Ineffective Icebreakers: What Not To Do

girl sitting on stairs

What makes a BAD icebreaker? 1. It's too difficult 2. It's frustrating 3. It's humiliating 4. It causes division 5. It excludes peopleRecently, we talked about effective Icebreakers. But what about ineffective Icebreakers? Why is it important to know about them? You never want your group or organization to experience an ineffective icebreaker. These are the main reasons why people do not like icebreakers.

Ineffective Icebreakers …

Make People Feel stupid

When doing icebreakers, individuals playing should already know the answers. Icebreakers should not include impossible or trivial questions. Feeling like you don’t know the answers will make you not want to play the game.

Make People Feel Frustrated

Individuals playing should not be frustrated when doing the icebreaker. They should feel relaxed, rather than angry. Frustrating icebreakers make people not want to communicate or participate.

Humiliate people

Humiliation is no fun for anyone. Why would someone want to participate in an icebreaker if it humiliates them? We want to make sure icebreakers that we are presenting feel natural for everyone involved and don’t make participants feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Cause Division

While teams are fun, when participating in icebreakers it’s nice to make new teams each time. We do not want a group of individuals to feel loyal to only a few members of the larger group. Dividing the group in different ways is better, so there is no division later in the year. If people are on the same teams each week when participating in games, then the meetings could end up divided as well.


No one should feel excluded. Before a meeting, make sure you know the group’s individuals well enough to plan the activities. Everyone should be able to participate in the icebreaker one way or another. Keep in mind any individuals who are physically or emotionally incapable of moving around or participating. We want to make sure everyone feels like they fit in and are included.

Are Boring

Of course, we don’t want to be boring! There is no fun in that! It is important to know your audience and figure out what types of icebreakers work well with them. Learn who likes what type of icebreaker. If you have a divided group, then try all kinds of icebreakers. Maybe you do a video this week and an active one next week. We want everyone to have fun in their own way.

Until next time, have a great day!

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