I just read a post by Charlie O’Donnell on the “Rules of Inclusion” for tech events (well, really any events). He brings up some great points:  inclusion should be a tone set by event organizers, not everyone drinks so don’t rely on alcohol to solve all your networking issues (and some people are horrible drinkers anyway), and most importantly that inclusion is an issue that needs addressing. He asked for tips that we’d give to help this along and I suggested ice breakers. In the spirit of pushing that along, I present thee with some ice breaker ideas:

  • Get some colored dots, give one to each participant as they arrive, and ask them to wear those dots. Encourage participants to talk to 3 other people with the same colored dot before your event really begins.
  • After your meeting begins, have an organized content break for another ice breaker. Ask participants to share what animal (fruit, super hero, animated character, or fictional character) they wish they were with 3 different people around them. Encourage them to share why.
  • Ask participants speak to 3 people they’ve never met before just to say hello. This can happen at any time in the event and can be a great energizer, too.
  • For smaller groups, play 2 lies and a truth (everyone shares 3 things about themselves, 2 of them are lies, one is true). Then the group can guess what the truth is. It was fun as a kid, it’s fun as an adult, too.
  • At the beginning of your events/meetings, ask everyone to share 1-3 reasons about why they came to your event.

Do you have other ice breakers that you use?