We do not often think of the importance of team building ice breakers before a day of games and activities. We most typically think of ice breakers as the beginning of a conference to introduce everyone and set a tone for the day. However, ice breakers at the beginning of a team building day is also important for getting people to relax, begin to bond and be engaged rather than worrying about time wasted.
The very basic definition of ice breakers is that they are simple techniques used to reduce anxiety and get everyone excited and energized. Icebreakers can set a positive tone for the meeting, help build relationships and motivate people to participate. Team builders can help an established group learn more about how to work with each other, solve problems and be more effective.
The importance of team building ice breakers should not be overlooked. Without a good beginning to the team building activities of the day, your teams and participants can have a poor attitude throughout the day.
Reasons Your Team Building Ice Breakers Fail to Engage
Not enough time – Many times facilitators can simply run quickly through the ice breakers in order to get to the “meat” of the day. This is a major mistake. Remember, ice breakers are all about setting the stage, getting the participants ready for more intensive games and helping each team member engage in the activities. Rushing through the ice breakers can set a stage of hurrying everything rather than engaging, thinking, communicating and bonding.
Uninspiring Ice Breakers – The internet is a wealth of knowledge. The busy assistant who is given the task of putting together a day of team building games and events can find a lot of different team building ice breakers to use. However, the converse it also true; the same assistant can find a lot of bad ice breakers to use.
A good rule to follow when it comes to choosing team building ice breakers for any event is to test them out first. Take some time to assemble some small teams to test out different ice breakers to see how they are received and if people are engaged throughout. Of course, you could also hire team building experts to plan out your entire event for the highest level of success.
Not appropriate for participants – One of the biggest criteria anyone planning a team building event should take into consideration is the people who will be participating. Ages, health status, gender, and other personal concerns must be taken into account when planning any type of team game. This goes for ice breakers also. Having a high energy ice breaker that requires fast motion and twisting and bending for an elderly group may not work so well. The converse is also true; a low key ice breaker may bore a lot of younger personnel.
Team building ice breakers are an important part of any event. Setting the right tone through a well thought out plan, enlisting the right ice breakers, having all the required materials and paying attention to how people are engaging can mean success or failure of your next conference or corporate retreat.