Icebreaker activities for summer meetings

Teams work best in a workplace where members get to know each other or share a common experience.

Icebreaker activities play an important role, bringing employees together, building rapport, putting a smile on people’s faces and boosting morale.

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Introducing light-hearted activities to a meeting can help build bonds. While setting the tone for a friendly get together, they can also encourage better communication and the sharing of ideas.

Why does hot weather make you sleepy?

It can be harder to feel motivated at work in the summer, especially when having to concentrate in a meeting environment. When the temperature’s rising, we tend to start thinking about summer holidays, or relaxing in the garden after work with a cool drink.

Research reveals around 50% of UK office staff find it difficult to work when it’s hot. Their productivity level drops and around a quarter want to leave the office and cool down elsewhere.

Spare a thought for office workers in the capital, where the highest temperature reached 40.2°C at St James’s Park and Heathrow Airport on 19th July 2022.

If you’re sitting in a meeting room in London on a sunny day, when people outside are relaxing in the park, understandably, it can be challenging to keep your mind on the job.

Feelings of lethargy set in because your body is working hard to keep cool, and the extra labour simply makes you feel tired. In simple terms, according to health experts, a hot summer day makes our body work overtime.

As a manager, imagine the scene if you’re hosting a session at a training room in London in mid-July, with the temperature outside in the high 30s. Looking round at a room full of hot and lethargic team members, just how can you motivate them and boost morale? The simple solution is to start the meeting with an icebreaker.

What are the benefits of icebreakers?

There can be many benefits to introducing an icebreaker into a summer meeting. They foster teamwork, which is a major benefit, since studies show 86% of managers and employees feel a lack of collaboration hinders success at the office.

Research conducted among managers suggests icebreaker activities can create a more cohesive team – and this can result in a 21% increase in profitability, as engagement and productivity improve. Team members willing to work together will go the extra mile to produce better results.

Icebreakers are a great way of easing tension and lifting the monotony of what may feel like the daily grind. Companies who start using them at the beginning of a meeting often find employees are more engaged and keener to contribute.

You can never simply put a group of people in a meeting room and expect them to be creative. It’s far better to have activities to light a spark first and boost flagging morale, especially on a hot day.

We’ve listed five different icebreakers for summer meetings to put the focus on team building, as well as having fun. Ideally, each activity should last no longer than 15 to 20 minutes to create the most positive results.

1. On this day…

Most people have memories of where they were during a particular era, or even on a specific date in their life. Choose any year and ask delegates what they were doing at that time. It doesn’t have to be an exact date. You can be quite vague, such as asking where they were during the summer of 2013, for example.

Go around the table and ask everyone to tell colleagues what they were doing a decade ago. Replies can be related to personal or work life. No-one has to divulge anything too personal if they don’t feel comfortable. It’s meant to be fun and informative, not an ordeal!

2. General icebreaker questions

A simple way to get people talking is to ask a general icebreaker question. Something that everyone can understand and relate to is the best way to break the ice. A question relating to the summer weather is timely, such as, “Would you prefer to have an all-year-round summer or all-year winter?”

Everyone has an opinion on the weather and there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s an opportunity for a little friendly topical conversation before getting down to business.

3. Worst summer holiday stories

Ask people to share their worst summer break stories. Just about everyone has a tale to tell. Whether you fell in the pool fully clothed, got hopelessly lost on the way back to your hotel, or even missed your flight home, it’s a chance to share experiences.

Inject some humour into the occasion by relating tales that you can laugh about now. People can always bond over shared holiday horror stories!

4. Beach ball

Use a beach ball for a fun and interactive game that gets people thinking on their feet. Use a marker to write general short questions on the ball. Then, throw the ball to one of the delegates and ask them to read a question out loud and answer it.

Then, that person throws the ball to a colleague and so on. If there are only a few people at the meeting, the activity can continue until they’ve all taken a turn. If it’s a bigger meeting, set a time limit of say 20 minutes, when the icebreaker ends.

5. Finish the sentence

Each person should write down part of a question on a card and then ask colleagues to fill in the blanks. For example, write down sentences such as, “My favourite leisure activity is…” and then place all the folded cards in a bowl.

Each participant randomly chooses a card from the bowl and fills in the blank to tell colleagues a bit about themselves.

When it comes to icebreaker activities for summer meetings, keep them short and snappy to grab people’s attention. Once everyone has started smiling and built a friendly rapport, the environment will be far more conducive to a successful meeting with receptive delegates.

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