A great activity for everyone


Get your team working like a well-oiled machine with Contact!

By Jon Zajac

What is Contact?

The Contact icebreaker is an engaging and interactive activity that I use to encourage communication and teamwork in various settings. Its purpose is to help participants understand each other better, break down barriers, and stimulate conversation in a fun and inclusive manner. This activity involves writing interesting facts about oneself on index cards or sticky notes and then sharing these with another participant. The pair tries to find at least one thing they have in common, known as a “Contact Point.” Participants then rotate and form new pairs to discover additional Contact Points.

I find the Contact icebreaker particularly effective due to its simplicity and ability to foster early connections among participants. It helps break down walls of hesitancy or preconceived notions, setting a positive tone for future interactions and collaborative efforts. By emphasizing the idea that people can always find something in common with others, this activity enhances team cohesion and empathy. Additionally, I’ve successfully adapted the Contact icebreaker for virtual teams using breakout rooms in video conferencing tools and virtual sticky notes or collaborative online boards.

Overall, the Contact icebreaker is a powerful tool for encouraging interaction, building relationships, and creating a strong foundation for collaboration in any group setting.

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Rules for Contact

  1. Gather in a spacious setting with movable furniture or ample room to move around.
  2. Write your name and something about yourself on an index card or sticky note.
  3. Form pairs with another participant and share the information on your cards.
  4. Identify at least one commonality between you and your partner, creating a “Contact Point.”
  5. Rotate to form new pairs after a few minutes and repeat the process of discovering Contact Points.
  6. Continue rotating for a predetermined number of rounds or until group energy suggests winding down.
  7. Share interesting Contact Points during a group discussion at the end of the activity.
  8. Reflect on how the activity made you feel, what you learned about your peers, and how finding commonalities affected your perception of others.

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Materials needed for Contact

  • Index cards or sticky notes: These will be used by participants to write their names and something about themselves that they’re comfortable sharing with the group.
  • Pens or markers: Participants will need these writing tools to jot down information on their index cards or sticky notes.
  • Optional: Timer or stopwatch: This can be helpful in structuring the activity, especially if you want to keep track of time for each round of conversation and rotation.

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Setting up for Contact

To set up for the Contact icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Find a spacious venue that can accommodate your group comfortably. The area should be large enough for participants to move around freely and form small groups without feeling cramped.

  2. Arrange furniture: If there are tables and chairs in the room, arrange them along the perimeter or stack them away if possible. This will create an open space that encourages movement and interaction among participants.

  3. Divide the group (optional): For larger groups, determine how many subgroups you’d like to create based on the ideal group size of 6-20 people. Ensure there is adequate space for each subgroup to gather and mingle.

  4. Set up a timer (optional): While not strictly necessary, having a visible countdown timer can help maintain structure during the activity, especially if you want to enforce time limits for each round of pairings.

  5. Prepare index cards or sticky notes and writing materials: Place these items in an easily accessible location where participants can pick them up as they enter the room. Alternatively, you may distribute them at the beginning of the activity.

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How to play Contact

  1. Introduction: Explain the Objective Start by explaining the objective of the Contact icebreaker activity — to learn more about each other through a series of interactions aimed at finding things in common. Stress the importance of listening and creativity.

  2. Material Distribution: Hand Out Writing Materials Distribute pens and index cards or sticky notes to each participant. Ask them to write their names boldly on one side and anything they want to share about themselves on the other — hobbies, favorite book/music/movie, an interesting fact, or anything else they’re comfortable sharing with the group.

  3. Mix and Mingle: Form Pairs Encourage participants to wander around the room and form pairs with someone else. Once in pairs, they reveal the information on their cards to each other.

  4. Finding Contact Points: Identify Common Ground After sharing, each pair tries to identify at least one thing they have in common — it could relate to what’s written on their cards or something else they discover in their conversation. This constitutes a “Contact Point.”

  5. Reflection and Repeat: New Conversations Have participants rotate and find a new partner, repeating the process of discovering new Contact Points. This cycle can continue for a predetermined number of rounds or until you observe that the group’s energy indicates it’s time to wind down.

  6. Optional Variation: Add Complexity To add complexity and encourage deeper connections, challenge participants with specific tasks for each rotation, such as finding someone with a common dream vacation, someone who shares a skill they wish to learn, or matching hobbies.

  7. Group Share: Highlight Connections Bring the group together and invite pairs or individuals to share interesting Contact Points they discovered. Highlight the variety and the unique connections formed during the activity.

  8. Reflection: Discuss Feelings and Learnings Lead a brief discussion asking participants how the activity made them feel, what they learned about their peers, and how finding unexpected things in common affected their perception of others.

  9. Emphasize Key Takeaways: Reinforce Connections Reinforce the idea that despite diverse backgrounds or first impressions, people can always find something in common with others, enhancing team cohesion and empathy.


  • Adjustments for Virtual Teams: Use breakout rooms in video conferencing tools and virtual sticky notes or collaborative online boards to replace physical cards.
  • Follow-Up: Encourage ongoing interaction by suggesting participants reach out to others they discovered shared interests with for follow-up conversations or activities.

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Benefits of Contact

  • Fosters a Positive Group Dynamic: By encouraging participants to find commonalities, the Contact icebreaker helps establish a positive atmosphere and breaks down barriers that often inhibit open communication. This sets the stage for productive and enjoyable group experiences.
  • Enhances Active Listening Skills: The structured conversations during this activity require focused listening, ensuring each person feels heard and valued. This promotes empathy and understanding within the group, which are essential components of successful collaboration.
  • Reveals Hidden Similarities: By sharing personal information and engaging in thoughtful discussions, participants uncover shared interests, experiences, or aspirations that might not have been apparent initially. These discoveries can lead to stronger bonds and increased respect among team members.
  • Boosts Confidence and Comfort Levels: As individuals realize they have much in common with their peers, they become more confident when contributing ideas and opinions during group activities. This increased comfort level fosters a safer space for open dialogue, further enhancing collaboration and teamwork.
  • Encourages Networking Opportunities: The connections formed through the Contact icebreaker can extend beyond the immediate activity, providing valuable networking opportunities for participants. These relationships may lead to future collaborations, support systems, or even lasting friendships.
  • Promotes Inclusivity and Diversity Awareness: This icebreaker encourages interaction between individuals from various backgrounds, allowing them to appreciate each other’s unique perspectives and experiences. By emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and diversity, groups can build stronger, more resilient teams capable of tackling complex challenges.
  • Provides a Fun and Engaging Experience: The interactive nature of the Contact icebreaker ensures that participants remain engaged throughout the activity, enjoying themselves as they learn about their peers. This positive experience lays the groundwork for successful future group endeavors.

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Skills built with Contact

  • Communication: By engaging in the Contact icebreaker activity, I have learned to improve my communication skills by actively listening and expressing myself clearly to others. This has helped me better understand and connect with my peers on a deeper level.
  • Empathy: Through discovering commonalities with others during this activity, I have developed a greater sense of empathy for those around me. By realizing how much we all have in common, I feel more connected to the people I work or study with.
  • Active Listening: The Contact icebreaker has taught me the importance of active listening when interacting with others. Focusing on understanding my partner’s experiences and perspectives helps build trust and positive relationships within a group.
  • Interpersonal Relationships: This activity has strengthened my ability to form new connections and build interpersonal relationships quickly, which is essential for success in both professional and personal settings.
  • Inclusivity: By encouraging everyone to participate and share their unique experiences, the Contact icebreaker fosters an inclusive environment that values diversity and individuality. This experience has made me more mindful of creating welcoming spaces for all people.
  • Open-Mindedness: Participating in this activity has opened my mind to new ideas, perspectives, and hobbies I might not have otherwise encountered. By embracing curiosity and open-mindedness, I can grow both personally and professionally.
  • Patience: The Contact icebreaker has helped me practice patience by encouraging me to engage with multiple partners in a series of short conversations. This experience has taught me the value of taking time to truly understand others and form meaningful connections.

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Why I like Contact

I appreciate the Contact icebreaker activity for its effectiveness in encouraging communication, fostering connections, and promoting teamwork in various settings. Here are a few reasons why I like this icebreaker:

  1. Inclusivity: The activity is designed to be welcoming and engaging for all participants, regardless of their backgrounds or personalities. By focusing on finding commonalities, it helps break down barriers and fosters an inclusive environment.
  2. Active Engagement: Contact requires participants to interact with one another directly, promoting active listening and meaningful conversations. This direct interaction is more effective than passive activities in helping people truly connect and understand each other.
  3. Flexibility: The activity can be easily adapted for different group sizes, settings, and time constraints. Additionally, the optional variation adds complexity to cater to diverse groups and deepen connections among participants.
  4. Safe Space: Contact offers a safe space for participants to share information about themselves at their own comfort level, promoting authenticity and trust within the group.
  5. Promotes Empathy: By discovering unexpected commonalities with others, participants develop a better understanding of their peers’ perspectives, enhancing empathy and fostering positive relationships.
  6. Easy to Facilitate: With simple materials and clear instructions, Contact is easy for facilitators to organize and manage. The activity’s structure ensures that everyone has an opportunity to participate and contribute to the group dynamic.
  7. Virtual Adaptability: As a virtual-friendly icebreaker, Contact can be used in remote settings, enabling teams working in different locations to build connections and strengthen their collaboration.

I believe that the Contact icebreaker activity is an excellent tool for facilitators looking to establish a strong foundation of communication and camaraderie within their groups. By actively promoting interaction and commonality-finding, this icebreaker fosters an inclusive environment where participants can form genuine connections and develop empathy for one another.

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Tips for making Contact more inclusive

  • Tip: Use Gender Neutral Language Ensure the questions and prompts used during the activity are inclusive and avoid making assumptions about people’s identities or experiences. This helps create a welcoming environment for everyone participating in the Contact icebreaker activity.
  • Tip: Provide Accessibility Accommodations Consider the needs of participants with disabilities when organizing the activity. For example, provide large print instructions or audio descriptions for visual materials to ensure everyone can engage fully.
  • Tip: Offer Language Support If there are non-native speakers in your group, consider providing language support such as a translator or bilingual facilitator. This ensures that all participants have equal opportunities to connect with others during the activity.
  • Tip: Respect Cultural Differences Encourage participants to share aspects of their culture and background, but be mindful of potentially sensitive topics. Foster an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable participating without fear of offense or judgment.
  • Tip: Emphasize Voluntary Participation Make it clear that participation in the Contact icebreaker activity is voluntary. This ensures that individuals who may feel uncomfortable sharing personal information or engaging in group activities can opt-out without pressure.

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Reflection questions for Contact

  1. How did participating in this activity make you feel about your group members? This question helps participants reflect on their initial perceptions of others and how those may have changed throughout the activity.

  2. What was the most surprising commonality you discovered with another person? By asking this, facilitators encourage introspection on unexpected connections and emphasize the importance of seeking shared experiences.

  3. Did any of your assumptions about others change during the Contact icebreaker? If so, how? This question encourages participants to consider their biases and fosters self-awareness regarding interpersonal relationships.

  4. How can you apply what you’ve learned from this activity in future interactions with your group members or others outside of this setting? By prompting participants to think about long-term applications, facilitators reinforce the value of building connections and fostering empathy in various contexts.

  5. What did you learn about yourself during the Contact icebreaker? This question encourages self-reflection and helps participants become more aware of their personal interests and how they relate to those of others.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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