Most of the meetings in today’s business settings are all about showing up and little participation. The employees will hand out their business cards but have little or no gainful interactions with others. Much of this can be attributed to the atmosphere setting during the start of the meeting. It should be one the helps all attendees get acquainted and comfortable with each other and ensure that they stay energized and actively involved in the event’s proceedings.
Icebreakers can help in that regard. However, the term icebreaker is more often than not considered as something (an activity) done at the start of a meeting to make all participants loosen up and be actively involved. But, icebreakers can as well be used to refocus attendees after a break, to reinforce a point, or to revitalize full participation. Below are some tips on how to break the ice at such meetings or events.
1. Introductions are essential
Introductions are perhaps the most natural way of breaking the ice in any meeting or event. They should start with the meeting’s chair, and then the attendees can do the same (if the number is small). The objective is to solicit a response from the others by trying to get them to share their names, and this can help strike up a conversation.
2. Ask questions to get opinions
Try to get the opinions of what those in attends think about the event or meeting and the expectations they have. Ask leading questions about the agenda of the day and allow the attendees to converse among themselves before they give their answers. Let them talk about the issues they know best because it will ease them into talking about themselves and making them open to hear about their colleagues. Also, this helps them find common ground and discover shared interests, which is useful in building valuable relationships, both at a professional and personal level.
3. Allow for a bit of entertainment
Once everyone has talked with two or more people, the meeting can start. However, it would be unwise to jump straight into the agendas of the day. A bit of entertainment can also help liven up the proceedings and ensure that everyone is actively involved in the event. The entertainment should also be thrown in in the course of the proceedings to ensure attendees are at ease and attentive. The entertainment should be something exciting a game being an ideal option.
4. Make people laugh
Much of the meeting should not be focused on ensuring things are on the straight and narrow, professionally speaking. Straying a bit from the norm is healthy. Injecting some humor even when trying to point out a crucial issue can still help drive the point home. Laughter relieves tension and a good laugh now and then will help the attendees enjoy the meeting and participate actively.
When it comes to breaking the ice and setting the right mood for a corporate meeting or networking event, it is vital not to overthink things. Avoid trying to predict how attendees will react or what they will say. Take a deep breath, be entertaining and humorous and everything will flow.