Meet and Greet Meeting Ice Breakers

A Team Building Ice Breaker for Meetings, Training Sessions, and Events

Businessman and businesswoman shaking hands at conference table
••• David Lees/ Taxi/ Getty Images

Want to know more about creating quick, fun ice breakers for training sessions, team building sessions, and regular meetings? Proponents of ice breakers that reinforce the content and goal accomplishment of a team building or training session use brief ice breakers to introduce the content of the training session.

At the same time, there is a place for a fun ice breaker whose only purpose is to help session attendees know and appreciate each other.

Here is an ice breaker that requires some time in preparation, but is quick and fun to carry out at your meeting. People enjoy it and it breaks the ice nicely.

This meet and greet meeting ice breaker works well for new employee orientation when you have a group of new employees starting. It is also effective at a large all-company meeting to help people across departments get to know each other.

An Ice Breaker That Helps People Meet and Greet

In meetings, employees have a tendency to sit with the people that they know best at work. Consequently, you'll find department members sitting together and people who have the same job sitting together. At a company or department meeting, to help attendees get to know coworkers outside of their immediate work group, this ice breaker, or any variation, works well.

Sweet Greet Meeting Icebreaker

In advance of the meeting, purchase candy bars for each attendee.

Buy the number of varieties necessary for dividing attendees across the desired number of groups or tables. As an example, if you want five employees in each small group, purchase five Snickers bars, five Baby Ruth candy bars, and so forth. Place all of the candy bars in a bag and ask employees to draw a candy bar as they enter the meeting.

You have also either labeled the tables with the candy bar name or placed an additional candy bar on the table in advance so employees know where to sit. Instruct attendees that they are to sit with the people who drew the same candy bar as they did.

(Warn employees not to eat the candy bar on the table or people will not know how to find their group—trust this warning, it happens before you know it. Meeting attendees are quick and stealthy—and hungry.)

Because this is such a fun approach to helping employees get to know each other, you can simply ask people to introduce themselves at their assigned table. If you want to involve the employees in a more elaborate debriefing, you can develop a series of questions for people to answer.

Note that these are suggested questions for you to use. They are easy to answer and non-intrusive so no participants will experience difficulty answering them. Virtually no participant will not have an answer to each of these questions.

These questions elicit positive responses from your participants. It is recommended that an ice breaker that starts out with candy bars is not the setting in which you want to encourage your participants to complain about their bad boss or how much they dislike their job.

Use these discussion questions as a starting point and customize them and the questions you invent to your work setting and participants. Follow these facilitation guidelines to ensure success.

Sample questions or discussion points to use might include:

  • Describe how and when you came to work at this company.
  • Share your biggest current challenge you are experiencing at work.
  • Share two things about yourself that you think no one at your table knows about you.
  • Describe a positive customer interaction you have experienced.
  • Tell your coworkers something you appreciate about your company.
  • Tell your coworkers what you appreciate about your coworkers.
  • Share what you like about your current job.
  • Share the funniest or most fun situation you have experienced at work.
  • Talk about the best boss you ever had. What set him or her apart?
  • Are you a cat person, dog person, bird person, or gerbil person? What is your favorite pet and why?
  • What was your favorite vacation you've taken and what made it stand out in your memory?
  • If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you choose to eat?
  • Tell your tablemates three things about you. Two of them are true and one of them is a lie. Ask people to guess which is the lie.
  • Share one thing that you want to be able to do at work every day and without which you would be unhappy in your current job.
  • If you could choose one location for your next travel adventure and money is no object, where would you go and why?

You can diversify your approach to this ice breaker with fruit, cookies, or other items that people enjoy. But, candy works best, for all but the die-hard healthy eaters. Trust this. You won't go wrong using candy bars especially with popular candy bars like Snickers or Milky Way.

And again, you can simply ask people to introduce themselves at their assigned table. Or, if you want to take a more formal approach, you can develop a series of questions for people to answer such as those listed above.

Keep in mind that if you're using this approach as a meeting icebreaker at a meal or lunch, people will want to eat hot food. So, a less formal discussion is better to start with until after the meal when you may have your participants discuss your selected questions.

Here are several additional quick meet and greet ice breakers and an audience long term favorite ice breaker.

More Resources for Team Building and Meetings