Speed Networking Icebreaker

Speed Networking icebreaker is an easy and quick way to get people talking at the beginning of different types of social events: like professional networking and community meet-ups – to help people network and overcome the initial shyness – or team meetings, to help everyone learn more about each other and work better together.

Time: up to 15 minutes

Speed Networking Icebreaker drawing by Julia Västrik

The idea of Speed Networking Icebreaker is that people form pairs, and then for 2 minutes, they talk about the given topic – usually answering a question. Then, the whole group switches their partners, and the topic changes too.

Speed Networking Icebreaker is a good fit for:

  1. Social events, for example, Agile community meet-ups or other professional networking events. It helps the participants meet new people, have meaningful conversations, and feel more comfortable, especially if they don’t know anybody there.
  2. New teams. In this case, it helps the new team members make the first steps to getting to know each other, understanding each other better and appreciating their differences.
  3. Speed networking icebreaker also works well for the teams that have been working together for an extended period. In this case, you need to choose more profound questions to let people know each other on a deeper level. Team members will uncover lesser-known facets of their peers and feel closer to each other.


  1. Explain the rules of the activity.
  2. Ask people to form pairs. Give them a couple of moments to introduce themselves in case of bigger social events.
  3. Show the 1st topic. Start timer for 2 minutes.
  4. After the timer signal, ask people to switch partners (be prepared to take some time).
  5. Show the 2nd topic. Start timer for 2 minutes.
  6. Continue as long as you want. I find that 5 topics are a good number for people to warm up enough while not making them bored.
  7. In the case of a team, it is a good facilitation practice to make a debrief after:
    • What was the most surprising for you?
    • What new did you get to know?
    • What ideas did you get for yourself?

Facilitation tips

  1. Start with easier questions (“What is your favorite restaurant in the city?”) and finish with more profound ones (“Tell me about yourself”).
  2. In case of a team, make a debrief after:
    • What was the most surprising for you?
    • What new did you get to know?
    • What ideas did you get for yourself?
  3. Visual aids help to run this activity more smoothly:
  • In the beginning, not only explain the rules but also visualize them; many people would understand them easier this way.
  • Make the questions visible also to ensure that people understand the current question. This is important as there inevitably will be some level of notice, as people will be switching, greeting each other, and just talking.
  • Show a timer countdown so that people can orient themselves time-wise and have more or less even a time period to talk both.

Being a very visual person, I know very well that simple things like this help many people create a more pleasant experience and make a good flow.

Examples of topics to talk about:

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. What are your favorite restaurants in the city?
  3. What TV show are you watching currently?
  4. How do you recharge when you are low on energy?
  5. What’s something you get to do in your job that you really love?
  6. What’s the most challenging part of your job?  
  7. How do you develop yourself?
  8. What do you like the most about working in Team X? 
  9. Tell me about a book you are currently reading
  10. Tell me about you

Presentation templates

Don’t have time to prepare your own slides or drawings? Use those below:

Other icebreakers for social events





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