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ice breaker: our 3 methods for breaking the ice!


“To start off a workshop or a client meeting, there’s nothing like a fun, short, and interactive activity to break the ice! These are called ‘Ice Breakers’—these mini collaborative activities encourage participants to express themselves, listen to each other, and feel comfortable so they can collaborate more effectively afterwards. At Gardeners, they are an integral part of our method for introducing strategic thinking, especially during Design Thinking workshops. Let’s take a look.”

the importance of the Ice Breaker in improving collaboration

To boost collective intelligence during strategic meetings, there’s nothing like initiating discussion among participants right from the start. The idea? Avoid at all costs leaving the speaker alone to share their ideas! For this, the ‘facilitator’—the one in charge of conducting the work session—can use one or more short activities to initiate dialogue among participants. These are called Ice Breakers or ‘Warm Ups’.

 Ice Breaker benefit?

  • Getting to know each other while reducing the discomfort of introductions
  • Allowing participants to transition from a listening stance to an action stance
  • Creating a more friendly and dynamic atmosphere through play
  • Promoting creativity and “outside the box” idea exchange
  • Getting acquainted and fostering motivation towards the project
  • Developing empathy and reinforcing team dynamics


#Goodtoknow: You can use these techniques whether you’re in-person or in hybrid mode (on Zoom, Meet, Slack, etc.)! The Ice Breaker knows no bounds, just like creativity!

our favorite Ice Breakers at Gardeners

1) Two truths, one lie

Highly effective for getting everyone comfortable – and having a little laugh – the Two Truths, One Lie exercise involves asking each participant to think of three statements about themselves: two of them are true, and one is false.
The group then votes on which statement they believe to be the lie, and at the end of each round, the person reveals the truth. You’ll be surprised!

Example simple statements that seem plausible:

  • I was an extra in a movie.
  • I’m unbeatable in mental math.
  • I only sleep four hours a night.
  • I run 8 km in under 45 minutes.
  • I go bungee jumping every year.

One fun variant of “Two Truths, One Lie” is to share a dream in addition to two truths! Participants then have to figure out which one is the dream and which ones are truths.


2) First single/album

Here’s one of our facilitator Mathieu’s favorite Ice Breakers, who is also a super UX Designer at the agency. As you may have guessed, the idea here is to ask each person to write or present the cover of the first single or album they bought! One by one, participants explain where they bought the single, why they liked it, what the format was, and share amusing anecdotes about their favorite artists or musical guilty pleasures!


3) Two minutes to draw

Here’s a more creative workshop that requires paper and colored pencils! The idea? To reassure the audience about their drawing ability and highlight that everyone can have a very different representation of the same theme!
By asking them to draw a sun, a rocket, a horse, a guitar… participants realize that each one has a different perception of reality. It’s playful and creative, perfect for starting the work off on the right foot!

So, convinced?

article author

Published in may 2022

Mathieu MO

Mathieu Montebianco

Head of Design Thinking Department (UX/UI Designer) at Gardeners, Instructor at INSEEC and IAE Angers.

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