In any form of public speaking at a live event you will want to spend time warming up the room. These are what we commonly call ‘icebreaker activities’.
There are various reasons for icebreakers but the most obvious is because you want to get the audience on your side and loosen them up a bit. Everybody’s energy is going to be in a different place when they first arrive so your role as the public speaker is to bring them all together as one. This is even more important when you’re speaking on someone else’s stage and they perhaps don’t have a prior relationship with you.
As you have probably seen from your own first-hand experience – you get all types of people coming to live events! Shy, confident, outgoing, reclusive – believe I’ve seen THE LOT and then some . . .so that’s why ice-breakers are so good at bringing people together.
Remember also the context in how they arrived at your event. Some people might be naturally chatty but have had a stressful journey trying to get to the venue, or just stressed in general this particular day!
As the public speaker your job is to capture people’s attention, lower their guard and get them engaged in your presentation. Nothing is easier to do when it comes to building rapport, and raising the energy and involvement of your audience than using an icebreaker!
So what sort of things can you use as “Icebreaker Activities”?
Here’s a few simple examples that you’re welcome to use:
- Long Lost Friends.
Nothing breaks the ice like pretending someone’s a long lost friend. I invite people to go and meet 5 people that they don’t know, but greet them like they are “long lost friends”. This usually works well in a personal development type environment, but might not be too crash hot in corporate.
- What’s your intention?
In this exercise you send people off to introduce themselves to 3 new people they don’t know. Have them share their name, occupation and what their intention is for the workshop. This is a great idea because it has the added advantage of getting people thinking about why they are there and what their outcomes are.
- Share a Dream Holiday.
This is a great one because it gets people instantly in a good mood! Have participants introduce themselves to 5 people, share their name and where they would most like to visit on a dream holiday and why.
- Memorable Moments.
I like this because again it raises the emotional energy. Invite people to introduce themselves and tell the most memorable moment in their life so far, in a wildly inspirational way.
For my Icebreakers I prefer to send people off into small groups, or to network and meet people personally rather than having each participant stand up and introduce to the whole group. The reason is that the intention of my icebreaker activity is not only to get to know each other, but to raise the energy in the room. So the more noise, and fun, and hub-bub we can create, the better.
I also recommend playing some fun music underneath!
So why not at your next live event practice one of the above ice-breakers and see the instant effect it has on your room. And if you’ve got any tried and tested ice-breakers of your own go ahead and share them in the comments section so we can all benefit. Until next time!