A great activity for everyone

Emoji Story Battle

Emoji Story Battle: Unleash Your Emoji Storytelling Skills!

Emoji Story Battle
By Jon Zajac

What is Emoji Story Battle?

The Emoji Story Battle icebreaker is a fun and interactive game designed to break the ice among participants by using emojis to create engaging stories. This activity encourages communication, creativity, spontaneous thinking, and interpretative skills while fostering a comfortable and entertaining environment. In this activity, teams are given a set of random emojis and must work together to craft a short story that incorporates all the assigned emojis. Once every team has created their story, they present it to the rest of the participants who then vote for their favorite. The team with the most votes wins the battle. This icebreaker is versatile and can be easily adapted for both online and in-person settings, making it a great choice for meetings, workshops, or team-building events. With its playful approach, the Emoji Story Battle is an excellent way to promote interaction and engagement among participants, creating a positive atmosphere for the rest of the gathering.

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Rules for Emoji Story Battle

  1. Participants are divided into small teams of 3 to 5 members.
  2. Each team is assigned a set of 5 to 10 random emojis.
  3. Teams have a set time frame (5-10 minutes) to create a short story using all the assigned emojis in any order.
  4. After crafting their stories, teams present them to the entire group.
  5. Participants vote for the most creative, funny, or interesting story from each round.
  6. The team with the most votes after all teams have presented wins the battle.
  7. No prior preparation from participants is required except their enthusiasm.
  8. Voting can be done by a show of hands, chat function, or poll features on virtual platforms.

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Materials needed for Emoji Story Battle

  • Virtual Meeting Platform: A platform that supports chat functionality, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Slack, is essential for online settings to manage the storytelling sessions, transitions between rounds, and resolve any technical issues.

  • Facilitator: An individual who introduces the game, explains the rules, divides participants into teams, assigns emojis, manages time frames, and facilitates voting and scoring is required for both online and in-person settings.

  • Small Teams (3-5 Members): The activity works best with smaller groups of 6 to 20 people divided into teams for effective collaboration and communication during the story crafting phase.

  • Emoji Generator: An online emoji generator is needed to create random sets of emojis for each team in virtual settings, or predetermined lists can be prepared by the facilitator.

  • Slips of Paper or App (In-person Settings): Prepare slips of paper with emojis printed on them or use a phone/tablet app that can randomly generate emojis for in-person meetings to ensure random selection.

  • Projector or Shared Screen Setup: An arrangement to display the emoji stories is required for in-person gatherings.

  • Breakout Rooms (Virtual Settings): Utilize breakout rooms for team deliberations during virtual sessions to facilitate effective communication and collaboration among teams.

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Setting up for Emoji Story Battle

To set up for the Emoji Story Battle icebreaker activity, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a meeting environment: Select a virtual meeting platform or an in-person space that supports chat functionality or screen sharing.

  2. Determine team formation: Decide how to divide participants into small teams, either manually or using breakout rooms for online sessions.

  3. Prepare round setup materials:
    • For virtual meetings, find a reliable emoji generator or create predetermined lists of emojis.
    • For in-person meetings, print emojis on slips of paper or have a phone/tablet app ready to display randomly generated emojis.
  4. Appoint a facilitator: Select a person responsible for managing the session, transitions, and resolving technical issues.

  5. Test technology and setup: Ensure that all tools work correctly and participants understand how to use them before starting the game.

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How to play Emoji Story Battle

1. Prepare the Meeting Environment Ensure you have a virtual meeting platform with chat functionality for online sessions, or arrange for a projector or shared screen setup in in-person gatherings.

2. Divide Participants into Teams Form small teams of 3 to 5 members, either manually or by using breakout rooms in virtual settings.

3. Assign Emoji Sets to Each Team Generate random emojis for each team using an online tool or predetermined lists. In-person meetings can involve drawing emojis from a hat.

4. Allocate Time for Story Creation Give teams between 5 to 10 minutes to craft their stories, depending on the number of assigned emojis.

5. Have Teams Present Their Stories Instruct teams to share their narratives in the chat, verbally, or by displaying them on screen in virtual settings, and reading them out or projecting them in person.

6. Facilitate Voting and Scoring Allow participants to vote for their favorite story from other teams using a show of hands, chat function, or poll features on virtual platforms. The team with the most votes wins.

Optional Variations and Adaptations

  • Integrate Specific Themes: Incorporate themes like space adventure, ancient history, or office life to tailor the activity to your group’s interest or meeting context.
  • Use Custom Emoji Sets: Utilize specialized emoji sets to further challenge participants or align with specific topics of interest.

By following these instructions, you can successfully facilitate an engaging and entertaining session of the Emoji Story Battle icebreaker, fostering communication, creativity, and camaraderie among your group members.

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Benefits of Emoji Story Battle

  • Fosters Communication: The Emoji Story Battle encourages participants to communicate effectively, as they must collaborate to create a cohesive story using emojis. This process helps improve their ability to express ideas clearly and understand others’ perspectives.
  • Boosts Creativity: By challenging participants to craft stories from random emojis, this icebreaker stimulates creative thinking and problem-solving skills. It pushes them to think outside the box and explore unique storylines and interpretations.
  • Encourages Active Listening: As teams present their stories, other participants must actively listen to fully appreciate and vote on each presentation. This skill is crucial for building strong relationships and fostering a collaborative environment.
  • Enhances Interpretative Skills: The Emoji Story Battle requires participants to interpret visual cues (emojis) and weave them into meaningful narratives. Improved interpretative skills can benefit various aspects of professional and personal life, such as understanding body language or deciphering complex situations.
  • Promotes a Positive Atmosphere: Engaging in a fun, lighthearted activity like the Emoji Story Battle helps create a positive atmosphere among participants. This friendly environment encourages open communication, trust, and rapport-building, making future interactions more enjoyable and productive.
  • Increases Comfort with Technology: In virtual settings, using chat functions or poll features to facilitate voting during the game can help participants become more comfortable using technology for collaboration and communication.
  • Develops Adaptability: By working with random sets of emojis, teams learn to adapt quickly and make the most of the resources available. This skill is essential in both personal and professional settings, where flexibility and resilience are highly valued.
  • Encourages Empathy: As participants engage with various storylines and interpretations, they may develop a better understanding of others’ perspectives. This increased empathy can lead to stronger interpersonal relationships and more effective collaboration.

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Skills built with Emoji Story Battle

  • Interpretative Skills: Playing the Emoji Story Battle requires participants to think creatively and interpret emojis in various ways, fostering their ability to understand and respond to non-verbal cues.

  • Collaboration and Teamwork: Assembling stories from random emojis necessitates group discussion, brainstorming, and decision-making, enhancing participants’ team-building skills and reinforcing the importance of collaboration in achieving shared goals.

  • Adaptability and Flexibility: The game encourages players to think on their feet and quickly adjust their storylines when presented with new or unexpected emojis, cultivating adaptability and fostering resilience in the face of unpredictable situations.

  • Oral and Written Communication: Presenting stories through chat functions or verbally during the game helps participants hone their communication skills, both written and spoken, making them more confident when expressing themselves in different settings.

  • Active Listening: Engaging with teammates’ ideas and incorporating various interpretations of emojis into a cohesive storyline highlights the value of active listening and open-mindedness in group dynamics.

  • Non-Verbal Communication: Understanding and using emojis as a form of non-verbal communication strengthens participants’ ability to decode subtle cues, enabling them to build stronger connections with others and navigate diverse social situations effectively.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Participants must analyze the assigned emojis, identify patterns or themes, and craft a story that incorporates all elements cohesively. This process stimulates critical thinking and problem-solving skills, empowering players to tackle complex challenges in other aspects of their lives.

  • Confidence and Public Speaking: Sharing stories with the larger group during presentations builds confidence in public speaking, encouraging participants to articulate their thoughts clearly and persuasively while engaging their audience.

  • Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity: Emojis have become a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries. Utilizing emojis as storytelling tools promotes cross-cultural understanding and sensitivity, making participants more aware of different perspectives and experiences.

  • Empathy and Perspective-Taking: Interpreting and presenting stories through emojis fosters empathy by encouraging participants to imagine diverse scenarios, emotions, and viewpoints, ultimately enhancing their ability to understand and connect with others on a deeper level.

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Why I like Emoji Story Battle

I really appreciate the Emoji Story Battle icebreaker activity for its ability to foster communication and connection in a fun, creative way. The use of emojis as a universal language makes it accessible to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, breaking down barriers and encouraging participation.

What I like most about this icebreaker is its emphasis on collaboration within teams, promoting active listening, negotiation, and consensus-building skills. Additionally, the activity encourages spontaneous thinking and interpretation, which can lead to unexpected, humorous outcomes that bring laughter and lightheartedness to the group dynamic.

The Emoji Story Battle icebreaker also offers flexibility in its implementation, catering to both virtual and in-person settings with ease. This versatility ensures that it remains engaging and relevant for a wide range of meetings, workshops, and team-building events.

Moreover, the adaptability of themes and emoji sets provides opportunities for customization, making the activity more relatable or challenging depending on the group’s preferences or goals. The inclusion of a debriefing phase also promotes reflection, allowing participants to absorb valuable lessons about diverse interpretations and non-verbal communication.

In summary, I find the Emoji Story Battle icebreaker to be an entertaining, inclusive, and thought-provoking way to initiate interaction and engagement among participants. It sets a positive tone for the event while fostering essential skills such as collaboration, creativity, and interpretative abilities.

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Tips for making Emoji Story Battle more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide Accessible Emoji Descriptions Make sure that the emojis used in the story are described accurately for visually impaired participants. This can be done by using text-based emojis or ensuring that screen readers announce the correct descriptions.

  • Tip: Use Culturally Diverse Emojis Incorporate emojis from various cultures and backgrounds to make all participants feel represented and included in the activity.

  • Tip: Offer Language Support If there are non-native English speakers in the group, provide translated emoji descriptions or encourage them to use emojis familiar in their culture to enhance participation and comfort.

  • Tip: Consider Accessibility Needs For participants with motor impairments, ensure that the emojis are large enough for easy selection or offer alternative input methods like voice recognition software.

  • Tip: Emphasize Inclusive Storytelling Encourage teams to create stories that reflect diverse experiences and perspectives, promoting a welcoming environment for everyone involved.

  • Tip: Facilitate Open Communication Ensure that all participants feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, or ideas during the activity. The facilitator should foster an atmosphere where everyone’s input is valued and respected.

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Reflection questions for Emoji Story Battle

  1. What was your favorite emoji story from another team, and why did it stand out to you? This question encourages participants to reflect on their peers’ creativity and express appreciation for their efforts. It also promotes active listening during presentations.

  2. How did your team approach the task of creating a cohesive story from random emojis? By asking about their process, you stimulate discussion around collaboration techniques and problem-solving strategies used during the activity.

  3. Did any of the emojis in your set have multiple interpretations or uses within your story? If so, how did this affect your team’s narrative? This question highlights the value of diverse perspectives and demonstrates how non-verbal communication can be open to interpretation, sparking curiosity about alternative storylines.

  4. How did participating in the Emoji Story Battle influence your understanding or appreciation of emojis as a form of communication? This reflection encourages participants to think critically about the power and limitations of non-verbal cues, which can lead to insights about effective communication methods.

  5. If you could create a custom emoji set for a future Emoji Story Battle, what theme or topics would you choose, and why? This question allows participants to imagine themselves as creators and think about how they could tailor the activity to their interests, fostering ownership and investment in the icebreaker experience.

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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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