“Ice-breakers… I hate these things!” If you’ve been a small group leader longer than let’s say… three weeks… you’ve probably heard a proclamation like this one. These seemingly unnecessary conversation pieces are vital to a healthy group meeting as they offer an easy to answer question that anyone can respond to and, if the question is chosen well, without much cringe factor. Since everyone hears his/her own voice early in the meeting, if the small group leader uses the moment well and affirms each group member for responding, every group member will most likely verbalize thoughts and ideas later in the conversation.


Thought you might like to see a list telling you what the attitudes, responses, realizations, and outcomes you can expect.

 Attitudes Toward:

  • Anticipation
  • Apathy
  • Hesitation
  • Disgust

 Common Responses:

  • Laughter
  • Oh, wow! “I didn’t know that about you.”
  • Follow-up questions (Beware of the follow-up questions as they can get out of hand and take up a lot of time.)

 Realizations (thoughts that often go unstated):

  • “We have something in common.”
  • “You had a different life before I met you.”
  • “We have journied down the same paths.”
  • “I would like to know more about your story.”


  • Levels the playing field
  • Connects group members via common past experiences
  • Creates a conversational environment