I don't enjoy answering most ice breaker questions, thus I was asked to come up with ice breaker questions for a large dinner gathering. Two groups were meeting for the first time. While members inside each group knew each other well, there were only a couple of people that knew individuals from the other group.
Rather than use just one question that everyone answered and give the last person twenty minutes to plan an answer, I used a variety of questions. People pulled a single question out of an orange sparkly hat (naturally) and had a choice to either answer the question or pass it to someone else at the table. Before picking a question, they could also decide to answer the question of the person immediately before them if they liked it, already had an answer, and/or wanted to play it completely safe.
Since it's a generally happy, upbeat, and introspective group, I went for questions that provided an opportunity to be positive and self-revealing without being embarrassing. And since you can NEVER have too many ice breaker questions, I'm sharing the list of them with you (and thanks to Amy Dixon for question 1 and Nancy Rosenow for question 9)!
16 Ice Breaker Questions to Stimulate Great Conversations
- What work of art would you like to have come to life?
- If you could share one thing with your twenty-year old self, what would it be?
- What emotion has most characterized your life, and why?
- What is something people think they know about you but really don’t know?
- What is the best word of encouragement you ever received and who was it from?
- What is the one of the “big rocks” in your life that you cherish, protect, and prioritize?
- What is one (brief) story behind your success?
- Whose phone call do you drop everything to take?
- What has led you to be sitting at this table tonight?
- What would you like your last words to be?
- When did you realize in life that you would be doing what you’re doing right now?
- What has been the most joyous moment of your life?
- Where, when, or what are your most creative moments?
- What is your earliest memory in life?
- Who is the person you can dependably reach out to for a pick-me-up when you need it?
- What is the life lesson you’ve learned that you most frequently pass along to others?
All together, I think we used fourteen of the questions. I was last so I let a couple of people pick from among the last three questions to decide what I should answer.
If you want to use these, I'd suggest doing it with a group that's in a mood to be introspective. Based on the reactions, I don't think anyone had had enough liquor to readily tackle some of the questions. One example of that was the last words question. That elicited a lot of "ohhhhhhs." Quite honestly, I included it as a goof, because my ideal last words will be, "I knew it would come to this!"
If you decide to try these ice breaker questions, let me know how they work! - Mike Brown