What Is An Ice-Breaker?

Or, put another way, what makes an ice-breaker an ice-breaker (as distinct from any other group activity?)

Sometimes, this is simply asking the question some program leaders are not willing to ask themselves – Why didn’t my opening exercise work?

Many leaders think that simply adding an activity to the beginning of their program makes it an ice-breaker.


So, the question is – what is an icebreaker?

To truly qualify as an experience that breaks the ice, an activity (or any experience) must reflect most, if not all, of the following five criteria. An ice-breaker must be:

  • Fun;
  • Non-threatening;
  • Highly interactive;
  • Simple & easy to understand; and
  • Success-oriented.


So, if an activity or experience you are considering does not tick off 3, 4 or (hopefully) all 5 of these attributes and you’re calling it an ‘ice-breaker,’ don’t do it! It is highly unlikely it will prepare your group for whatever you have in store for them.

And isn’t that the whole point…?

Click here to continue reading and discover why I believe many program leaders have a horrible understanding of what an icebreaker truly is…


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