. The talk show host should ask the talk show guest questions with the goal of finding out two interesting facts about the guest. Then, the partners should switch roles and repeat the activity.

After a few minutes and a lot of chatting, you can ask everyone to gather into a large group once more. Once everyone is is together, each person can briefly present the two interesting facts that they learned about their partner to the rest of the group. This will allow everyone the chance to get to know each other better.

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Compliment Battle!

In this battle, whoever gives the most genuine compliments wins. Real compliments bring joy and connect people. Try to think of below-surface compliments, too!

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The “I Am” Circle

Form a circle with your group. Now go around the circle and, one at a time, have each person complete the sentence: “Step into the circle if you…”

Now everyone who relates to that sentence takes one step into the circle. This way you’ll see who else shares things in common with you.

The game is even more interesting if you all start 5-6 paces back, and continue stepping forward each time instead of stepping in and out. When people have a lot in common, they’ll meet somewhere in the middle.

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The TP Game

Ready to have a little fun with sharing? For this, you’ll need little preparation. Just grab a full roll of toilet paper from the bathroom, and then:

Take the roll of toilet paper, explain everyone must take enough paper “to get the job done” (laughs) and then pull off several squares before handing it to another person and asking him to do the same.

Continue this until all guests have grabbed a few pieces.

Once everyone in the room has taken some toilet paper, explain that while grabbing more toilet paper is usually associated with wanting to feel MORE safe (more laughs) each person must now count the number of squares that she has grabbed and then tells everyone that number of things about herself to the group!

For example, if someone has three squares, they would share three things about themselves.

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Circle of Appreciation

Form a circle with the group. Go around the circle pointing to one person at a time. When it’s their turn, one other person in the group shares an appreciation for the person being acknowledged. Continue around the circle until everyone has received some love and appreciation!

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Connective Questions

  • If you really knew me, you would know…
  • What’s the most surprising thing that nobody knows about me? 
  • What is a skill done with my hands that I would like to develop? 
  • What is something I aspire to do before the end of the year? 
  • How do I experience magic in my life? 
  • What phrase would I like to hear more often? And what phrase would I like to say more often? 
  • If I was going to give a TED talk, what would it be about? 
  • What is one word to describe how I’m feeling in this moment? 
  • What’s the first thing I usually notice about a person?

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Go Deep

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Hot Seat Game

Note: best for people who know each other. More difficult for strangers.

One person is in the hot seat at a time, and the other members take turns saying something about the person in the hot seat that they really need to hear (from compliments to other feedback).

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Tell Your Story Redux

First, have people turn to their neighbor and spend two minutes each recounting their life stories to one another. Then apologize, because you’re going to make them do it again. This time, ask them each to tell it in a way that’s totally different from the way they normally would.

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Eye Gazing

Start by having everybody in the group find a partner, whom they don’t already know. If there’s an odd number, take turns. Now the easy (actually hard) part. Simply gaze into each other’s eyes for 1 minute. That’s it! You’ll be amazed how you instantly feel more connected to the other person.

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Empathy Cards

Have everyone write anonymously on index cards one thing that worries them about their work or that causes them anxiety–something they feel like they can’t share with many people. Shuffle them thoroughly and place a card at each seat at the table. Ideally everyone receives someone else’s card, and can see that everyone else has fears and vulnerabilities just like them. It generates a ton of empathy and goodwill at the start of the conversation, and opens up candid sharing much earlier.

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Connective Questions

  • How do I deal with disappointment? 
  • What’s the closest I’ve ever come to death?
  • What was a defining moment in my life?

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