How does trust and comfortability allow for more effective corporate training? Ensuring your participants feel safe and comfortable in their training workshops allows everyone to feel empowered to express their thoughts and ask questions. This helps everyone being trained better their understanding through meaningful conversations. By creating this environment in your training workshops, you will create an enriching learning experience for all of your participants.
Bu how do we do this? Finding ways to get your participants open to discussions requires some strategy. However, by putting this extra effort in, your participants can be reminded of their commonality of objections for the training they are receiving. One of the best way to do this is through incorporating icebreakers into your training sessions.
Icebreakers are exercises used in training workshops as a warm-up and to build trust and comfortability within a group of participants, typically presented as games or exercises that can be done to help gain a better understanding of the topics being discussed, or simply to give your participants an opportunity to get to know each other better. This can help promote collaboration throughout your workshop, increase engagement, or make your training more light hearted and fun.
Looking to facilitate icebreakers in your training but don’t know where to start? We have you covered. Below is our cheat sheet for your corporate training icebreakers.
What’s Your Favorite?
Great for: Helping your participants get to know each other with zero materials or preparation, making it an ideal online training Icebreaker with the use of breakout room features. It takes about 10-15 minutes.
Instructions: Divide the meeting participants into groups of four or five people by having them number off. Tell the groups that their assignment is to each identify and share their favorite work activity, favorite work goal, etc.
Next, ask group member to share why the selected item is their personal favorite.
Debrief the activity in the large group by asking each individual to share their favorite, but not the "why" with the larger group. This moves quickly.
Lastly, ask participants to share with the larger group what they learned about their fellow group members during the small group discussion.
Great for: Getting participants comfortable with conflict resolution in a low-stakes context. This activity will help participants get to know each other while doing a non-conflict laden task. It requires some basic materials such as a flip chart, paper, colored markers, craft supplies, etc.
Instructions: Ask participants to number off to create groups of six to eight. Their task is to come up with a team name and slogan, preferably based on something that they all have in common. They should then create two of the following items:
- Name cards for each participant
- Team sign
- Team hats
- Team work area
- Team song/poem
Give participants about ten minutes for this task. If conducting training online, put participants into breakout rooms and modify the list to just items that have options that don’t require supplies (just the name, slogan, and song/poem).
After all groups have completed the task, ask each group to present their team name, slogan, and items, and to explain how they arrived at a decision for each. Ask participants if conflicts arose over choices, and how those conflicts were managed.
Encourage groups to work together throughout the day and strengthen their bond.
Great for: Helping participants get to know each other. Only requires enough chairs for all participants minus one, arranged in a circle. This icebreaker is most ideal for in-person training.
Instructions: Identify the person in the group whose birthday is closest to today’s date. Identify that person as Spot and ask them to leave the room. Then, have the remaining participants choose a leader from the circle. Explain that when Spot returns to the room, they will have three guesses to name the leader. The group’s job is to ensure that their leader stays a secret. Bring Spot back to the room and give him/her three chances to identify the leader. If they succeed, the leader will become the new Spot. If they fail, they will stay as Spot for another round. This activity works best with a group of 10-20 participants, and no one should be Spot for more than three rounds.
Use the following questions to debrief:
- How did you keep the leader a secret?
- How did Spot guess the leader?
- How difficult was it to be Spot?
- How difficult was it to be the leader?
- What can we take away from this exercise?
Great for: Helping participants get to know each other. Requires no materials. Can be done in person, or modified to be done online with the hand raise feature.
Instructions: Prepare a list of categories, such as:
- Favorite color
- Favorite season
- Number of siblings
- Astrological sign
- Shoe size
- Favorite subject in school
Ask participants to stand. Say that you are going to ask them to arrange themselves by different categories. For example, you might say, “What is your favorite color?” Participants will look for other people who share their favorite color and form groups. Once everyone is in a group, ask the groups to identify themselves. Repeat the activity with four or five different categories.
Great for: This activity will help the group to get to know one another, and to connect to each other by working on a common goal that they can refer to throughout the workshop. It requires minimal materials such as flip chart paper and markers, but could easily be modified to suit online training.
Instructions: Have everyone introduce themselves by stating their name, where they are working, how long they have been in their current role, and one thing that they love about the work they do.
Form the group into smaller teams of four to six people. Each group must come up with the name, logo, and motto (if time allows) for their newly formed HR consulting company. They can capture the information on flip chart paper, or simply communicate it verbally if doing the activity online.
Great for: Helping participants get to know each other. It requires only a small, lightweight ball that you can easily toss around the room, like a NERF ball.
Instructions: Toss a ball to one of the students who then makes the first introduction and shares one interesting fact about himself or herself. He or she then throws the ball to someone else. Challenge the group to complete the introductions without throwing the ball to the same person twice. If facilitating the icebreaker online, participants can simply choose the person to go next rather than throwing a ball.
Great for: Helping participants build relationships with each other. Requires no preparation and only paper and pens, and can be modified to online training.
Instructions: Divide the meeting participants into groups of three or four (depending on the number of participants). Breakout rooms can be used if facilitating online. Explain to the groups that each person must write down five adjectives that describe how they view themselves emotionally. Each participant will have a chance to present his / her adjectives to the group.=
Bring the smaller groups together to form the larger group and ask three or four participants to share their adjectives. Note the similarities and differences between how the participants view themselves.
This teambuilding icebreaker takes 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the number of groups.
Great for: Getting participants acquainted with each other and promote positive conversation.
Requires little to no materials and can be easily modified for online training using breakout room features.
Instructions: Ask participants to create a composite résumé for their group. They might include such things as:
- Total years of experience
- Positions held
- Outside interests
Ask each group to present its résumé to the rest of the participants.
House of Cards
Great for: Helping identify participants’ goals for the training session. Since this icebreaker requires the use of playing cards, it is more appropriate to facilitate this icebreaker at an in-person training session.
Instructions: Pass out one playing card to each participant, face-down. On your cue, ask participants to turn over their playing cards. They are to find others with their suit, but they are not allowed to talk or show their card. For example, if a person had a spade, they may illustrate that by pretending to dig a hole. Once participants are in their groups, they are to introduce themselves and come up with a list of five things that they would like to learn during the workshop. Once groups have created their list, bring participants back together. Have each group present their list and combine topics on the flip chart. Use this as a guide during the workshop. If there are any topics that will not be covered, let participants know where they can find more resources.
Icebreakers are an actionable way to meet objectives that will set the ideal tone for the remainder of your training workshops. Our instructor-led training materials provide everything you need to deliver effective corporate training, including plenty of icebreakers that you can follow to a tee or customize to better suit the context of your organization and your training workshop. What are your favorite icebreakers to use to start corporate training? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted by Katelyn Roy on