How do you get women to mix and mingle without breaking a sweat? Working these icebreakers into your reception routines could keep even the most nervous guest from getting cold feet and help create meaningful connections that go beyond the event.
1. Common Things
Help people see how similar they are by finding the answer to the question “we all..” The answer could be as general as “have a pet” or as specific as “share a birth month,” but the exercise of finding the answer will help people see how much they share.
2. Run Wild
Sometimes asking random questions is the best way to get a pointed answer. Assign guests to interview each other with the question: “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” or “What is your Pro Wrestling Name?” The result may be a deeper than surface conversation, and more than a few laughs.
3. Goal Oriented
Have everyone write down on a sticky note the one thing they hope to come away from the conference with and then compare goals. It beats talking about the weather.
4. Around the World
Divide the room up into areas representing continents and then have people go to whatever area that represents where they would most like to visit next. Share fantasy itineraries.
5. Constructive Listiclizing
Have sub-groups compile a list of favorite shared authors, television shows or industry products. Warning, debating priorities could unite or divide the group.
6. Timed Chats
Employing a speed-dating format, have people meet in short, timed bursts to find out a series of facts about each other. Topics could include hometown, best teacher (and why), or last scary thing attempted (other than speed-meeting).
7. Free Advice
Ask everyone to go around the room and give the best piece of advice they have gotten or given in their career. This is a fun way to share what is important—and possibly learn something in the process.
8. Inspired Sources
Add stickers to nametags that represent what inspires them each day—possible categories include family, coworkers, celebrity, important work. This is an effective conversation starter as people compare and explain their source of motivation.
9. Busy Hands
Set up an activity, such as filling backpacks for at-risk children or assembling a bike. This can lead to conversations beyond “pass the screwdriver” and leave everyone with a sense of accomplishment.
10. Missing Piece
Give everyone a part of a puzzle to put together. This can open doors to chatting about bigger pictures and complementary skills. Bonus if the resulting image has a company message.
11. Pay It Forward
Have everyone share their favorite icebreaking questions and record those for the next event.