One of the main goals of any event or gathering is for the audience to be engaged, right? Ice breakers provide an effective way to have your crowd interact and have fun before the main session of your event begins. They help us buy into the experience and ease any possible inhibitions we may have. We know that a well-facilitated event begins with an activation or ice breaker, but how do we design an effective icebreaker to kick-start our events?
It may sound simple, but one of the best ways to ensure that your ice breaker will run smoothly is to think of a time when you participated in an ice breaker that was done poorly, and then actively do the opposite. By examining past experiences, we can learn from them and become hyper-aware not to make those same mistakes. Just for you, we did some brainstorming and developed a few tips you should try to ensure that your next icebreaker is as successful as possible!
Without further adieu, here are some things to keep in mind when designing an effective icebreaker:
An effective icebreaker brings people together.
Some audience members may come from contrasting backgrounds and cultures. We all come from different walks of life, but it is best to focus on the similarities of the participants when planning an ice breaker, not the differences. Your audience has at least one thing in common: they are at your event! Pause for a minute and think about your group. Choose an activation that is tailored to helping them connect as much as possible considering their culture, demographics, and interests. There is an icebreaker for every audience.
Determine the objective of your event, and then cater your icebreaker to it accordingly.
Some icebreakers simply serve as a way to set the tone for a productive working environment, while others are in place to create a level playing field so everyone feels comfortable contributing to the event experience. In order for your event to succeed the way you intend, we suggest kicking things off with an icebreaker that fits seamlessly into the experience.
Keep it simple!
An over-complicated icebreaker disengages your audience members. When giving directions, avoid over-explaining. Only tell audience members what is necessary for the completion of the ice breaker, that way you keep their attention. You want your participants to feel prepared, so an instructional video or displaying directions on a projector screen will serve you well! Not to mention, technology can help you excel in making your event feel more captivating. It conveys to your group that you thought through every aspect in order to make it enjoyable for them.
Make sure your icebreaker is comfortable for everyone involved.
It is best to avoid icebreakers that explore a specific topic if your group is unfamiliar with one another. You want your group to engage in an activation that breaks the ice… not one that unveils an entire glacier and makes people feel exposed. Keep your icebreakers light and be sensitive to differences in personality. Some people are less inclined to share specifics about themselves. In this instance, it is best to lean in the direction of an icebreaker that provides a team-building opportunity such as a fun game or activity. Your group will naturally spark conversation from an activity or game, so don’t feel the need to force it. Take your event space into consideration and make sure that the set-up is appropriate. If your activation requires people to be walking and moving around, ensure there is space for that. There is an icebreaker you can try with any event space.
Remember: memorable events begin by leveling the playing field and setting the tone for your audience. Once you’ve drafted your icebreaker, get ready for a well-facilitated and engaging experience! We hope that these tips prove to be beneficial for you when you are designing your next event. For more tips and icebreaker ideas, check out our Icebreaker Playlist.