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Top 5 icebreaker ideas for fun and effective standup meetings

Published on
February 11, 2023

Let's face it: There's nothing worse than a low-energy team meeting where it's a struggle to get people to chime in and participate. 

Until you break the ice, there won't be much team bonding or problem-solving getting done.

When you need to bring the energy at your standup meeting up a notch, it's helpful to have a few great icebreaker activities in your back pocket. While icebreaker games may seem like a waste of time, keep in mind that companies with happy, engaged employees are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable. Sometimes, it really does pay to have fun!

So, with that said, here are a few of our favorite icebreakers that are sure to spur engagement, creative thinking, and team building at your next standup meeting.

1) Interpersonal icebreakers

Standup meetings don't have to be all about work. If your employees can form genuine relationships with their coworkers, their job satisfaction is sure to improve. This is where fun icebreaker games and questions can offer a lot of value.

Interpersonal icebreakers help your team members form bonds that build strong teams and a positive company culture. They also make for great conversation starters! A few quick icebreakers is sometimes all it takes to get even your team’s biggest introverts alert and engaged. 💪

  • 🏡 Where did you grow up? Where someone grew up is an important part of their background and what makes them who they are. It's also a question that can effortlessly spur further conversation.
  • 🐶 Do you have any pets? And while some of your employees may come from a pet-free household, most of them will be delighted to tell you more about their furry little bundles of joy. 
  • 🤸 What are your favorite hobbies? This question also gives your employees a chance to discover shared interests that can be enjoyed outside of work.
  • 🫂 Who is the most important person in your life and why? The people most important to your employees are likely one of their biggest sources of motivation and another huge part of what makes them who they are.

2) Professional development icebreakers

Only 34% of employees state that they're satisfied with the level of investment that their organization makes in their professional development. 😬 That number should be a lot higher.

Professional development icebreakers are designed to get employees thinking about improving their professional skills. They're also a great way for team leaders to learn more about the professional development aspirations of their team. And, like all icebreakers, they make for a great team-building exercise and a fun way to get people talking. 

  • 📚 What is your favorite personal development book? Personal development books are an excellent resource for improvement! Discussing it with an icebreaker might inspire a team member to pick up a recommended book.
  • 🧠 If you could learn one new professional skill, what would it be? This icebreaker gets employees thinking about which skills are most important to their careers. As a bonus, it also helps team leaders identify which skills their reports are most interested in improving.
  • 🗣 What's the best career advice you've ever got? This is a great way for team members to share valuable career insights relevant to those on similar career paths.
  • 💭 If you could learn one new personal skill, what would it be? Personal skills may not be as directly applicable in the workplace as professional skills, but improving personal skills such as communication and teamwork can certainly make someone a stronger employee.

3) Goal- or dream-related icebreakers

Research shows that employees who set goals are 3.6 times more likely to be committed to their organization and 14.2 times more likely to be inspired at work. 

Discussing goals can also be a source of inspiration and a team-building activity, encouraging team members to rally around common objectives and celebrate each other's progress. 

  • 🤔 If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be? This is a fun icebreaker question that gets employees thinking about their dream lives.
  • ✅ What goal have you recently achieved? Discussing goals that have already been achieved can be just as inspiring as the ones your employees are still working toward. Hearing firsthand accounts is a nice reminder that hard work pays off.
  • 🌎 What's one thing on your bucket list? Bucket-list items are often thrilling and outlandish, making this a goals-related icebreaker that is sure to encourage some interesting conversations!
  • 🧑‍🎤 Who is your dream dinner party guest, living or dead? This icebreaker question provides employees with the opportunity to discuss the people throughout history that they find most influential and inspiring.

4) Work development icebreakers

Helping employees improve at their jobs is one of the main purposes of hosting standup meetings. You can also use the icebreakers at the beginning of your meetings to encourage greater performance and work development.

These icebreakers tend to be a little more purpose-focused than silly and fun, but they are excellent for learning more about your team and what they need to excel at their jobs. These work development icebreakers are also designed to get employees thinking about their work performance and discussing ways to improve it. 

  • ⛵️ What went well last week? This icebreaker question lets employees discuss areas of their recent performance that they are proud of. It also provides the opportunity to discuss why those tasks went smoothly for positive reinforcement.
  • 📝 If you could have a personal work assistant, what would you have them do? You can also use this icebreaker to discuss what your employees would do themselves with the spare time that having a personal assistant afforded them.
  • 🙌 How are you better at your job today versus when you first started? This is an icebreaker question designed to remind employees of how they've improved and how much benefit work development can provide.
  • 🧗 What was the biggest challenge you overcame last week? This icebreaker gives employees a chance to brag a little about their resilience while also helping you identify your team's current challenges.

5) Random and fun icebreakers

Icebreakers designed to spur professional development or encourage employees to strive toward their goals are great since they offer dual benefits. Sometimes, though, all a great icebreaker needs to be is lighthearted and fun. Our favorite category is "random"!

  • 🥑 Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable? There are some surprisingly strong opinions on this one. Ask and find out!
  • 🍕 If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? You'd have to enjoy a meal quite a lot to even contemplate eating it every single day. Who knows? Maybe someone else on the team would also eat nothing but pizza?
  • 🌟 Have you ever been told you look like someone famous? Who was it? There are few things more flattering than being told you look like a celebrity!
  • 🦸 If you could have one superpower, what would it be? At some point in their life, almost everyone has dreamed of what it would be like to soar through the clouds like Superman!
  • 👻 What is your favorite urban legend that you believe is true? There's an ounce of truth to every legend, but which ones do your employees find most convincing?
  • ⏳ Would you rather be able to travel to the future or to the past? If the time machine could only travel one way, which direction would be the most interesting?
  • 📱 If you had to delete all but three apps from your phone, which ones would you keep? No matter what you want to do, you can bet there's an app for that. But which ones could your employees not live without?
  • 👚 What's the worst fashion trend you've ever rocked? This one is even more fun if they have photo evidence. Also works great for best (or worst) Halloween costume they've ever worn.

The importance of icebreakers in standup

Icebreaker questions can seem a little nonsensical at times, but there's more to them than meets the eye. Icebreaker questions play a few important roles in both in-person and virtual team meetings. Here are some of the biggest benefits that starting your meeting with icebreakers provides:

Allows employees to get to know one another

Both small teams and large groups perform better when there is some sense of unity and interpersonal connection. 🤝 But when everyone is only focused on the task at hand, it can be tough for employees to form these bonds. 

Good icebreaker questions and activities provide the opportunity for employees to engage with each other in a fun and lighthearted way. They're also a great way to give remote workers a chance to bond with their colleagues on a personal level.

Provides a nice change of pace

A little fun and laughter throughout the workday will be a breath of fresh air for your employees. If you want to help them recharge their batteries as much as possible within a short time limit, a fun icebreaker question can go a long way.

Functions as excellent team building

Icebreakers give everyone the opportunity to let loose a little bit. Depending on the nature of the questions, they can function as great team-building exercises beyond "getting to know you." 

When team members share common hobbies, experiences, likes, and dislikes, it fosters a more productive work environment: Better work relationships lead to better team collaboration. No elaborate company retreats necessary (but they're definitely welcome)! 😎 

Host better standup meetings with Spinach, with thousands of built-in icebreakers

A few fun icebreakers can breathe new life into predictable daily standups. But you can elevate your meetings even further with the right meeting software. 

With Spinach, you can run your standups more efficiently and effectively than ever before. Spinach provides a range of helpful, time-saving features, including instant summaries in Slack, a visible agenda and timer, and even built-in icebreakers and reactions!

If you want to host better standups with your remote team using the best meeting software available, be sure to try out Spinach for free today!

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