Engagement with your guests is probably one of the biggest challenges Event Hosts are facing. Yet, it is also one of the most crucial parts of any event (whether it's online or offline).
So, in this article, we've compiled a list of some ideas of ice-breaker/ opening activities you could implement at your next event to get your guests warmed up and ready to connect with each other!
(Here's a little starter tip though... the basic idea behind all these activities, is to give guests something common to do, or something to talk about... just until they get warmed up and can come up with topics themselves)
1. What will you do if???
Come up with a list of what-if scenarios before your event. These can be related to your event topic, completely random, professional, or absolutely whacky. For example:
- What would you do if you walked into your room and saw yourself surfing the computer?
- What would you do if you suddenly got the power to be invisible?
- What would you do if there was a stranger in your house?
Give these scenarios to your guests, and ask them to take turns answering what they would do. This is a simple but great way to get people warmed up to each other and start a conversation.
2. Blind Origami
This is a fun one to get your guests moving (well... at least their hands...).
Have one person per table become the instructor (or, if you'd prefer, you can be the sole instructor and give instructions in Presentation Mode instead). Everyone else at the table has to grab a piece of A4 paper, hold it up and close their eyes.
The instructor then gives a series of instructions to create an origami structure such as "fold the paper in half" or "rotate the paper 90 degrees". Guests then have to follow the instructions (with their eyes closed) AND without asking any questions back.
Once the instructions are done, everyone can open their eyes and reveal their "masterpieces" - you'd be surprised at the results! Now rotate the roles, and have someone else on the table be the instructor.
Instead of origami, you could also take the same concept and apply it to drawing. So, instead of giving origami instructions, the instructor would give instructions to draw a specific picture using only pre-defined shapes such as "draw a circle" or d"raw a vertical line."
However you play it, the game really highlights how specific people need to be when giving out instructions (hence it's a really great team-building activity as well). Additionally, it also emphasizes how one piece of instruction can mean 3 different things to different people.
3. 2 Truths 1 Lie
Each person on the table has to come up with three statements about themselves. Two of them should be truthful, and one of them should be a lie. For example:
- I have an older sister (TRUE)
- My favorite hobby growing up was swimming (TRUE)
- I cannot ride a bike (FALSE)
Then, each person takes it in turn to share their three personal statements, and then it's up to the rest of the people to figure out which of the three statements is the lie!
Repeat this for each member of the table.
This is a super simple, easy way to start an exchange. It forces people to share information about themselves (which can lead to more authentic conversations down the line) in a safe and fun environment.
4. 10 Fun and Strange Facts
This is a spin-off of the previous game, but instead of using personal statements, it revolves around stone-cold facts (and some lies!).
The idea is for each person to find nine strange but true facts. For example:
- Spider webs were used as bandages in ancient times.
- One-quarter of all your bones are located in your feet.
- A dentist invented cotton candy.
AND come up with one strange fact that sounds true, but in fact, is actually a lie.
This person then shares those ten facts, and the other people would try and guess which one is the false one.
This is a strange but fun game to get your guests out of the "adult" mindset and more into one that's open to conversations and new ideas. And, who doesn't like finding out about strange facts!
5. The Worst Ideas
This definitely sounds counter-productive, but stick with us for a little while, and I'm sure you'll agree it's actually a winner.
In this activity, you're going to ask your guests to come up with the worst possible idea they can think of. Really get them to go all out - think impossible, infeasible, inappropriate, illegal, really the worst idea ever. Then you're going to ask each person to share their worst idea with the rest of their table. This is a great way to get your guests to start feeling comfortable with one another, and of course, for the laughs as well! Not to mention, it also gets your guests to start thinking creatively (if that's useful for your event)
If you want to take this a step further, you could even have your guests think of ways to turn their worst ideas into brilliant ones! They can do as a group, or pairs, or even individually (but we personally think groups are always better!). Basically, the idea with this one is for people to realize that even an idea that might sound silly to start with has value ingrained within it. And, who knows, maybe your guests will come up with the next million-dollar idea at your event!!
6. Story of Things
This one's kind of like show and tell, but with some added creativity...
Ask your guests to find something within their workspace to show to other guests. What you do from there is up to you though, here are some ideas:
- Have guests share the story behind those objects, like when they got it, what it means to them, etc.
- Have guests invent a wildly crazy story with the object as the central focus. For example, a house plant being their conscience, or a pen that's traveled reallyyy well.
- Have guests send you a photo of their object before the event itself so that during the event, they can try to match up who's object is whose.
7. Use of...
An oldie but a goodie! Ask guests to brainstorm as many different ways to use a basic red brick (or a plain paperclip, simple sponge, any ordinary object will do). That's it! You can repeat it with a different object how many ever times you want.
You can even turn this one into a little fun-natured competition between teams to see who can get the most uses. It's a fun way to get guests to warm up not only their brains but also warm up to each other.
8. 20 Questions
Another classic to bring groups of people together to accomplish a common mission - to guess the object.
How it works is simple. Have one person on the table think of an object; it could be any common object. Everyone else can then ask 20 Yes or No questions to try and figure out what the object is. You can even do this in Presentation Mode with all guests together, asking questions through the General Chat, Q&A, or inviting them on stage one by one.
9. Human BINGO
This is a great active option that'll get your guests jumping between tables and talking to each other. But, it does require a little bit of advanced preparation.
The idea here is to collect statements about people (these can be general statements or true statements you've collected from your guests in advance). For example, find some who...
- is wearing a hat
- has an older sister
- can speak Japanese
You would then collect all those statements and arrange them into unique BINGO cards to hand out to each guest (remember, each guest would need a unique BINGO card). You can either create these yourself or use an online Bingo Card Generator.
Then, it's up to your guests to jump between tables and try to find people that match those statements. The first person to get BINGO (a straight horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line) wins! Alternatively, if you want to make it a little more challenging, you could change the game's aim to finding people for all the facts.
10. Pictionary/ Charades
Game night classics! Pictionary or Charades are easy to organize, light-hearted games that'll give your guests a chance to take their minds away from stress or the "pressure to socialize" and have a little fun instead.
If you didn't know... Pictionary is where one person draws an object, and everyone else has to try and guess what it is. Whereas Charades is the same concept, but instead of drawing, the person has to act either an object or, more commonly, a movie/ tv show.
If you're playing Pictionary, you can use the Whiteboard in Remo for the drawings, or embed an online version of Pictionary straight into the Whiteboard. To learn how to do that, check out this article!
Just make sure to add a link to an online word generator if your guests need a little inspiration. There are lots of them out there!
11. Table Naming
This one is as simple as renaming tables around the shared interests of your guests. For example, naming the tables after various hobbies, or countries your guests are from, or even specific discussion topics related to your event. By doing so, when your guests enter the event, they'll have both an idea of which table they would want to join AND how to start the conversation!
For those who don't know, check out this article to learn how to rename your tables in Remo.
12. Simple Questions
This is a great introductory activity - get everyone to introduce themselves! It can be done face to face at individual tables, or even through General Chat as a way to ease them into the event. The hardest part for a guest in a new environment is the first sentence (whether spoken or written). So, by giving them a solid question to answer, that makes this part much easier.
And don't be afraid to get a little fun with your questions. Of course, ask for their name, where they're from, but throw in some light-hearted ones too, so they realize yours is going to be a FUN event. For example, what's your name, where you're from, and your favorite flavor of ice-cream (because who doesn't like ice-cream...)
Thank you to everyone who sent us their ideas above. If you've tried out some other activities that have worked out well, let us know! Then, we can add it to our growing list :)