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 ice-breaker?

To truly qualify as an ice-breaker, 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 ice-breaker truly is…


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