Start your meetings with the Two Truths and a Lie Icebreaker
Preparing for a team meeting can be a real challenge. Whether your team is holding a brainstorming session, closely evaluating a project, or facilitating a team retrospective, it requires a lot of work, both in substance and in form.
When the meeting happens, it is natural to want to jump straight to the main topic. After all, you have to optimize every minute.
But did you know that starting that meeting with a 5-15 minute icebreaker will help you build psychological safety within the team? As a result, the quality and efficiency of your meeting will be drastically improved.
What is an Icebreaker?
As its name suggests, an icebreaker helps break the ice and creates positive energy before beginning a team activity. Because icebreakers don’t need to be directly related to the subject of the meeting, they help reduce stress and bring a sense of calm to the room.
When choosing a type of icebreaker, you have to ask yourself before the official team meeting takes place if the exercise you are going to do is capable of:
Injecting positive energy into your team thanks to a playful spirit
Helping you get to know your colleagues better and strengthen team bonds
Preventing exhaustion due to multiple back-to-back meetings
Strengthening everyone's collaboration skills.
If the activity you are doing meets at least one of these criteria, you are on the right track!
There are hundreds of drills you can effectively practice with your team. One icebreaker that is extremely easy to orchestrate and will help bond its participants is Two Truths and A Lie.
What is the Two Truths and a Lie Icebreaker?
The Two Truths and a Lie icebreaker is a quick activity that will help bond the team through a simple game: guess which is the lie among the three facts stated by your colleagues.
This is a great activity for a newly formed team, or if you are welcoming one or more new members to your team.
Another strong point of this icebreaker is that it can be done orally, face-to-face, or remotely. If you are using a video conferencing tool, you can also ask the participants to send their truths and lies in the instant messenger when it is time to reveal everyone's responses.
How does the Two Truths and a Lie Icebreaker work?
An icebreaker must leave enough room for each participant to express themselves. It is very important that everyone can participate in the session. Therefore, the duration of this activity may vary depending on the number of participants.
Here is how to practice Two Truths and A Lie:
1️⃣ Give your team 3-5 minutes so that each member writes down two truths and one lie about themselves. Emphasize that they should keep these notes secret, and not share them with the team yet.
2️⃣ Once you've made sure everyone has come up with their two truths and one lie, invite a random participant to reveal their three statements…
3️⃣ Give your team 30 seconds to decide what the lie is. It’s not about debating anyone's assumptions, but it is instead about quickly choosing what the lie is.
4️⃣ At the end of these 30 seconds, everyone reveals what in their opinion is the lie among the 3 statements made by your colleagues.
5️⃣ Once everyone has spoken, invite the designated person to say what the lie was. People might be surprised!
6️⃣ Repeat this cycle until all team members have been able to reveal their 2 truths and 1 lie.
🎲 You can “gamify” this activity by holding a scoreboard. Those who find the lies earn one point per discovery. You can also award a point to the “good liars” who managed to deceive everyone!
You may notice that participants struggle to find lies and truths in the first stage.
You can help them out by preparing a list of questions:
Do you excel in a particular area or activity?
Do you have brothers or sisters?
Do you have an unusual story about them?
What's a completely new activity that you have started (or want to do)?
Have you witnessed anything extraordinary?
Do you have a special talent that no one knows about?
When you were a child, what did you want to become when you grew up?
Have you ever met a celebrity?
Strategize to fool your colleagues like a pro!
The difficulty of this icebreaker is to be able to deliver a credible lie. Here are some tips to keep your lies undetectable:
Give an equal amount of detail to each of your 3 examples.
Mix up the order of your lie and your truths.
Try to tell a lie that is not exaggerated, so that it is as plausible as your truths.
Deliver your lie in the same tone as you tell your truths.
Do not hesitate to use an extraordinary truth to camouflage it as a lie.
Examples of Truths and Lies
Sometimes it’s nice to find inspiration in order to craft the perfect lie or to remember certain truths. We share with you a list of 5 categories of our favorite examples:
Family and Childhood:
1. I have a twin brother/sister
2. I lived in Australia when I was younger (or another country or city)
3. I am the eldest of 7 siblings (adjust the number to your situation)
4. One of my cousins is a movie star 🎥⭐
5. My mother works for the secret service
6. I took acting lessons when I was young
7. I have a brother/sister 15 years younger than me
8. I love my 14th birthday Strokes t-shirt so much that I still wear it from time to time
9. As a child, I was terrified of dogs (or other animals) 🐕😱
10. My parents did everything for me to be a doctor (or another profession)
11. I was born in Accident, Maryland
12. As a child, I dreamed of becoming an influencer
13. In the playground, I was by far the best at bungee jumping
14. One of my jokes was posted in Carambar wrappers. 🍬😆
15. As a child, I was a voice actor for cartoons
16. I was the kid in the Kinder Surprise ad
17. My parents tattooed their children's names
18. When I was 10, we set fire to the neighbor's garden by making an improvised fireworks display on July 4th 🎆🔥
19. At 4, I decided I was a hairdresser and cut my little sister's hair
20. I got my first cell phone when I was 12, it was a Nokia.
Talents & Skills:
21. I ran a full marathon
22. I have the flexibility of a contortionist
23. I went to circus school when I was young 🎪🦁
24. I was ranked 1st on my tennis team (or any other ranking from another sport)
25. As a child, I wanted to be a professional stuntman so nothing scared me
26. I am ambidextrous and can write perfectly with both hands.
27. I'm in a rock band 🎸🤘
28. I did the music conservatory
29. I have recorded one (or more) famous song(s)
30. I won the "Who can eat the most hotdogs" contest on Long Island.
31. I still don't have my driver's license
32. I have invested in many cryptocurrencies 🤑📈
33. I am fluent in 6 languages (adjust the number of languages)
34. I know how to play the clarinet (or any other instrument)
35. I belong to an improvisation league
36. I invented and published a board game 🎲✍️
37. My ELO rating in chess corresponds to the rank of Expert
38. I have set up several businesses in my life
39. I can stay 4 minutes in apnea
40. I have been awarded 5 trophies with my football/soccer team ⚽🏆
41. I have a collection of over 1,200 Pokemon cards (or other types of cards)
42. I played all the Final Fantasy
43. I'm a Dungeon & Dragon Game Master 🏰🧠
44. With my group of friends, we play board games every weekend!
45. I own a geeky cocktail recipe book
46. I am able to play all Guitar Hero songs in expert mode
47. My first video game was Zelda on the Nintendo 🎮🗡️
48. My alter ego in Dungeon & Dragon is a bard who keeps singing the worst songs ever written
49. I am part of a manga translation group
50. I made more than 10 cosplay costumes
51. I was part of a semi-professional Counter-Strike team 🎯💪
52. At my old job, every Friday at 4 p.m., my team and I would have a Nerf battle.
53. I own over 30 Lego Star Wars models
54. I've seen all 500 episodes of Naruto
55. I have 3 computer screens 🖥️🤓
56. I regularly publish heroic fantasy news
57. I own 6 fully customized computer keyboards
58. I am a dice collector
59. I have a real game room at home (with arcade terminals, cinema, etc.)
60. I'm a die-hard Battlestar Galactica fan. 🚀👩🚀
Habits and Diet :
61. I hate chocolate (or any other food)
62. The first thing I do in the morning is go out for a walk with my dog.
63. I don't eat vegetables ❌🥗
64. I cycle 20 km every day
65. I calculate all the energy intake of my meals
66. I am allergic to peanuts (or other food)
67. I run every morning, no matter the weather 🏃🌨️
68. I often have my food delivered, and I almost never cook!
69. I can't eat spicy food
70. I don't sleep more than 6 hours a night
71. I am vegetarian
72. Asian food is by far my favorite 🍛🥡
73. I only travel by bike
74. Sometimes I eat my dessert before my main course.
75. I hate peppers
76. I can't fall asleep without reading a few pages of a book 📖😴
77. I do not drink alcohol
78. I only eat red food
79. I start all my days with 1 hour of yoga
80. I do all my video calls standing up
81. My laugh is so unique that when I laugh it sounds like a truck (or some other funny sound) 🚒🤣
82. I have an insect phobia (or other phobias)
83. I am addicted to gambling (Casino, Races, etc.)
84. I am able to imitate Gollum's voice perfectly
85. I seem shy, but I completely change my personality in a competitive context
86. I am unable to swim underwater without pinching my nose 👃🏊♀️
87. I'm terribly afraid of clowns
88. I can't get myself to use a public toilet
89. I strongly believe in astrology
90. My TikTok account has over 100,000 followers
91. I can read the future in tea leaves ☕🔮
92. I dyed my hair 10 different colors
93. I have selfies of me and Brad Pitt (or another celebrity)
94. I have never been to see a horror movie at the cinema
95. I have shown up in pajamas to a job interview before
96. I've sent a love letter to the wrong person 💌😬
97. It may sound scary, but I sleep with my eyes open
98. When I was a teenager, I was a fan of Justin Timberlake (or another artist)
99. I am very superstitious
100. I have a boat license but unfortunately, I also get seasick 🛥️🤢
You are now ready to test the Two Truths and One Lie icebreaker. Be sure to give all the members of your team the chance to express themselves and surprise you!
Remote retrospectives give you the chance to learn and bond with your team
Hosting remote retrospectives can be simple and fun! With the Neatro team, we offer an exciting remote retrospective experience that draws all its strengths from our fun and accessible remote work mode.
While we are on the topic of discussing the importance of starting your retrospective with an icebreaker, we want to let you know that Neatro offers a list of over 200 useful questions to break the ice when starting your retrospective.
Try it for free at your next retrospective.