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Icebreakers, Energizers, & Teambuilders

Teambuilding is a process by which groups first focus on barriers to effective communication and purpose and then enact changes to remove those barriers, in order to accomplish a given task or become more effective. The process, however, is an ongoing one that never truly ends, as no group is ever as close or effective as it can be.

Some of the primary benefits of teambuilding include:

  • Increasing a group’s communication skills
  • Increasing a group’s cooperation and teamwork
  • Increasing a group’s effectiveness
  • Increasing a group’s awareness of its goals, resources, and limitations
  • Increasing a group’s sense of camaraderie among its members.

What are the differences anyway?


Icebreakers act as introduction games – a great way to get to know the basics of each group member and start building a community among the participants.  They are especially important at the first few times a group meets (i.e. floor meetings, officer meetings, etc.). Icebreakers also serve to ease any apprehensions or general tensions of the group…basically, they will break the ice!  These activities usually have a low amount of risk and can be repeated again and again.


Energizers are the activities that will get the group psyched up, laughing, making them feel comfortable and ready to work…they will energize the group members! Energizers often help to break any unforeseen tensions and help the group to relax.  The risk associated with these activities may be higher than with icebreakers as they typically require group members to act silly and loud and to perform some sort of zany action.  Energizers are particularly useful in the middle of long meetings or retreats, early in the morning, or when a group has gotten stuck in its thinking and is not being productive or creative anymore.


Teambuilders will probably become some of the most memorable activities group members will participate in.  Teambuilders will make the group more comfortable with one another, make individuals feel as though they are a significant part of the group, help build trust among group members and teach people valuable leadership and group dynamic skills.

Teambuilders greatly contribute to building a cohesive, supportive, and trusting group, in which members feel free to express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas.  Through these activities, groups will begin to realize that they are greater than the sum of all the individual parts – they can and will accomplish amazing things simply by understanding one another and working together.

Teambuilders generally involve the highest degree of risk.  They require a great deal of trust, communication, self-disclosure, and sometimes a high amount of physical contact.


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