Hosting a party can be great fun, and getting to be ‘in charge’ and to show everyone around your home is a great feeling. However at the same time it’s also a very stressful in some ways – no one will know each other except for through you, and if anything goes wrong and the party isn’t a success then it will be just you who is held accountable. It’s your job then to make sure that everyone gets along and that there is plenty to talk about and to do.
To achieve this you need to loosen everyone up and get everyone talking, and one great way to do this is with ice breakers. These are games and activities designed to either force people to work together, or to just get them to introduce themselves and talk about themselves in a way that will tell people a lot about themselves so that everybody feels they know a lot about each other.
A lot of ice breakers are based on simple introductions and these are nice and easy ways to get everyone talking that don’t involve any games that some people might feel self conscious to play in front of people they’ve just met. Here you go around in a circle and take it in turns for each of you to introduce yourselves and to say one fact. Often this fact will be something random about yourself – so you go around in the circle and say your name and then one interesting fact about yourself. Alternatively you might answer a series of questions – for instance your name, your age, your career and your ambition in life. A fun variation is to say your name and what you would take with you to a desert island, or to describe yourself in three words.
There are also lots of fun games you can play with a label. One common one is to get your attendees to place labels on their heads that they have selected randomly out of a hat. Each label will have the name of a celebrity or a singer etc, and they then have to guess who they are through their interactions with other people. The rule is that they can ask one yes/no answer to each person they speak to. It has everyone looking like fools with a name written on their head, so some people won’t be overly keen on the idea – however it is by looking like a fool partly that you drop your guard and start to loosen up.
A quiz is a great fun way to get people talking, laughing and competing, and by putting people in groups you can get them to confer with each other and discuss. All you have to do then is to arrange some questions before your guests arrive and then put people in groups where they don’t know many people. They’ll then hopefully get to know each other by discussing the answers.
Charades is one of those games that have everyone in tears of laughter. Again you arrange yourself in groups, and then each member of the group takes it in turns to act out the name of a film, person, animal etc, and the others in the group have to try and guess who you are. Definitely a great way to loosen up and forget the normal social graces – once you’ve clucked around like a hen there’s not really any going back…
Here everyone writes down an absurd sentence on a piece of paper and puts it into a hat, before each person takes one out again. The idea is that whatever your sentence is, you have to work it into conversation – if anyone notices your sentence is not just your normal conversation then you lose. The sentence can be shocking ‘I’m pregnant!’ or stupid ‘I actually make sure to brush my teeth at least six times a day’.
Conversation Topic Cards
It is possible to buy conversation topic cards that will have written on them several topics of conversation. You then simply each answer the questions or discuss the topic on the card. It works better in smaller groups.