12 totally different ice-breaker questions
Open up the conversation with these new ice-breaker questions
Try these 12 ice-breaker questions to make your event more interesting and even to build better relationships. It's all about creating a discussion.
Do you ever get tired of the same old chat, whether at a networking event or during team building off-site? Relationships are all about getting to know people and finding common ground, so why not try mixing it up a little with these 12 totally different ice-breaker questions. Neutral comments around the catering, venue or the weather are standard fall-back positions and are by now more than a little dull, unless something dramatic has happened. So test the water with something new.
Rather than asking them what would seem like a random, out-of-the-blue question, kick off by sharing a little piece of information about yourself. The emphasis is on the little. The whole point is to get the person to open up and create a dialogue.
1. What would you be doing now if you weren’t here?
Responses might be playing tennis, going to the movies, watching the news. Any snippet of information can lead to a follow-up. Where do you play? What movies are showing now? Which news item are you following? Don't make it a whinge fest about what you are not doing. "What a great way to spend a Tuesday evening! Beats …. "
2. What was your first job ever?
Start off with something along the lines of; "You are a Marketing Director now, but what was your very first job?" This is fun, watching people dig into the low level work they did as teenagers or even as kids. It can be anything from delivering papers, sweeping leaves, washing dishes, baby sitting. This discussion develops into disclosure about first purchases.
3. What are you reading at the moment?
You can tell people you've just picked up a good book - or a bad one. It is always a good way to find out about people’s interests. This can morph into an eReader or paper discussion. This is a good topic, especially now with research about retention levels and brain activity from different styles of reading.
4. Have you ever met anyone famous?
I was sitting opposite a well-known footballer recently on a flight out of London. When I ask anyone if they have ever met anyone famous, the stories are hilarious and random. One contact saw Orlando Bloom walking his dog!
5. If you weren’t a XXXX, what would you be instead?
Many of these responses reflect their hobbies, interests, or a missed opportunity and give you an understanding of what has driven them. I've had baker, personal trainer, lawyer, doctor, surfer!
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6. What do you really wish you could do that you suck at?
Answers range from singing, to playing an instrument, to skiing. I definitely wish I could sing.
7. Which leader do you admire?
This gives good insight into a person’s values and vision, and in today's tense political times a sense of what topics to avoid.
8. Who had the most influence on you growing up?
You can get good insights into a person's background. Their primary influencer might have been a parent, a family member, teacher or even a group of friends.
9. Where’s your favourite place that you'd like to go back to?
The range of answers on this is great. They tend to involve formative experiences, as well childhood or romantic memories. Some home-bodies prefer their back yards!
10. Who gave you the best advice and what was it?
There are so many interesting responses to this, with lots of variety and opportunities to pursue spin-off topics!
11. Chocolate: milk or dark?
Or even include favourite brands. This can be a fun and passionate conversation around childhood memories, as well as national loyalties around Reeses Pieces and Cabury's Dairy Milk, Swiss vs Belgian chocolate, and the shrinking size of the Toblerone. You could expand this to cookies too. Everyone has very strong ideas about this!
12. If you could try to do one new thing, what would it be?
Try a more indirect approach to the hackneyed way of asking someone if they have any goals.
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