Have you ever been to an occasion where the conversation was awkward or took a while to get going. Weddings can be like this, when you are often seated at a table with people you don’t know, or with whom you are little more than acquaintances. Other occasions can suffer like this as well. We all know what we’re supposed to do, but all too often many of us find it really hard, and of course we’re worried about saying the wrong thing, or worse still, offending someone
There are lots of ways in which you can overcome these problems, and they are all very simple and straightforward. They come in the form of table games which are brilliant ice-breakers. Some, you can create yourself, and others you can buy at very reasonable prices, but they will all help you to solve the problem and get everyone to relax much more quickly. I’ve described three possible games, although there are lots more, and as trivia questions are easy to find these days, I’ve described a few different ways in which they can be used.
We all love to test our knowledge and to see how well we can do when pitted against others and there are masses of different subjects that are covered by these simple boxes of trivia questions. Covering everything from fashion to football, and music to history and general knowledge, there are subjects that are suitable for everyone and any occasion. You can then use these in a variety of different ways:
- a. You can just leave them open on a table so that guests can pick them up and try them on one another. If you spread a few round the table you’ll be amazed at the way curiosity overcomes people and they are talking in no time
- b. You can organise a “quiz” with them – have a set of questions from several topics and mix them up and ask each table to come up with an answer that is agreed across the table, a bit like a pub quiz – it makes people talk to each other
- c. Spread the same questions on each table and challenge everyone to come up with the correct answers in the fastest time, each table yelling finished when they have so that the adjudicator can stop everyone and go and verify the answers – this can work as a game for individuals or for teams, although working as teams always breaks any reticence between people, so if this is your purpose it’s probably best to stay as teams
- d. Offer up a variety of subjects to the audience and get them to bid for the subject that they want – this can be great at a charity ball for instance, as an additional way of making money – then give a prize for the first table to finish with correct answers to all the questions – a bottle of wine or two usually works as the perfect prize at such an occasion.
2. Truth or Lie
- This is a game that is very easy to arrange and play and is brilliant at bringing everyone into the conversation, and getting to know a little about one another. You need one person to start the ball rolling by telling a story about themselves. The others then have to decide whether that person is telling the truth about themselves or they have made it up. Give them the opportunity to ask questions – to interrogate – the story teller, and then come to a conclusion. Once the answer is revealed the next person can offer their story. The stories that people come up with can be as simple or as fanciful as they like, it’s up to them, but it can be a good idea to tell people in advance that you are going to play the game because some take longer to get a story prepared than others, and the game is designed to help people relax, not to make them feel awkward.
3. Who am I?
A game most will have played at one time or another. Prepare some post-it notes with names of famous people, cartoon characters, film or TV characters, historical characters etc., and then go around and put one post it note on the head of everyone. The name of the post it note is who they are. Everyone else can see who they are, but they cannot see for themselves. Everyone is then allowed to ask anyone else any questions about themselves as long as the answer is “Yes” or “No”. You’ll have a terrific hubbub in seconds as everyone tries to find out who they are. It can be great fun and a perfect way to get a group of people talking to each other. By the time they’ve solved the mystery they have relaxed, feel more like chatting, and they have something to talk about. The bizarre characters that have been used in this game range from politicians to TV personalities, and from ET to the Easter Bunny!! Your only limit is your imagination!
4. The Yes, No or Maybe game.
- Start the ball rolling yourself by being in the hot seat to begin. Everyone asks you questions as fast as they like. You have to answer but you are not allowed to reply with Yes, No or Maybe. If you do, you are out and the next person sits in the hot seat. The person who survives the longest without using the forbidden words is the winner.
You can use any of these games for as short or as long a time as you need or you want. Use them just to get the occasion off to a start, or for longer if everyone is enjoying themselves. They all get people talking and once the relax, your job is done and you can relax yourself!