15 tried-and-true meeting ice breaker questions

Good meeting icebreaker questions are the cornerstones of good Poll Everywhere presentations.

They signal to the audience that the event will be interactive, and introduce how to use Poll Everywhere in a low-stakes environment ahead of the presentation proper.

I conducted a quick survey of the top 1,500 most active accounts to see what sorts of icebreaker questions are asked by actual Poll Everywhere presenters. Three categories emerged from the hundreds of icebreakers found.

The following meeting icebreaker questions aren’t just good in theory – they’ve warmed up live audiences worldwide. Click the icebreaker titles below to add them to your Poll Everywhere account.


1. “What’s your favorite…” icebreakers

Far and away the most popular category of meeting icebreaker questions starts with “What’s your favorite…” These questions run the gamut from favorite office supply store to favorite fruit or vegetable to favorite breakfast beverage.

I pulled some of the less eccentric ones for your consideration. In my opinion, the weirder and more specific you get, the better — especially if it plays to the interests of the crowd. Speaking to a room of lumberjacks? Ask about their favorite type of flannel.

You’ll notice these icebreakers all start with “In a word…” That’s because I recommend Poll Everywhere’s word cloud activity type for this category. Word clouds quickly distill many opinions into one coherent, colorful chart.


2. “Given this scenario, what do you think?” icebreakers

The second most popular category of meeting icebreaker questions is also my personal favorite. I call these “scenario” questions. They propose a strange, hypothetical scenario to challenge the audience’s imagination.

Since this category is all about showcasing the audience’s creativity, I recommend Poll Everywhere’s Spotlight visualization. This visualization (see above) gives each response a moment in the spotlight before automatically scrolling to the next one.

Spotlight gives everyone a chance to see how each of their colleagues responded. And when the list runs out, it simply cycles back to the start.


3. Personality and personal history icebreakers

Third are the personal icebreakers. These are a step above the “What’s your favorite…” category in terms of revealing some insight about the respondent’s personality.

I pulled a few of the more interesting ones here. If you need an old standby, I recommend some variation of “Where are you from?” There were about a dozens different ways presenters asked that one – my favorite being “From where did you travel to be here today?”

Since a lot of these questions generate short answers, but you still need to see who responded, I recommend the Cluster visualization. Cluster puts more responses on the screen at once than Spotlight, without losing attribution (like Word cloud).


Bonus: Strange icebreakers that caught my eye

Okay, this isn’t a real category, but there were just too many oddball icebreakers out there not to highlight a couple. If you get a great set of responses to these or any other icebreakers, you can always save and share those responses as a post-presentation memento using Poll Everywhere.

Since a lot of these questions call for humorous or interesting response, I thought Q&A might work well here. This activity type lets the audience upvote responses from their peers. After they submit their own response, they see a list of all the other responses that Q&A has received, and can upvote their favorites. Responses with the most votes rise to the top of the list.