Technical skills are very important in the workplace. Soft skills are just as important. Icebreakers can be a fun tool to help build soft skills across teams and departments.

You can have all the technical expertise in the world, but if you can’t connect with your colleagues you may fail. I’ve said often enough that we spend too much time at work not to enjoy what we are doing and whom we are working with. If we cannot connect as a team, we will be less effective in our efforts. Even those who are individual contributors play a part of a team and heaving those soft skills will help with your productivity. Collaboration with less friction will ease your efforts in reaching your goals.

The use of icebreakers will help with building soft skills. It demonstrates listening and communicating. Icebreakers can help with driving connection with others. These were important for me while working for an organization during a transitional phase where stress, anxiety and working in uncertainty were high. The organization was going through a lot of change management initiatives and colleagues were worried about themselves and the customers. These icebreakers helped with emotional control – we first connected on something fun and unrelated to our work. We could then get down to business and focus on the topics at hand.

Icebreakers can help manage change, build morale and community. Additionally icebreakers break down barriers and hierarchies by demonstrating we are more alike than different. And we can celebrate our differences with respect and a little laughter.

I’ve included a few icebreaker ideas to get you started with four categories.

• Favorite hot/cold beverage?
• Hot dog – with/without ketchup?
• Craziest thing eaten?
• Red or white wine? (Rose during the summer!)
• Favorite meal?
• Your specialty in cooking?

• Favorite sport as child?
• Foreign language class name?
• Handmade or store bought Valentine’s Day cards?
• Favorite Halloween costume?
• Number of siblings?
• Which college/university/school attended?
• Instrument played as child?
• Worst pick up line? (See title of My Blog for mine.)
• How did you learn to drive a car: stick or manual?

• Favorite vacation spot?
• Land, sea or mountains?
• Worst travel nightmare?
• Where you want to go back?
• Camping – tent, lodge or “glamping”?

• Celebrity crush?
• Celebrity sighting?
• Favorite concert?
• Favorite movie?
• Favorite book?

Photo: Where would you go back to (travel)? I would go back to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.