In order for an ice breaker to be effective, it must employ content appropriate to the group as well as be appropriately timed. It should not be too long otherwise it might sabotage the more serious work of the meeting. It should occur at the beginning of the meeting or speech, and then at appropriate times during the program. Knowing when to insert an ice breaker requires sensitivity and creativity. It is not easy to teach one when to insert an ice breaker. Some people seem to know instinctively when to use an ice breaker. Other people may require practice and experience to develop their timing.
Ice breakers are particularly well suited for beginning a speech or starting a meeting. As the name implies, they “break the ice,” help participants relax, and generally set the tone for the presentation. They help to relax participants, and that makes them more receptive to listening and contributing. An ice breaker can also serve to create a “team atmosphere” and motivate participants to work with others in a cooperative manner. Ice breakers can take various forms but those that seem the most popular and effective are those that promote interaction, sharing, and team building.
Here are 10 suggestions for composing professional icebreakers.
1. Have a clear purpose for the ice breaker in mind. What do you want it to do?
2. Simplicity is important. You need to be able to explain it with ease. It needs to be understood with equal ease.
3. Learn from other ice breakers, and adapt them to your own needs.
4. Learn to “time” your ice breaker so that it has a positive impact on your meeting or speech.
5. Make it humorous…nothing sets the tone better than laughter.
6. Practice it. Work with it until you are confident in your ability to employ it.
7. Design it to make a point that relates to some aspect of your presentation.
8. Think like an entertainer when designing your ice breaker.
9. Make certain it isn’t likely to be embarrassing or offensive.
10. Use props. Sometimes you can get a good idea for an ice breaker from an object: a rubber chicken, school bell, juggling balls, oversized pencil, magic wand, etc.
This video entails an example of an ice breaker within a corporate setting.
In conclusion, professional Ice breakers are great stress relievers. Employee motivation and stress management is not something that happens separate from the day to day activities. It has to happen simultaneously. Ice breakers are a great way of doing just that. People and employees interact with one another on a different level. Ice breakers get them to interact on a different level because they break down the facades that we carry around with us.