If you’re organizing a conference, a lengthy meeting or seminar a really great way to break things up and keep people motivated is to use ice breaker games for adults. Whether you love them or hate them you have to admit that there’s no better way than an ice breaker game to bring people together and once people are doing something fun, together, this creates a better atmosphere at your event.
What Are Ice Breakers?
Ice breaker games vary from very complex initiatives that take hours to plan, to very simple 5 minute games that don’t require any preparation or props. Ice breaker games for adults are ice breakers that have specifically been designed for business purposes to reinforce certain ideas or demonstrate a point in a fun yet business oriented way.
Research has shown that our attention span is super short. Some say that it’s as short as 3 minutes while others say that you can cramp 18 minutes of undivided attention into someone’s brain. By changing the “state” a person is in you can stretch that time out and get more of someone’s attention. This is why Ice breakers are so valuable. Ice breaker games for adults break the “states” we are in and actually contribute to the learning process.
Some event managers argue against ice breakers because they find them unprofessional, silly and unintelligent. If you are planning to use a game of “musical chairs” at a medical conference for brain surgeons, then I agree, that sounds like a really bad idea. However by following these suggestions you’ll be sure to entertain, impress and bring in effectiveness.
Team Building Activities for Adults
Before you begin planning the ice breakers for your event, it’s important to define what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to turn a bunch of strangers in a room into a team then icebreakers is the way to get started followed by team building activities for the workplace. However if you’re holding a presentation for a new product or process and want to get the audience hyped up before your introduction then consider using an energizer instead. Ask yourself this question: What is the outcome I am trying to achieve? Are you trying to build trust, introduce, build a team, foster creativity, encourage innovation or solve a problem?
Ice Breaker DO’s and DON’Ts
- DO make sure that the ice breaker is tied directly to your event; it should at least reinforce the values that the event is providing. You might need to do a summary at the end of the icebreaker activity and this is where you can reinforce the message of the icebreaker and show the connection to the event in a more obvious manner.
- DO provide a sense of benefit for the participants and make the ice breaker fun without insulting their intelligence.
- DO make the distinction between ice breakers for large and small groups and think twice before adapting an ice breaker meant for a small group to a large audience.
- DO Keep it simple: the instructions should be simple and the icebreaker itself should not take more than 10 minutes to execute. If it takes longer than 10 minutes then you’re holding a team building exercise and you should treat it as such.
- DO focus on icebreakers that build relationships, foster innovation and start conversations.
- DO have a backup plan. Because being a great event manager is not about not making mistakes, it’s about being able to hold successful events under all circumstances and averting crisis without anyone noticing but you.
- Don’t use icebreakers that create direct competition, this isn’t something you want your participants to focus on and remember for the rest of the event.
Don’t force everyone to participate. You will encounter different types of people; introverts and extroverts. Try to get everyone involved by asking those that don’t want to participate actively to help you facilitate the activity.
Don’t use icebreakers that make fun of others or make anyone physically (and mentally) uncomfortable.
Don’t use icebreakers only at the beginning of a sessions, use them whenever a transition is needed.
Tested Ice Breaker Games for Adults
There are a couple of icebreakers and site that I love with very clear instructions and goals. Instead of rewriting them here I’m going to give you the general idea and links to specific instructions for these ice breakers.
1. The Change Challenge: great to use for large audiences and doesn’t require any preparation. You can use this ice breaker game to demonstrate the challenges of going through change. Click here for the details. (It is the third game on the page)
2. The Story of My Life: this is a great ice breaker game for adults that can be modified in a thousand different ways with a million different introductions to fit your needs. It’s a great game for introductions but one that is very creative as well. Click here for details. (and 13 other great ice breaker games for adults)
3. Paper Tearing Exercise: all you need for this ice breaker is an audience and a piece of paper. It’s a great icebreaker to show how important two way communication is by demonstrating how something as simple as tearing a piece from a sheet of paper can go in very different directions because of how we perceive information. Click here for details. (This is “Free Ice Breaker #2″ on the page)
4. Questions: Sometimes the best icebreaker is holding a conversation with your audience. If this is what you are planning to do visit this site for wonderful open ended ice breaker questions.
It’s important to remember that ice breaker games for adults are meant to enrich the learning process and help you achieve the goal that you have set for your event. They should not be set as goals in and of themselves or used because you find them fun, since there will always be people who don’t. However if you keep clear objectives in mind and make sure that the participants are aware of the objectives you have set for the ice breaker games for adults you’re using then your event will no doubt be a great success! Lot’s of luck and happy planning.