More than just a ‘nice to have’, icebreakers can make a vital difference to the success of events. Here’s why.
An icebreaker is a tool used by meeting and event facilitators to ‘warm up’ delegates, help them get to know each other, and generally get them into the rhythm of the day.
Keeping it simple often works best, such as basing an icebreaker on a question such as ‘What three items would you take on a desert island?’ or ‘Find five things you all have in common’ when breaking participants into smaller groups.
The simplicity of icebreaker questions can cause meeting facilitators to view icebreakers as a non-essential part of the day. Yet icebreakers have the ability to reap incredible rewards.
Here’s how an icebreaker can improve the overall success of an event or meeting:
Recognising the 'human factor'
One of the most important aspects of icebreakers is that they make people feel a little more comfortable. Every meeting or event hosted by a company brings something new – whether it’s the subject matter being discussed, a different mix of colleagues or a venue outside the usual office environment. Even the most confident delegates have to get used to the setting – they’re only human, after all.
Using an icebreaker to help people feel more relaxed at a meeting or event has a valuable knock-on effect on productivity. When delegates feel comfortable, they are naturally more engaged with the event, which also makes them more productive. Even if you have a lot of content to get through on the agenda, spending some time on an icebreaker at the beginning really will pay off.
Simply put – icebreakers get conversations started. The best icebreakers make it easy for people to get talking. When the icebreaker is over and you get to the subject matter of the event or meeting itself, delegates will be a little more familiar with each other and feel an increased willingness to contribute.
Establishing an equal footing
When delegates with senior job titles or niche areas of expertise are part of a meeting or event, other participants tend to defer to them or not contribute as much as they would otherwise. Icebreakers help break down hierarchies at the beginning of an event and make all delegates feel like equal and valued participants.
Strengthened team relationships
The impact of icebreakers goes beyond single meetings or events too. Talking about something totally separate from work creates rapport and gives insights into other points of view, bringing huge benefits to teams. Not only do individuals feel more a part of the team when they return to work, they also feel more engaged in their work and loyal to the company too.
Ideal for adding to the beginning of an event, meeting or team building session, icebreakers can be the most important five minutes of a whole day. Helping to instill genuine engagement, improving productivity and making a long-lasting impact on team dynamics – icebreakers are an essential part of any meeting agenda.
Teamscapes Learning are our innovative team building company that inspires your people to do what they do, better. Specialising in experiential learning, Teamscapes Learning has been developed over the last 25 years to provide tailored solutions that will add significant value to your business. Their ice breaker activities include ‘Blockheads’ and ‘Trade Off’.