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Meeting Icebreaker? Make it Cringe-Free

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Bizly

Mar 08, 2016

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2 min read

Like some teambuilding activities, an icebreaker can be the most awkward part of a meeting and may even be considered a waste of time by participants. In fact, a 2012 Vodafone/YouGov survey of 1,000 UK employees found that only 26% of respondents believed team building would help them work more effectively with their colleagues. Not a strong start to a meeting!That said, icebreakers can be very valuable if done right — and in the right circumstances. They are particularly useful:

  • For distributed teams, when meeting participants don’t know each other.

  • When two teams come together for the first time.

  • To kick off a brainstorming meeting and loosen creativity.

  • For a meeting facilitator to get to know participants quickly.

  • To make productive use of regularly scheduled conference/video calls where a few minutes are generally required to have all connect to the call.

Experts suggest being smart about icebreakers when planning. For example, don’t break into pairs with “turn to someone near you” guidance. Most people sit near people they know, and the goal will generally be to have everyone get to know someone else. Instead, count off. Also, be cognizant of time restraints. Most people want meetings to move quickly. So keep the icebreaker appropriate to the overall length of the meeting.For relatively short meetings or conference/video calls, a simple one-question, go-around-the-room icebreaker is easy, requires little preparation and can be effective. Some examples:

  • What is the origin of your name?

  • Select something that’s on your desk: What is its meaning?

  • Which three words best describe you?

  • What is a little known fact about you or what is your secret super-power?

  • What is the burning question you hope the meeting answers?

For longer, more active exercises, check out these resources:Quick Meeting Openers for Busy Managers (American Management Association)8 Icebreakers for Meetings (by Michael Angelo Caruso)5 Icebreakers for Distributed Team Meetings (Lucid Meetings)An icebreaker can add a spark of energy to any meeting and move a group forward. Just choose wisely.

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bizly-image

Bizly

Mar 08, 2016

|

2 min read

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