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My Favorite Team Building Icebreaker

Find 10 Things in Common


Employees milling around a table talking with each other

An Ice Breaker Helps Participants Get to Know Each Other

Klaus Vedfelt/Iconica/Getty Images

I've used this successful team building icebreaker for so many years that I don't remember where it originated. It's fast, easy, and fun. Try out this always successful, laughter-generating, team building icebreaker. It’s a good icebreaker for a meeting because it takes so little time.

Team Building Icebreaker Steps

  1. Divide the meeting participants into groups of four or five people by having them number off. (You do this because people generally begin a meeting by sitting with the people they already know best.)

  2. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to find ten things they have in common, with every other person in the group, that have nothing to do with work. (I tell people no body parts (we all have legs; we all have arms) and no clothing (we all wear shoes, we all wear pants). This helps the group explore shared interests more broadly.

  3. Tell the groups that one person must take notes and be ready to read their list to the whole group upon completion of the assignment.

  4. Ask for a volunteer to read their whole list of things in common first. Then, ask each group to share their whole list with the whole group. Because people are your best source for laughter and fun, the reading of the lists always generates a lot of laughter and discussion. You can also catch the drift of the conversation in the small groups based on the transitions made from item to item.

This team building icebreaker takes 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the number of groups. To keep the activity to ten minutes, after seven minutes of brainstorming together, I usually tell the groups that the lists they have created are perfect, no matter how many items they have, and debrief.

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