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Ice Breaker Activity – First Impressions

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Excellent ice breaker activity

Great Ice Breaker Activity – First Impressions

I love “feel good” types of ice breaker activities. Here is a wonderful one for new teams and/or small or large training classes.

Use this ice breaker activity to start your meeting, presentation or training. You might consider ending the day with another one of my other favorite ice breaker/team builder activities – “Say Something Positive!”

Purpose: To start a meeting, training or presentation on a positive note and to quickly break the ice.

When: This ice breaker activity can be used with groups of six to one hundred or more. It is especially effective with groups or teams that don’t know each other.

Materials: Provide large index cards (or card stock), pen and pieces of masking tape to each participant.


  1. Provide a large index card (or piece of card stock), pen and piece of masking tape to each participant.
  2. Have participants tape the index card to each others backs with masking tape and make sure it is secure.
  3. Have participants find someone and introduce themselves and mingle for a few minutes. When done ask them to write on each others back their first impression of that person in one or two words max. Instruct the group that only positive impressions can be written. After the pairs have written on each others backs have them move onto someone else.
  4. Once participants have written on each others backs (depending on the size of the group and how long you want the activity to go) ask them to remove the index cards and provide them a few silent minutes to review what others have written.
  5. Once participants have had time to read the responses on their index cards ask them what they are thinking? Ask how they might feel if they always thought others first impressions of them were so positive? Ask what they might be able to learn from this ice breaker activity? Responses might include the need for us to form good first impressions of others, the need to share the good we see in others and the way we feel when others say positive things about us. 

Things to note: If you are going to use this ice breaker activity with larger groups, you might consider breaking into smaller groups of 8-12 depending on how long you want the activity to go.

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Leave a Comment

  • sumeet April 14, 2012, 10:32 am

    great tip

  • Mike Rogers April 23, 2012, 7:06 pm

    Thanks all! Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michael Hoffman April 23, 2012, 7:00 pm

    Good one Mike. One that I use quite often is what I call the “Kodak moment”. I ask the participants to remember a moment when they were most proud of themselves. Then ask them to describe what that looked like as if someone had snapped a photo of them just at the moment it was happening. “What were you wearing?, What were you thinking?, Who was with you?, etc.” are questions to help them explore the moment. People are beaming afterwards.

  • Eduardo Martinez April 23, 2012, 7:01 pm

    Often when commencing a planning session, the mood can be tense or stressed. If you want to help set others at ease and create a “getting to know you” moment with participants, ask them to share the nicknames that others called them from days gone by (or even currently). Set the tone by sharing a list of your own (if available), and include those that might be perceived as silly or even embarrassing.
    I used to use this with more informal groups, and then my co-facilitator once followed suit with a collection of high-powered corporate types (blurting out, “Eduardo uses this one all the time!”). They laughed (with each other) for an hour at some of the “pet names”, and it completely changed the tone of the session. Everyone was more at ease, having fun, and more importantly – creative. I’ve been using it in Boardroom’s ever since (when other icebreakers were less appropriate) and it has always gone well.

  • Carolyn Shaw PhD April 23, 2012, 7:04 pm

    Thanks Mike. A slightly less personal variation we’ve used for people who are more reserved is asking each participant to write on an index card something about themselves that other’s might not guess, write their name on the back, and give to the instructor. Participants then visit with one another as you’ve described, perhaps 1 to 2 minutes with each person. Afterward the instructor reads each card aloud and participants vote on who they think that card belongs to. Two people win prizes – the one who had the most correct guesses, and the person who the fewest people matched with their card. Just have to remind people not to reveal their “secrets” during the visits

  • Sandra M. April 23, 2012, 7:05 pm

    Another idea is to have the participant choose an adjective that describes themselves. This word must start with the same letter as their first name. Example: Sassy Sandy, Clean Carissa or Timely Teresa…you get the idea. You go around the room and each person who goes to introduce themselves this way must first say the adjective and name of the people who went before them. This is most difficult for the last person in the group … but it does help the participants learn names quickly and it tells a little about themselves.

  • Lisa Wiele April 23, 2012, 7:11 pm

    We often do a similar type of exercise towards the end of a workshop called ‘Backstabber’ – it’s a Thiagi game. You ask each person one by one to stand at the front of the room with their back to the rest of the group. Everyone shouts out nice things about the person and the value they brought to the workshop. It’s a great way to end the session in a positive and energetic way.

  • gal arieli June 24, 2015, 7:22 am


    i got the ideas of ice breaker and find it very important in the activites i arrange. can u please recommend on more activities?



    • Michael Rogers June 24, 2015, 9:00 am

      Hi Gal. See our section on team building activities on our blog.


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