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Use icebreakers to get participants vocal and more participatory sooner by introducing themselves beyond name and title. The following examples can be used by virtual participants as well. When virtual, make sure all participants identify themselves before speaking.

Questions to Launch Effective Icebreakers (aka Meeting Sparks)

A Few Dozen Highly Effective Icebreakers (aka, Meeting Sparks)

Effective Icebreakers (aka Meeting Sparks)

  • A simple yet effective-method: “If I were a . .  . “ approach such as—“If I were a gem, I would be a ____” or “If I were a flower, I would be a ____” or “If I were a bird, I would be a _____” or “If I were a vehicle, I would be a _____”
  • Describe your dream career as a child.
  • Describe the first event you remember vividly in life.
  • Explain how you got one of your scars (and where it is).
  • Explain your strangest paying job or chore?
  • If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
  • If you were a room in a house, which room are you and why?
  • “My hero is . . .”
  • Name a talent that you have and no one here knows about it.
  • Name the last song you sang out loud by yourself?
  • Sound out or act out your high school mascot.
  • Tell us an animal you would like to be, and why.
  • Tell us your favorite James Bond actor and explain why.
  • The title of your autobiography?
  • Two truths and a lie—participants guess the lie.
  • Use one word to describe where you are right now.
  • What kitchen appliance or tool would you be and why?
  • What would you bring with you on a desert island?
  • What’s on your reading list or nightstand?
  • When wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  • Which model and type of automobile would you be and why?
  • “Would you rather?” questions; eg, Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds? Would you rather live without music or live without television? Would you rather be 4 feet tall or 8 feet tall?
  • Your favorite ice cream?

Meeting Sparks – another phrase for icebreakers

  • Based on a project theme, create new surnames for participants; eg, Lori Aconcagua (ie, highest mountain in South America).
  • Begin with a “Fun Fact” sharing by each individual of something previously unknown to everyone.
  • On a rotating basis, have an assignee bring in a joke.
  • Start the meeting with a song and award a prize to the first person that correctly identifies the name or artist or both.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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