This is a simple game and a great icebreaker to get the energy up in the room. (If you have an event with a photographer, this is also fantastic for getting great pictures!) It has people greet each other in creative and often hilarious ways.

Group Size
  • Any Size
  • None


  1. Have everybody in the room stand. Then announce that they are going to go around and greet other people in the room while following your instructions.
  2. Offer a series of ways for folks to introduces themselves to one another. You might say, “Greet the other people like they are your long-lost best friends whom you haven’t seen in years", “Greet other people as if they have bad breath”, or “Greet other people as if they are celebrities."
  3. You can finish the energizer by encouraging a round of applause or telling folks to say goodbye to their partners and have a seat.
  • This works especially well when a group has already known each other. But it’s astonishing how well it works on the first day of an event, when people are total strangers. People often spin each other around, and jump up and down with genuine joy. It’s also a great way to get people to feel like they belong.
  • You can also create your own categories and prompts.
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This game typically does not need a debrief. It’s just a great way to get energy in the room to a crescendo, and also to get people to feel like they belong to a community. Once they have had everyone hugging them and treating them like best friends, people tend to feel close and connected – even though they were strangers mere moments before!


The key to this game is that it helps people feel like they belong. Neuroscientists Naomi Eisenberger and Matt Lieberman at UCLA did a famous study where they found that the pain of social rejection is processed by the same parts of the brain as physical pain. In other words, it hurts to be excluded. This game makes everyone feel welcomed and part of the group.


Transformative Action Institute, adapted from popular improv activity

Additional Readings

Eisenberger, N. I., Lieberman, M. D., & Williams, K. D. (2003). Does rejection hurt: An fMRI study of social exclusion. Science, 302, 290–292.