A great activity for everyone

This Or That

Discover What Your Team Really Prefers with This Fun Icebreaker Game!

This Or That
By Jon Zajac

What is This Or That?

The This Or That icebreaker is an engaging and interactive activity designed to foster connections and stimulate conversation among participants in various social settings. Its primary purpose is to enable individuals to learn interesting facts about each other in a relaxed, enjoyable manner, thereby creating a light-hearted atmosphere that encourages bonding.

As the facilitator or a participant in this activity, I find it fascinating how simple “This or That” choices can lead to meaningful exchanges of ideas and perspectives. The initial questions are generally broad and non-controversial, serving as a warm-up for participants to ease into the format. As the group becomes more comfortable, the prompts delve deeper into hobbies, lifestyle choices, or hypotheticals, allowing for unique preferences to emerge.

What makes the This Or That icebreaker effective is its ability to spark discussions on seemingly simple binaries, which in turn lays the groundwork for understanding and camaraderie among participants. By predesigned engaging discussions, it opens pathways to deeper connections, making it an excellent kickoff for any group interaction. It’s essential to ensure that the selection of prompts respects the diversity and potential sensitivities within the group while maintaining flexibility throughout the activity. This icebreaker is not just about discovering surface-level preferences but also paving the way for meaningful relationships and collective engagement.

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Rules for This Or That

  1. Participants form a circle or sit in a manner that facilitates easy communication.
  2. An individual serves as a moderator to manage the flow of the game and ensure everyone is included.
  3. Upon presentation of each ‘This or That’ question, participants choose one of the two options presented.
    • Participants can move to one side of the room or raise a hand/object to signify their choice for a more dynamic interaction.
  4. Begin with broad, non-controversial choices like “Cats or Dogs?” or “Morning or Night?” to ease participants into the format.
  5. As the group becomes more comfortable, proceed to personal preference/situational questions like “Books or Movies?” or “Travel the future or visit the past?”
  6. After each selection, participants briefly share why they made their choice, leading to spontaneous exchanges of ideas and perspectives.
  7. Depending on group size and preference, the role of asking questions can rotate among participants or be led primarily by the facilitator.
  8. Encourage but never force participants to share or explain their choices, aiming for an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable.
  9. Reflections or Group Discussion: Conclude the activity by discussing discovered unique preferences and surprising aspects of peers’ choices.
  10. Ensure the selection of prompts respects the diversity and potential sensitivities within the group.

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Materials needed for This Or That

  • A group of participants: The people who will be engaging in the icebreaker activity. This can range from a small team to a larger group, as long as everyone can comfortably communicate with each other.
  • An optional facilitator: While not strictly necessary, having someone designated to lead the activity can help keep things organized and ensure that everyone has a chance to participate.
  • This or That questions: These are the prompts that drive the conversation. They can be prepared beforehand or thought up on the spot, depending on your preference and the needs of the group. Just make sure they are inclusive, respectful, and considerate of the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of all participants.

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Setting up for This Or That

To set up for the This Or That icebreaker activity, you will need to ensure that participants form a circle or sit in a configuration that promotes easy communication. Designate a facilitator who will manage the flow of the game and make sure everyone is included. The facilitator should explain the rules clearly, beginning with broad and non-controversial questions before moving on to more personal preference or situational questions. This progression helps participants become comfortable with the format and encourages spontaneous exchanges of ideas and perspectives. Remember to maintain flexibility throughout the activity, allowing it to be shortened or lengthened based on group engagement.

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How to play This Or That

  1. Form a circle or arrange seating to enable easy communication. This setup encourages active participation and creates a friendly atmosphere.

  2. Designate a facilitator. The facilitator manages the flow of the activity, ensuring everyone is included and prompting discussion when necessary.

  3. Explain the rules. Participants must choose between two options presented in each ‘This or That’ question by moving to one side of the room or raising an object to signify their choice.

  4. Begin with broad warm-up questions. Start off with lighthearted and non-controversial choices like “Cats or Dogs?” or “Morning or Night?” These questions help participants become comfortable with the format.

  5. Transition to personal preference/situational questions. Gradually delve deeper into hobbies, lifestyle choices, or hypotheticals as the group becomes more engaged.

  6. Encourage conversation points. After each selection, prompt participants to briefly share why they made their choice, sparking discussions and exchanges of ideas.

  7. Allow for fluid transitions between participants. Rotate the role of asking questions among participants or maintain a facilitator-led approach based on group preference.

  8. Conclude with reflections or group discussion. Allow participants to share insights and discoveries made during the activity, fostering deeper connections and understanding.

  9. Consider sensitivities and individual comfort levels. Ensure question selection respects diversity and avoid pressuring participants to share or explain their choices. Maintain flexibility throughout the activity, adapting its length based on group engagement.

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Benefits of This Or That

  • Encourages Active Participation: The game format is simple and inclusive, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to engage. This encourages even reserved individuals to contribute, fostering a more collaborative group dynamic.
  • Reveals Personal Preferences and Interests: By asking participants to choose between two options, you can uncover insights into their hobbies, values, and lifestyle choices, which serve as excellent conversation starters.
  • Sparks Curiosity and Engagement: Each choice made by a participant can lead to further discussions or questions from other group members, fueling active interaction and participation.
  • Breaks Down Barriers and Stereotypes: By focusing on light-hearted topics, the game creates an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, allowing them to see past superficial differences.
  • Promotes a Positive Atmosphere: With its non-judgmental approach, This Or That icebreaker fosters a positive mood and helps establish a supportive and friendly setting for all participants.
  • Develops Listening Skills: As participants share their preferences, others are encouraged to listen actively, making the activity an effective tool for improving communication among group members.
  • Flexible and Adaptable: The game can be easily customized based on group size, age, or specific contexts, making it a versatile option for various social gatherings and settings.
  • Encourages Empathy and Understanding: By learning about their peers’ preferences, participants gain a better understanding of others and develop empathy towards those with differing opinions.
  • Builds Trust and Comfort: As the activity progresses, individuals feel more comfortable sharing personal information, leading to stronger interpersonal bonds between participants.
  • Enhances Group Dynamics: This Or That icebreaker sets a strong foundation for ongoing group interactions by establishing a sense of unity and connection among members.

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Skills built with This Or That

  • Active Listening: As I engage with the game, I find myself paying close attention to others’ choices and reasons, which helps sharpen my active listening skills. This ability to truly hear and understand what others are saying is crucial in both personal and professional settings.
  • Communication: Playing This Or That icebreaker hones my verbal communication skills, as I articulate my thoughts and preferences clearly for the group. It also encourages me to ask open-ended questions, fostering meaningful conversations.
  • Empathy: By learning about others’ interests and perspectives, I can better appreciate their viewpoints and experiences, which in turn strengthens my empathy muscles. This newfound understanding helps foster a more inclusive environment where everyone feels valued.
  • Patience: The game teaches me to be patient and wait for my turn while others share their thoughts, allowing me to practice self-control and improve my overall patience levels.
  • Respecting Differences: As I hear various opinions and preferences during the icebreaker, I learn to appreciate the differences among us. This understanding lays a solid foundation for respectful dialogue and collaboration in future group interactions.
  • Open-mindedness: The game exposes me to new ideas, interests, and ways of thinking that challenge my own preconceptions. As a result, I become more open-minded and adaptable, which is an essential skill in today’s ever-changing world.
  • Self-awareness: By sharing my preferences and reasoning during the game, I gain insights into what makes me unique and develop a better understanding of my own values and beliefs.
  • Confidence: As I openly express my thoughts and opinions in a supportive environment, I build confidence in my ability to communicate effectively with others, paving the way for successful interactions in various social contexts.
  • Team Building: The game fosters a sense of camaraderie among participants as we learn about each other’s interests and preferences. As a result, we can establish stronger connections that contribute to building cohesive teams in professional settings.
  • Critical Thinking: By evaluating the pros and cons of different options during the game, I practice critical thinking skills that translate to real-world problem-solving scenarios.

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Why I like This Or That

I appreciate the simplicity and versatility of the This Or That icebreaker activity. Its design fosters interaction in a fun, low-pressure environment, making it perfect for various social settings. I enjoy how this game encourages participants to share their preferences and thoughts, creating opportunities for connection and discussion.

The structure is engaging yet flexible, with an array of potential questions that can be tailored to the group’s demographics or interests. The gradual progression from light-hearted to more personal topics helps put people at ease while still uncovering unique insights about each participant.

Moreover, I find it commendable that the activity promotes inclusivity and respect for diversity. The facilitator’s role in ensuring sensitive prompt selection and fostering a comfortable atmosphere is crucial to its success.

As someone who values creating positive group dynamics, I believe the This Or That icebreaker serves as an excellent starting point for any gathering. By sparking discussions on seemingly simple binaries, it sets the stage for understanding, camaraderie, and collective engagement.

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Tips for making This Or That more inclusive

  • Tip: Choose Neutral and Inclusive Prompts I always make sure to select questions that are neutral and inclusive, avoiding topics that may be sensitive or divisive for some participants. This promotes a safe space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their preferences.
  • Tip: Vary the Topics To cater to different interests and backgrounds, I mix up the types of questions asked during the activity. Some rounds focus on hobbies or entertainment, while others explore values or aspirations, keeping it interesting for all involved.
  • Tip: Encourage Self-expression Instead of limiting choices to two options, I sometimes provide a spectrum or let participants come up with their unique answers. This allows individuals to express themselves more freely and accurately.
  • Tip: Be Aware of Body Language As a facilitator, I pay attention to the group’s dynamics and body language, ensuring that everyone is engaged and included in the conversation. If someone seems left out, I invite them to share their thoughts or ask a question tailored to their interests.
  • Tip: Respect Participants’ Comfort Levels While encouraging open communication, I also recognize and respect each participant’s comfort level. I never force anyone to share or explain their choices, ensuring the activity remains an enjoyable and voluntary experience for all.

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Reflection questions for This Or That

  1. What was one question that surprised you with its answer or sparked an interesting discussion? Understanding which questions resonated most with participants can provide insights into their values, interests, and shared experiences.
  2. Did any of your own answers elicit unexpected reactions or conversations from others? If so, why do you think this was the case? Reflecting on how one’s personal preferences influenced group dynamics can shed light on the power of individual perspectives within a collective setting.
  3. How did this activity help you view your peers in a different light or discover commonalities between yourself and others? By fostering a sense of connection and empathy, icebreakers like This Or That can strengthen relationships and foster inclusivity in various social contexts.
  4. Were there any questions that made you reconsider your own preferences or opened up new perspectives? Engaging with diverse viewpoints encourages personal growth, adaptability, and open-mindedness—key skills for navigating today’s interconnected world.
  5. If given the chance to create a This Or That question for this group, what would it be and why? Encouraging participants to develop their own prompts can deepen their investment in the activity while providing valuable feedback on the group’s dynamics and interests.

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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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