Have you ever met someone and found it hard to find something to talk about? I mean, you know nothing about them, which should mean there’s lots for you two to talk about, but that isn’t always the case. Well, that’s where icebreaker questions come into play.
Icebreaker questions can be cheesy, but they don’t have to be. With the right icebreaker questions, you can actually get to know someone in a meaningful, stress-free way.
What are icebreaker questions?
Icebreaker questions are ones that you can ask people individually or in a group setting in order to get to know others. These questions are designed to “break the ice”, that is, the metaphorical ice of a conversation. The idea is that once the ice is broken, the conversation will flow more freely as people feel more comfortable.
Icebreaker questions can be used at networking events, in large groups, in small groups, or even in one-on-one conversations, like job interviews. Using icebreaker questions during job interviews can help the interviewer get to know the candidate better, and help the candidate feel more relaxed and comfortable speaking with the hiring manager.
What are good icebreaker questions?
Good icebreaker questions help people get to know each other by taking away the awkward issue of not knowing what to talk about with people new to them. A good ice breaker question gets people thinking, and reveals more about them than the simple “where are you from” or “what do you do” questions.
A good icebreaker question may seem simple, but it reveals how a person thinks his or her preferences, and some background information you might not have known otherwise. Good icebreaker questions may uncover something you didn’t know about the other person, even something that surprises you, thus sparking other conversations and giving you more to talk about with this person.
Icebreakers also foster better collaboration between individuals. Don’t believe us? Experiments have shown that participating in icebreaker activities help people collaborate and actually like each other more. In one trial, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton had 221 participants form groups of two to four people. Norton asked participants to complete a scavenger hunt in which the groups had to take selfies in front of different locations around a college campus. The groups only had 45 minutes to complete the activity, in which there was a cash prize involved.
Before the hunt began, half the teams were asked to do an icebreaker activity and the other half were asked to read an article together. The groups that completed the icebreaker before the hunt ended up getting the most selfies, completing the hunt in the shortest time span, and even liking each other more, according to a post-scavenger hunt survey.
49 examples of good icebreaker questions
“What is your favorite” icebreaker questions:
- What is your favorite meme?
- What is your favorite show to rewatch?
- What is your favorite dessert?
- What is your favorite streaming platform?
- What is your favorite activity that’s not related to your work?
- What is your favorite childhood book?
“What if” icebreaker questions
- What if no one was able to get angry?
- What if Netflix wasn’t around?
- If you were a condiment, which one would you be?
- What if you could go back in time? When would you travel to?
- What if we all had one adjective floating above our heads? What would yours be?
“Where do you stand” icebreaker questions:
- Where do you stand on universal basic income?
- Where do you stand on breakfast for dinner?
- Where do you stand on doing work at night or in the morning?
- Where do you stand on cardio exercise or weight lifting?
“Would you rather” icebreaker questions:
- Would you rather be an astronaut or an Olympian?
- Would you rather travel into the past or the future?
- Would you rather have a remote to control time or a machine to print money?
- Would you rather be able to read minds or speak any language?
- Would you rather go on a beach vacation or explore a new city?
- Would you rather be shorter or taller?
- Would you rather be 20 minutes early to everything or 10 minutes late to the most important meeting of your life?
- Would you rather text or email?
- Would you rather talk over the phone or via video call?
Fun icebreaker questions:
- What show are you currently streaming right now?
- What is your spirit animal and why?
- Where would you go if you knew you might get stuck there for a year?
- If language wasn’t a barrier, where in the world would you move to right now?
- What was the last dream you had about?
- What famous person do you most want to meet in person?
- What is your most used emoji?
“Getting to know you” icebreaker questions:
- What has been the highlight of your year? What about your week?
- What is one of the most thrilling experiences of your life?
- What’s the best gift you have ever given?
- What’s the best gift you have ever received?
- What did you want to be when you were younger?
- What is your favorite healthy snack?
- What is your favorite unhealthy snack?
- What was the last book you read? What did you learn from it?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?Icebreaker questions for interviews:
- What do you consider to be your greatest strength?
- What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?
- What is your favorite part about this company?
- What is your favorite part about working in an office?
- What’s your favorite snack to eat while you work?
- Who is someone you admire in our industry?
- What motivates you?
- When was the first time you realized you wanted to work in this industry?
- Do any of your personal interests coincide with the work you do professionally?
How to answer ice breaker questions
Generally, when answering icebreaker questions, you want to be honest and friendly. Remember that even though these questions are usually fun, your answer is the first impression that a person will have of you, and first impressions last.
The STAR method can help you answer behavioral interview questions, and of course, icebreaker questions. The STAR method is quite simple. The method helps you plan your answer to a question so that it addresses the situation, task at hand, the action you took, and the result. Check out this guide to the STAR method to learn more about the best way to answer any question thrown at you.
Jennifer Fabiano is an SEO reporter at Ladders.