10 Icebreakers

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Twenty Really Good Ice Breakers Strictly for Meetings and Special Functions 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. 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.

Let’s get rid of any tension in the room. It’s easy, we will just wash the tension out…ride it out on a tsunami. On the count of three I want the people in the front to raise their arms straight up and with a throwing action, pass all of their tension to the second row. The second row does the same thing and passes it to the third row. We continue the wave to the last row who hurls the collective tension, stress, or anxiety right out the door. Let’s just hope nobody’s walking by when the wave washes out into the hallway!

Following are twenty proven ice breakers:
As note above, it is not just the content of the ice breaker that is important. Timing is critical. All of the following are very good ice breakers, but any ice breaker can be a dud if inserted at the wrong time in a program. Carefully consider how you intend to use the ice breakers you choose. 1. Deduction: Have everyone write on a piece of paper their answers to such questions as: What is your favorite month, animal, food, TV show, hobby, and color? Each person is to sign his name, and to make certain no one else sees the answers. The leader then reads the answers to the whole group, and members try to guess to whom each set of answers belongs. Award one point for each right guess. The person with the most points wins a goofy prize. 2. True or False: Have participants say three things about themselves - two true and one false. Other participants guess what the lie is. The correct guesser goes next. 3. Opinion: Write the words "agree," "disagree," "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree" on large pieces of paper. Place each poster in an obvious spot somewhere in the room, preferably on a wall. Then make a statement such as “we all like spinach” and have everybody move to the part of the room that matches their opinion. You can create “opinions” that relate to the theme of the meeting. For example, our membership is the most dedicated membership in the world. 4. Exercise: State that you want everyone to get warmed up by doing some simple physical exercises. Stretch one arm forward. Relax. Stretch the other arm forward. Relax. Now, bring both arms forward and parallel; now bring hands together quickly. Again, again, faster. Naturally the sound of applause is created, and you say, “Thank you, but the applause isn’t necessary, I haven’t given my speech yet.” Then resume the stretching. “Let’s try reaching upward with one arm. Relax. Now the other. Relax. Now both. Reach to the sky. Now, bring your arms down, bend at the waste, arms out. Again, again, again….. When they start to laugh say, “Thank you, but the applause was...
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