Icebreakers or warm-up activities, usually at the start of workshops, meetings and sessions, serve several purposes: they provide a welcome, set the pace and give attendees an opportunity to interact and get to know each other. Icebreaker activities should not make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Activities such as round table introductions - where attendees have to stand up and introduce themselves to the rest of the group - are often called ‘creeping death’ as they can cause anxiety or nervousness to some attendees.

There are a whole range of icebreakers to choose from to get your event off to the best possible start.

This is the Speak Out selection of good ice breaker activities. Whatever warm-up or icebreaker you choose to use, it’s important that the facilitator is enthusiastic about it. Their energy helps to drive the activity along and maximise participation of everyone attending.


Input: In response to an easy question, attendees write their answers on a post-it note.

Sample questions include: what questions (‘what carbon emission-reducing practices are you already using on-farm?’) and where questions (where do you get most of your farming information?’ or ‘where do you most like to go on holiday?’) .

Task: attendees place their responses on a board

Note: in this activity the focus is not to single out answers or attribute them to any attendee in particular.

Tip: the facilitator should also take part in the activity.

Word search

Input: you pre­pare a word search with key words or phras­es con­cealed with a grid of let­ters. You could hide words of issues or top­ics you intend to cov­er later.

Task: invite atten­dees to com­plete the word search with­in a time lim­it but add that if they get stuck they can ask for help by the per­son to their left.

This activ­i­ty gives atten­dees the chance to inter­act, to feel part of a team and aware of the issues or focus of the event.

Tip: you can eas­i­ly cre­ate a word search online.

Truths and lies

Input: each attendee has to prepare and present three short statements about themselves, two true and one a lie.

Task: the group listens and votes on which statement they believe is a lie. This activity gives attendees a chance to get to know each other better whilst removing the pressure of speaking in front of a group as in the ‘stand up and introduce yourself to everyone here’ icebreaker.

Tip: this icebreaker can take quite a lot of time to play so factor that into your planning.

Human Bingo

Input: each attendee is giv­en a num­ber of ques­tions for which anoth­er attendee is the answer .

Task: atten­dees have to dis­cov­er who is/​has the cor­rect answer to each question.

Tip: this ice­break­er has lots of infor­mal inter­ac­tion but gets hard­er the big­ger the group. 

Name card mix-up

Input: give each attendee a name card, as they enter the room or as they are sitting down, which is not their own.

Task: ask attendees to find the person in the group who has their name card.

Tip: works best if people are all present at the start. Otherwise only hand out name cards of those who are in attendance.

Introducing your partner

Input: in pairs, attendees given a set period of time to find out the answers from each other to a set of questions. For example, your name, what you love about your work and where, if not here, you would rather be right now?.

Task: each attendee introduces their partner to the rest of the group.

Tip: Introducing a partner as opposed to yourself often lessens anxiety or nervousness as people tend to find speaking about others easier than talking about themselves.

Giving out different sets of questions to each pair can make the whole group part of this icebreaker more interesting.

The choice is yours

Input: list the work­shops ses­sions or top­ics of dis­cus­sion on a board/​flipchart.

Task: invite atten­dees to mark or vote for sessions/​top­ics they are most intro­duced in, or rank them by importance.

Tip: use the results to pro­vide the focus for what hap­pens in the rest of the event/​session. This ice­break­er often sparks use­ful con­ver­sa­tions between atten­dees pri­or to the start of the meet­ing or workshop.