Thought Provoking Questions for Adult Icebreakers

by Christina Schnell

Whether you're working with grade school children or executive managers, building cohesion within a unit is important. Organizations from corporations to church groups use ice breaking games to remove the barriers between different groups, and to encourage learning about each other as individuals. Thought provoking questions help break the ice by fostering personal reflection and illuminating new talents or experiences among group members.

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If You Could Spend One Hour With Anyone, Dead or Alive, Who Would You Choose and Why?

Clarify this question by noting that individuals can choose an historical figure, a deceased relative, a celebrity or a past relationship they wish they had maintained. This question illuminates personal interests and lets each person control the degree of privacy in his answer. For example, someone who prefers not disclosing information about his personal life can choose an historical figure or celebrity, while another more emotionally forthcoming person may select a dead relative and explain the importance of that relationship.

What Quality Do You Most Like About Yourself?

Qualify this question by saying that the quality someone likes most about herself doesn't have to be something others would necessary cite. For example, an individual may take pride in being non-confrontational, even if her colleagues criticize her for being "wimpy." Go around the circle after each person speaks and ask other group members to offer one favorable adjective or quality to describe that person.

If You Could Go Anywhere In the World for Two Weeks, Where Would You Go?

Mention that money is not an object in this hypothetical scenario. Also, offer a few suggestions to encourage creativity and note that destinations can range from Italy to Indonesia or South Africa. The way people answer this question highlights their cultural interests and dreams, but also reveals characteristics such as a sense of adventure or risk taking. After everyone in the group gives an answer, ask the group as a whole to discuss what they think certain destinations reveal about an individual.

If You Could Give $1 Million to Any Charitable Cause in the World, Which Would You Choose and Why?

Explain this question by noting that individuals don't have to choose a specific organization, just a cause, such as AIDS in Africa, sex trafficking, or rescuing abused animals. How each person answers reveals the areas of society in which he empathizes, and which initiatives he considers worthy of support. The question also illuminates common passions between group members that previously were unknown.

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