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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
  Your Favorite Presentation Icebreaker

icebreaker powerpoint background
What's your favorite icebreaker? You know, the activity that loosens up your audience, gets them interacting vocally or physically, shakes up the crowd, motivates the masses, or otherwise re-invigorates a tranquil meeting?

I posed this question to a bartender, and he quickly replied, "More cocktails!"

But for a business person or educator, the simple application of alcohol is (sometimes) not an effective presentation strategy! And in many cases, it's not even legal.

That's why presenters often turn to other forms of icebreakers -- aka motivators, games, warmups, or energizers -- to get an audience interacting and involved. And while many of us roll our eyes when presented with an overly complicated icebreaker scenario, I have witnessed many great icebreaker applications before and during presentations.

Compare/contrast these two situations:

Situation 1: A team of people who don't know each other will be working together on a project. They are attending their first company training session. The trainer introduces everyone to each other, and explains what their role will be during the project.

Situation 2: The same team, the same situation. The trainer asks each team member to introduce themselves to the group, describe their role in the project, and share one thing about themselves that not many people know.

I've been in both situations, and I have to say, I liked Situation 2 much better! The use of a classic introduction icebreaker instantly put more energy and involvement into the room.

The icebreaker technique doesn't have to be a cheap trick used by presenters....of course, many times they are. For example, I am not overly fond of passing an orange from neck to neck with a group of people I don't know very well.

But you know, that's just me. You might like being groped by sweaty strangers.

So let me ask you: what are your best and worst examples of icebreakers?

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PS - Download your free "icebreaker" PowerPoint background. Pretty blue!

PSS - And here is an amazingly comprehensive list of popular meeting icebreakers.

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Bring a roll of toilet paper, and tell people you've run out and this is the last roll. Everyone, please take as much as you think you'll need for the day.

Hold out the roll so people roll off the sheets. You can use your thumbs as guides and "accidentally" break the paper if people take too much.

When everyone has taken paper, reveal the real reason: please tell one fact about yourself for every sheet of paper you took.
 
You had me scared there for a second when you mentioned that the toilet paper supply might be in danger!

I'd probably take the whole role and flee the scene!

;)
 
I use two that I rotate.
I ask the usual stuff - name, job title/department. I then either ask: a) if you were a colour, what colour would you be and why?
or b) Tell us what your favourite toy was as a child - and why.
Both of these can get discussions going and provide a light hearted start to proceedings.
 
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