Why use an icebreaker?

Icebreakers are a great tool for launching collaborative sessions. They open the channels of communication, and help put people at ease by giving everyone a chance to contribute.

The value of icebreakers doesn’t stop there. They help set the tone for a session. They let the facilitator model collaborative behavior. They can also establish common ground between participants which helps foster spaces in which people are happy to share.

A good icebreaker should be so simple that people can respond almost instantly. They aim to get a response rather than a right answer. Icebreakers should be inclusive. They should apply to everyone in the group so they all get the chance to contribute positively. 

Everything that’s said during an icebreaker can help build a connection. That’s why asking people to explain their input is giving them a chance to connect. The best thing about these new connections is that they start a conversational momentum that carries over into the session itself. 

In short, icebreakers help focus and engage a group to ensure they get the most out of their collaborative session.

Our icebreaker templates to help build connections

Our team has hand-picked our top four fun icebreaker activities and designed templates to deliver them online.  
  • House Rules
  • Create a safe conversational space where a set of agreed rules can be agreed upon.
  • Photo Wall
  • A colorful, creative collage that lets participants share a friendly fact or two about themselves by way of some conversation starter questions.
  • Two Truths and One Lie
  • A fun and creative way to have participants interact with each other while discovering a fact each is happy to share.
  • Where in the World?
  • A way for people to share a bit of where they are located or where they are from and perhaps to learn something about the area.
You can find these templates in our library of meeting templates and maps.
Related templates

Tips for running effective icebreakers

Who should use an icebreaker?

Anyone who wishes to get more out of their collaborative, meeting, workshop or lesson. This could be because there is a new group of people, or there is a new person to the team. It can also be used to encourage at least everyone saying something at a meeting and to help overcome any initial fears. 

Icebreakers are a proven way of supporting engagement and focus. As such they should be used by:

  • Facilitators
  • Trainers
  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • Workshop practitioners

In short, anyone overseeing group interaction who is looking to support that group’s effectiveness would benefit from their use.

How to run an icebreaker

An icebreaker helps to set the scene for the session that follows, so it’s important for a facilitator to begin as they wish to go on.

When it comes to online sessions, there are a variety of tools to help. Screen sharing software, video conferencing and online collaboration tools such as GroupMap allow facilitators to deliver inclusive icebreakers. 

GroupMap’s icebreaker templates are deliberately simple in design. This is because most of the time spent during the icebreaker should be spent talking and getting to know each other. Besides just a simple poll that means people simply get lost in a stack of numbers, these ice breakers questions are non-threatening and allow each person to share freely without fear. There is no wrong answers.

Online Icebreakers can also be used to make sure participants know how to use the collaboration tool, add comments, images and ideas, check everyone is able to access the software.


Add input to the template.


Explain the input and why it was included.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.