Icebreakers are one of the most effective ways to kick off a meeting or a conference. The first five minutes of your conference will set the foundation for your entire event. If you excite your audience and set the expectations right, then you have a much better chance of keeping your audiences engaged throughout your entire event.
In this article, we will discuss a few strategies and samples for you to try. Ready?
Icebreaking sessions can be an excellent way to help people get to know each other, meet organizers and learn more about the event itself. Where do you start?
- When to trigger an icebreaker?
- How to trigger an icebreaker? And what not to do?
- A sample of few icebreaker questions
Let’s get started!
So when do you need to break the ice?
At the beginning of any event in which you want to capture your audience’s attention and especially in events in which the majority of your audience doesn’t know one another.
In some cases, you would need to trigger multiple icebreakers, especially when your event can take more than few hours and also when you feel that your audience is not engaged as much or getting tired after a long day of back-to-back speakers or panels.
1. Identify your objective
Decide what you want to achieve with your icebreaking session. These kind of activities are supposed to warm up the audience and help people get to know each other.
2. Understand your audience
Understand your audience and what they might be interested in as that will reflect what kind of icebreakers would be relevant and effective.
3. Keep it simple
Do not overcomplicate it. It should be easy to understand and engage in your activity for everyone.
4. Have a networking session
Or have an informal session before the event to allow people time for networking and for them to feel that they belong within your event.
5. Amplify your engagement with technology
Much of your audience might prefer not to be in the spotlight. So how can you engage them? How do you engage the masses quickly?
The answer is easy. There are a few tools that you can use to facilitate real-time polling, feedback, voting, Q&A for your audience. Your audience can all participate either from their phones, tablets or any internet connected device. Some tools like ExciteM’s SwiftPolling offer real-time SMS polling as well as real-time web voting and social media voting (Facebook Hashtags & Twitter) from one application and allow you to visualize the results that are coming in from your audience in real-time within your Powerpoint presentation or any internet browser. Try it now.
You can use tools like these to also facilitate real-time questions and answers from the audience and allow them to choose topics to cover based on their preferences during your event with moderation.
Keep your call-to-action requests simple:
Don’t ask your audience to download an application as you will end up losing the majority of the engagement. Downloading an application is a major barrier for most people. Instead, keep your request simple to one step such as text ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to 415-600-9000 or go to excitem.com/MyVote. With simple call-to-actions, you should expect 95% of your audience to participate throughout your event.
Ensure that you have a way to show the results of the real-time engagement within your presentation or AV setup to close the loop with your audience.
And most importantly, make sure to plan these questions/icebreaker in advance of your event, considering your audience and the overall theme the gathering is around.
Here’s a choice of our top icebreaker questions:
These questions will create a holistic approach to who is in your event which many people are usually curious to know. Such as:
Age of the audience?
Technical Background of your audience?
Personal Interest of your audience?
Where are they coming from?
Who do they work for?
General and Fun Questions:
What do you fear most?
Where would you go for your dream getaway?
What skill or talent do you wish you possessed?
You accidentally dented a parked car, but no one saw you. What do you do?
What’s your favorite food?
What’s the title of your autobiography?
Are you a good dancer?
How do you spend your time? with family? friends? alone?
Share something you didn’t understand about the world as a kid:
What’s your lifehack of the week?
Your favorites singer?
Your favorite book?
What sound or noise do you love?
What’s the strangest word you know?
Who was your first pop culture crush?
You won a new car! What type of car is it?
If you were an animal, which animal would you be?
We’re replacing Mt. Rushmore with celebrities. Who NEEDS to be up there?