Ice breakers can be the spark you look for in a meeting

Bob: “Wendy, I think we are ready for our facilitation training workshop with all the materials we identified. Let’s schedule this training.”

Me (Wendy): “Not so fast, Bob! Remember we saw different suggestions from people on how to have engaging meetings? We commented on them whenever we saw those suggestions. Maybe we should formally write them down, whether good or bad.”

Bob: “Thanks for reminding me, Wendy. I completely forgot about those. Yes, let’s write them all down.”

Me: “Cool. Let’s start with the suggestion of having a meeting agenda beforehand.”

Bob: “Didn’t we already discuss this? Having an agenda is just the bare minimum, it’s not enough to have an engaging and productive meeting.”

Me: “Exactly! Another suggestion that I’ve seen is to ensure there is a list of action items afterwards, then make sure people follow up.”

Bob: “We also talked about it before. While having a list of action items are good, the facilitators or meeting makers of the meeting is not the traffic cop to ensure people do the actions. We need people to own up to their actions and inspire them to follow up on their own.”

Me: “‘Inspire’ them?”

Bob: “It’s one way to say, make them want to do them, as in “what’s in it for them?” Remember our conversation on that?”

Me: “Ah! I get it now. “Inspire”! You’re funny, Bob!”

Bob *blushes*

Me: “Ok, how about ice breakers?”

Bob: “I love them. But why do we need them? What’s their real value? I want to hear what you think first

Me: “Ice breakers are a way to engage people in a lighthearted way. It can help set the mood at the very beginning. It’s especially helpful for people to just take a breath with something that doesn’t involve too much brain power.” 

Bob: “Right. However, instead of any random ice breakers, we can use the ice breaker to get people in the right mind of that meeting. Remember we played a word game before? The word we chose was long, but it was related to the meeting goal. We asked people how many other words they can come up with using the letters in the word. That way, it’s fun and light-hearted, but people are staring at that word from the beginning.”

Me: “Yea! Like a subliminal message! lol!”

Bob: “The most important thing – ice breakers need to be short and sweet, and not take away from the actual meeting itself. We should make sure to teach people that. I’ve seen some meetings devolve because people were having too much fun with the ice breaker, and it ate into the meeting itself.”

Me: “Yes. It is important that ice breakers are short, light, and have some connection to the meeting. But, in some instances you might not want to directly connect it. You may want to achieve a slightly different purpose.”

Bob: “Oh? What’s that?”

Me: “Sometimes they can be used to build better team connection and the relationships with one another.”

Read Wendy’s entire story here

1 comment

Leave a Reply