One Word Icebreaker Template

Great if you want to warm people up but also set some context for the meeting or workshop! The goal is to ease people into it in a lighthearted, low-pressure way.

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What is the One Word icebreaker? 📣

In the One Word icebreaker, participants are split up into breakout groups. They’ll be asked to come up with one word they feel is most representative of the topic of your workshop.

This gives participants a lighthearted, easy-going way to ease into the topic and get the chance to speak early on in the workshop.

How it works

  1. Using the breakout groups, break people up into pairs or threes. They’ll have 3 mins 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 to the main room, ask each group to share their word with a short explanation of why they chose that word. Give 2 minutes to each 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 after.

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.

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.


1-10 mins

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