An ice breaker question is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a question that you ask a personal or business contact to break the ice and ease into a conversation. Generally, ice breaker questions are thought-provoking to the point of encouraging the other person to talk.
Of course, the ice breaker questions you use in one situation won’t necessarily work in another. So it’s critical that you have a good understanding of the social situation at hand in order to break the ice in a suitable manner that moves the conversation forward and teaches you more about the other party.
How to Choose the Right Icebreaker?
There’s no right or wrong way to choose ice breaker questions. The approach you take is based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- The type of relationship you have with the other individual
- Whether or not you have spoken with the other person in the past
- The setting (casual or business)
- The goal of the conversation
You get the point. But of course, we won’t leave you hanging. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of icebreakers for every situation imaginable. Let’s take a closer look at 100+ questions you can use, broken down by category.
Ice Breaker Questions for Business & Team Building
Use these icebreaker questions for business get-togethers, networking sessions, conferences, meetings with remote teams, and more.
- What was the worst job you ever had?
- What was the best job you ever had?
- What do you like most about your current job?
- What do you like most about your current employer?
- Would you rather arrive at work early or stay late?
- Do you think you could live without your smartphone for 24 hours?
- Do you prefer to work in a quiet environment or one with some background noise?
- What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve traveled?
- As a child, what did you think you’d do when you grow up?
- What’s on your business bucket list?
- Who do you look up to in the business world?
- What’s your favorite business book?
- Where do you and your team go for lunch?
- What languages do you know how to speak?
When you’re in a business setting, these ice breaker questions will help you better connect with your audience.
Entertaining List of Icebreakers
Sometimes, you don’t need an icebreaker question for a specific situation. You simply need one to ramp up a conversation. Here are some general ice breaker questions to use:
- What is the best item you’ve bought this year?
- Which cartoon character would you like to make real?
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
- What is your favorite television network?
- What is your favorite television show?
- Who is your favorite band or singer?
- Would you rather browse the internet on your phone or your computer?
- If you had a time machine, where and when would you go?
- What’s your favorite time of day?
- Alone or with a group of people?
- Who is your favorite Disney character?
- What’s the ultimate sandwich and why?
- If you had to eat the same meal every day for the rest of your life what would it be?
- What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
- When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
- If you could have dinner with one person from the past, who would it be?
- If you could choose just one superpower, what would it be?
- What is your favorite magical or mythological animal?
- What does your dream house look like?
- Beach vacation or mountain vacation?
- What’s your favorite food?
- What’s your favorite drink?
- What’s your favorite sports team?
- If you could only live in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Sometimes, all you need is a general icebreaker question to breakthrough. Try one of these or a variation.
Funny Icebreaker Questions
There are times when a little bit of humor goes a long way in breaking the ice. Not only does it remove tension from the conversation, but it allows you to show your lighter side. Here are some fun icebreaker questions to get you started:
- What is your most-used emoji?
- Have you ever been told you look like someone famous? If so, who?
- If you could bring back any fashion trend what would it be?
- What’s your most embarrassing fashion trend from the past?
- Do you have a name for your car?
- If you were a team of famous people, what would you be famous for?
- You have to sing karaoke tonight – what song would you choose?
- Would you rather live life as a dog or a cat?
- If you were stranded on a deserted island, who is the one person you would want by your side?
- 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s: Which decade do you love the most and why?
- What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
- What’s your best school story?
- Which cartoon character did you resemble as a child?
- What’s the craziest dare you ever took?
- Who was your first celebrity crush?
- What are your favorite songs from your teenage years that you still rock out to when nobody else is listening?
- Which movie have you watched so many times that you know it by heart? Prove it.
- What’s the strangest tradition in your family?
- What’s your favorite family tradition?
- If you had an entrance theme song, how would it go?
- What was the first record, tape, or CD that you ever owned?
- What’s the funniest thing that ever happened on your family vacation?
- What’s the most ridiculous thing your parents ever did to embarrass you?
- Who is your craziest relative?
- What’s your strangest talent?
- What show on Netflix did you binge watch embarrassingly fast?
- What is your favorite smell and why?
- Are you scared of dogs, cats, or neither?
- What food could you not live without?
- What song gets stuck in your head all the time?
- What television show are you embarrassed to admit you watch?
- What’s your nickname?
- If you could pick a TV show to be your life, what show would it be?
- If you could only wear one type of shoes for the rest of your life, what type of shoes would it be?
- If you had all the money in the world, what would be your first purchase?
- If you had to use a fake name, what fake name would you choose?
- If you could create one holiday, what would it be?
- If you could turn the ocean into a liquid other than water, which one would you pick?
- What’s your favorite breakfast cereal and how do you eat it?
- Which celebrity would you pick to exchange lives with?
Everyone loves a funny icebreaker question, right? When the other person cracks a smile, you know you’ve made an impression!
Icebreakers for When You Meet New People
It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting a person in a casual or business setting for the first time, breaking the ice is important, especially when you have no idea how to get the conversation going. Here are some questions that can help you get past the initial awkward stage of the conversation and meetings:
- If you could pick up a certain skill instantly, what would it be?
- If you could live in any decade, which would you choose?
- If you could instantly be an expert in a subject, what would it be?
- Do you have a personal hero?
- What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
- What’s your favorite app on your phone?
- What would the title of your autobiography be?
- If you were a color, which would you be and why?
- What’s a skill you learned when you were young that you still use today?
- How would your friends describe you?
- How would your coworkers describe you?
- Would you rather work in a traditional office setting or remotely?
- Are you a cat person? if not, what’s your favorite animal?
- Would you like to own your own company, or do you prefer working for others?
It’s not easy to meet new people, but these icebreaker questions can help strike up a meaningful conversation.
‘Get To Know You’ Icebreakers for Personal & Business Meetings
In both your personal and business lives, there will be times when you want to get to know someone. Maybe you want to get to know a person so you can ask them out on a date. Perhaps you want to get to know a prospect to improve your chance of closing a deal. Either way, there are many get to know you icebreaker questions that can spark up a meaningful conversation:
- What spectator activities do you most enjoy attending and watching?
- Can you share one thing about you that you think I don’t know?
- What’s your favorite local activity?
- What’s your favorite movie ever?
- What’s the weirdest food combination you enjoy?
- What’s your favorite song right now? What’s your all-time favorite song?
- What would you most like to accomplish in your life this year?
- What’s the most recent bucket list item you’ve ticked off?
- What was your New Year’s resolution? Are you still on track to reach your goal?
- What is your favorite restaurant and why?
- What does your dream vacation look like?
- If money were not a consideration, how would you spend your days?
- What is your biggest fear?
- What motivates you to work hard?
- What’s your earliest childhood memory?
- How do you come up with a new idea?
- What would you change about yourself if you could?
- What is the one thing that makes you angrier than anything else?
- What do you listen to when commuting?
- If you had students what would you teach them?
- Do you like or dislike surprises? Why?
- How would your friends describe you?
- How would your coworkers describe you?
- What is the best gift you ever received?
- What is the worst gift you ever received?
- Which person from history would you be willing to give a second chance?
- What class did you love the most at school?
- What would be your absolute dream job?
- What type of event do you most enjoy attending?
- What is the longest you’ve gone without sleeping?
- How many pillows do you sleep on?
- Can you describe an experience you had that you would love to relive?
- Do you play a musical instrument?
- How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? How did you find out?
- Is your glass half-full or half-empty?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- What virtual team-building activities do you enjoy the most?
- What fictional character would you bring to our next virtual meetings?
- What is your favorite breakfast food at the office?
- What is your earliest memory of working for pay?
- What are your favorite holiday traditions at the office?
- What is the worst advice a boss has ever given you?
- How many minutes are too many minutes in a work meeting?
- What does your morning routine at the office entail?
- Where do you see your company in the future?
- What is your favorite professional development book?
- How many employees do you manage?
- What are your top challenges at work?
- What is your least favorite part of a job interview?
- Are you on the career path you want to follow?
- Are you the type of person who would pull a prank at work?
- What is the most popular watercooler topic at your office?
When you want to get to know someone, start with one of these icebreaker questions. Choosing the right one will break the tension.
The Worst Icebreakers
Just as there are good icebreaker questions, there are also those that you should stay away from. Here’s a shortlist of the worst icebreaker questions. If you ask these, you may not get what you want in return.
- What is the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?
- What is the worst grade you ever got?
- What is the worst performance review you ever received at work?
- What is the most embarrassing this that happened to you in class or school?
- What is your worst personality characteristic?
- What is the worst piece of advice that’s backfired on you?
- Which girlfriend or boyfriend that you dated in high school do you wish you had married?
- What is something your spouse has done that really annoyed you?
- Who is the one person you’d never want to take a trip with?
- What’s an excuse you’ve used to get out of lunch with a coworker?
- Do I ever run through your dreams?
- How do you measure success in a relationship?
These types of ice breaker questions don’t really break the ice. They may cause discomfort, be difficult to answer, or simply come across as strange, thus making it more difficult to connect.
Final Thoughts on Ice Breaker Questions
When you combine these questions with an icebreaker activity or games, you’re well on your way to connecting with the other individual. Hopefully, these questions will yield interesting stories that will give you even more ideas of how to continue the conversation.
If you’d like to create an interactive virtual icebreaker check out our poll templates for even more ideas, and try our online poll maker. It’s full of easy-to-use tools and advanced features that will make it even more fun to shatter the ice.
What are your thoughts on these ice breaker questions? Do you have any others that come to mind? What types of questions would you like us to add?