ice-breaker activities

When organizing any kind of office gathering, rather than simply sticking to the agenda, it’s vital to ease your employees into the activities and get them acquainted with their co-workers in an effortless and fun way.

What’s the relationship to speed-dating?

Speed dating is a fun and efficient way for a group of people to rapidly interact and get to know each other. The informal, and perhaps even absurd, nature of the speed-dating environment, combined with the time pressure of the ticking clock helps remove the professional barriers. This allows them to bond on a more personal level.

Speed dating is a great way to get employees to connect and practice team-building skills. What’s great about this format is that it’s an easy model to adapt to many locations and situations so it’s perfect to base a team building ice breaker on. It’s also memorable, which immediately makes it more useful than 90% of the other icebreakers you’ve ever played and forgotten!

ice breakers speed dating 1

Adapting the model to your advantage

Regardless of the occasion or setting, speed-dating style games and questions will break the ice and engage the entire team at once. Training, office gatherings, parties, corporate events – you name it, there’s no work-related function where one of these games won’t come in handy.

The eight games suggested below require minimal setup, are easy to communicate and most of all are light-hearted and fun. Practice them through in your head so you have them ready to call upon at short notice…just remember: “Team building, speed dating”!

GAME 1: Who would you trust/let/work with… and why?


Different colleagues will know some people better than others. This is a nice way to introduce colleagues in a positive light as this game ensures participants will naturally choose people’s positive attributes.


The pair have 1 minute (30 seconds each) to pose each other 1 question based on the following format:

“Who would you trust/let/work with… and why?”

Their answer must include someone from the office that their partner knows. Questions can be varied and creative. For example,

“Who would you let borrow your brand new Ferrari and why?”
“Who would you let babysit your children and why?”
“Who would you want on your quiz team and why?”

Run the segment for 1 minute, and let them know to swap over after 30 seconds. At the end of the round change partners and repeat for as much time as you have.

GAME 2: Which is the lie?


Learn something unexpected about your colleague.


Firstly, have everyone come up with 3 “facts” about themselves. 1 is true (e.g. “I’ve got a black Labrador named Bruce“), and the other two are a complete lie (e.g. “I used to play badminton professionally for my mother country“).

Use the speed dating format, one at a time each pair has half the time to read out their statements and be questioned by their partner who is trying to identify the true one.

Run the segment for 2 minutes, and let them know to swap over after 1 minute. At the end of the round change partners and repeat for as much time as you have.

GAME 3: Who are you?


The inquisitive nature of this ice breaker helps lock non-work-related facts about their colleagues in their short-term memory. The repeated interview format then moves that into long-term memory.


Pair the group off and give 5 minutes for both people to interview their partner with non-job-related questions. 5 minutes is a long time so each person should aim to get 7 facts from their partner. Explain that shortly everyone will have to do a quick “presentation” to the group about their partner.

At this point put everyone’s name in a hat and get people to draw names keeping them hidden.

Now go around the group with each person giving a quick 30-second “presentation” about their partner. People need to pay special attention to the information about the people whose names they have drawn from the hat.

It’s time for the speed-dating setup. Each time someone sits with a new partner they must try to determine the name of the person on their partner’s piece of paper. They do this by asking questions relating to the information they’ve heard about each person in the presentations.

Run the segment for 2 minutes, and let them know to swap over after 1 minute. At the end of the round change partners and repeat for as much time as you have.

Game 4: Who Am I?


Creating mind maps is an excellent way to self-reflect. Since this particular game entails a combination of drawing, coloring and writing, your employees can show off their creative side. Also, the visual aspect will make it more memorable.


Ask the participants to create a mind map about themselves (Who am I ?). Give them three minutes to draw it using colors, images and words. You’re in charge of keeping track of time.
In the speed-dating setup, each participant presents their(complete) mind map to the colleague sitting next to him. They have one minute to do this, then it’s their colleague’s turn.

After this, all of the mind maps can be displayed for everyone to see and discuss.

Game 5: Guess the questions


This is an excellent icebreaker for teams that don’t know each other all that well but can also be adapted for those that do. It also has a bit of a competitive edge to it, which will make it more engaging for the participants.


First, everyone writes down 5 things about themselves on a piece of paper. For teams that are new and don’t know each other well, these can be some basic pieces of info, such as the name of their child/wife, their age, favorite sport, etc., but for more familiar teams they can write anything they want.

When they are paired up, they have to ask each other questions to get one of the words on the paper as the answer. They have 2 minutes to do this before moving on to another team member. They can compete to see who has more correct guesses.

Game 6: Passions Tic Tac Toe


The goal of this icebreaker game is to help the participants get to know each other’s passions and find common ground. Finding things in common increases team spirit and leads to better collaboration.


Create a 3 x 3 grid for each participant and have them fill in each block with a different personal passion randomly. After the individual work, they start speed-dating and comparing notes. When they find the same passion listed in both grids, ask them to sign for each other in the appropriate square. The winner is the participant who manages to have other people’s signatures on three lines (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal). You can continue the game to have as many winners as you possibly can.

Game 7: The Four Quadrants Activity


The Four Quadrants is a fun and creative team icebreaker that can be adapted for any situation. It is super easy to prep for and set up – you only need large sheets of paper (flipcharts or similar) and markers. The exercise is fun, colorful, and visual and can be modified to work with any group and/or topic just by changing the questions.


Have people draw up a 2×2 grid and ask them four questions. They should draw the answers in each quadrant. Questions can cover topics like current challenges, stressors, defining moments, moments of pride, fears, desired outcomes for the current gathering, etc. Afterward, they can show each other their drawings and discuss their creations in the speed dating section.

Game 8: Trading Cards


This meeting starter is great because it lets people self-define and gives them a “personality” outside the typical work environment. Additionally, it gives participants quick snapshots of multiple players (since they see many cards as they’re being passed around), and it creates memorable visuals that give people conversation pieces as the meeting progresses.


Ask the participants to take 5–10 minutes to create a personal “trading card”—one that includes a self-portrait, a nickname for their “player,” and one thing about themselves that people in the meeting aren’t likely to know.

At the speed-dating stage, participants exchange cards and give a short presentation about theirs. After that, the other participant has to ask two additional questions about any info on the card.

The “Trading cards” can be displayed around the room at the end of the activity.


Informal ice breakers like this are quick, easy, fun and simple to remember. It is easy to see that you will really make yourself look good in the eyes of your team if you can do something like this at very short notice – just remember “Team building, speed dating” and hopefully one of the three games above (or something similar) will come to mind! What is more, you will at least partially achieve your goal of getting people interacting in a positive way with each other in a limited space of time (under 20 minutes).

If this blog makes sense to you, imagine what you could achieve with more complex team building exercises, more time and a professional team building group leader. Please give us a call to discuss whether our corporate team building service might be able to help you get your team bonding, building and operating at something like its full potential.