Icebreakers: Personal But Not Too Personal

1. What was your first job—or worst job?

Everyone has an answer to this question, and it doesn’t put the onus on a new employee or volunteer to entertain or divulge personal details.

2. What are you reading, listening to, or watching right now?

This question is low-stakes and can span books, podcasts, music, television, and more. (In other words, it doesn’t put pressure on a new employee to think of a book title that made President Obama’s summer reading list.) Depending on the answer, this can also be a launching pad for conversations around the proverbial water cooler or work-related segues.

3. What was the first concert you went to?

Most people should be able to field this question—even if it means admitting that for much of your youth, you attended only classical music concerts, like some people I know—and it can also encourage colleagues to wax nostalgic about their own experiences.

4. What’s your favorite cereal or breakfast food?

People have strong feelings about food, be it coffee or fake meat. Cereal is no exception. Here’s a potential follow-up question for the millennials who don’t like cereal: How do you like your eggs?

5. What’s the worst icebreaker you’ve been subject to?

Tackle the awkwardness head-on and commiserate over the cringiest of cringeworthy icebreakers.

Source: Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company Digital. Retrieved from this link.


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