By
AJ&Smart

AJ&Smart’s Favorite Icebreakers Collection

Use these tried-and-tested icebreakers and energizers from Jonathan Courtney’s AJ&Smart to warm people up for any workshop, design sprint, or training session.

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Break the ice with AJ&Smart

AJ&Smart is a legendary design studio who have become one of the biggest voices in the facilitation world.

They put together a list of their favorite icebreakers and recreated them in Butter so you can use them to break the ice in any session.

Which icebreakers are included?

All great workshops and meetings start with a good icebreaker. You can’t just put a bunch of people in a room and expect them to be creative. You have to warm them up first.

Here, we've reimagined AJ&Smart's favorite icebreakers for Butter. Enjoy!

Icebreaker #1: My first job 👩‍🚀 👩‍🎨 👩‍🏫

Time: 10 minutes

Tools: Poll, Timer

How it works:

  1. Open the poll and ask everyone to write down their name, their first job, and the most important lesson they learned from it. Give them 3 minutes. There’s also a timer you can play alongside the poll!
  2. After everyone’s done, ask them to line up through the Queue. Select them one by one to share answers aloud.

This is a chance to learn something new about each other without getting too uncomfortably personal!

🤔 Guessing game variation

If you want to add a bit of mystery to this icebreaker, choose the Guessing Game poll where everyone writes down only their first job and what they learned from it (leaving out their name). This option shows answers anonymously!

After they answer, have the group guess which first job belongs to which member. Ask them to share in chat or out loud!

Icebreaker #2: One word 📣

Time: 10 minutes

Tools: Breakouts, Timer

This is great if you want to warm people up but also set some context for the meeting or workshop. The goal is to ease your participants into your workshop topic in a lighthearted, low-pressure way.

How it works:

  1. Break people up into pairs or threes using the breakout groups. They’ll have 3 min to discuss during the breakouts. Make sure to tell them the instructions below before you split them up!
  2. In each breakout, ask them to come up with one word to describe the topic you’re about to discuss in the workshop.
  3. When there’s only a minute left, broadcast a message to the room to remind them that the breakout will be closing soon.
  4. Once everyone’s back in the main room, ask each group to share their word with a short explanation of why they chose it. Give 2 min per group (you can run a timer for this!). Write the words they come up with in your Notes or whichever whiteboard template you’re using so that you can document it.

The purpose of this icebreaker isn’t necessarily to come up with actionable ideas, but rather, to get people thinking about the topic ahead of the main workshop activities.

🖼 Meme variation

Do steps 1-3 but instead of immediately sharing a word back in the main room, ask them to put a GIF in chat that describes/captures the word they came up with in the room. Ask everyone else to guess what it is, before having the group share their word and explanation.

Icebreaker #3: Pointless questions 😂

Time: 10 minutes

Tools: Flashcard Deck, Breakout Groups

Ease the group into natural conversation and prime them for creative thinking by asking fun questions.

How it works:

  1. Open up the flashcards with icebreaker questions to help people get to know each other better, professionally and personally. These questions are easy and inclusive. You can create others of your own too, but make sure to keep it relevant, lighthearted and not too specific!
  2. Go around the room to take turns answering the questions.
  3. If the group is quite big, then use Breakouts Groups with random groups of three. The flashcards can also be accessed in each of the rooms!

Icebreaker #4: Guess who? 🤷

Time: 10 minutes

Tools: Poll, Miro Board (optional)

This is another getting-to-know-each-other icebreaker that will facilitate natural conversation (and probably a few laughs).

How it works:

  1. Open the poll and ask each person in the group to write down a random fact about themselves—something that others in the group are unlikely to know already! Remember that this will be anonymous. 😉
  2. Once all answers are in, read each one out loud. After reading each fact, play a sound from the soundboard. This should be the trigger for the group to put down who they think each fact relates to in the chat!
  3. Once all votes are in, ask the ‘owner’ of the fact to come forward and elaborate in more detail (if they feel comfortable doing so). You can choose to put them in Spotlight when they do.

This is a great team-building icebreaker as it encourages people to reveal something new about themselves. It can spark conversations, bring people closer together, and foster empathy within a group.

🟨 Miro variation

You can also use this Guess Who template on Miro if you prefer having it in a whiteboard.

Icebreaker #5: Pictionary 🎨

Time: 10 minutes

Tools: Timer, Whiteboard

Get creatively sketchy with this fun drawing icebreaker! Since it’s a party game that most people are familiar with, it’s a great way to get people feeling relaxed.

How it works:

  1. For each round of Pictionary, pick someone in the group to be the designated sketcher. Send them a Pictionary prompt (you can use this Pictionary generator) through direct message, and allocate 1 minute for them to draw the word on Whiteboard. You need to open up a Whiteboard directly from the toolbox each time.
  2. The group then has to guess the word based on the sketcher’s drawing. You can speed this part up and make it more fun by setting another timer.

Icebreaker #6: Four quadrants 🖼

Time: 10 minutes

Tools: Timer, Miro Board

This is great for getting a bit creative and approaching potentially serious topics in a more lighthearted way!

How it works:

  1. Give each participant a space in this Miro board template (you can duplicate it to your account here!).
  2. Ask four questions. Each participant will draw their answer in each of the quadrants, using one quadrant per question. Give them 1 min to draw each question.
  3. You can also put each question in the chat and pin it so everyone remembers.
  4. At the end, participants will present and discuss what they’ve drawn. Make sure to invite participants one at a time, and respect if someone does not want to share out loud.

About the creator

AJ&Smart is an award-winning product design, strategy and innovation studio with particular expertise in using Design Sprints to help our partners with product design, product strategy and rapid innovation.

Duration

30-60 mins

Categories

Team Building
Energizer
Icebreakers
Innovation
Connection
Ideation & Brainstorming
Check-in/Check-out
Meetings
Strategy & Planning
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