Every meeting or conference needs a powerful kick-off. An effective icebreaker activity can help you set the tone for your event and open opportunities for your delegates to network.
First, you need to decide on the objective you want to achieve with your icebreaker.
Do you want your delegates to get to know each other or prompt them to collaborate? Or do you simply want to energize your audience and make them pay attention?
Whichever the reason, a good icebreaker should be spontaneous, fun, and simple enough for everyone to join in.
Here are some ice-breaking activities for your inspiration.
Let your delegates write their own stories. If your setup allows it, divide your participants into groups and prompt them to come up with a story they would share later on with one another.
To give you a real-life example, Martin Timmermans held an amazing story-telling session at the FRESH14 conference in Copenhagen. He handed everyone in the room a pen and paper and invited them to write a short story about the most innovative event he or she helped to organize and share it with the rest of the group.
2. Question ball
This icebreaker is a combination of networking and physical activity so it's a perfect way to get your audience nicely warmed up.
It's simple: Take a beach ball, write punchy icebreaker questions all over its surface and tell your delegates to toss it around. Every time someone catches the ball, he or she would answer a question their right index finger landed on.
Try questions such as:
What is your job title?
What company do you represent?
What has been your biggest professional achievement to date?
3. Two truths & a lie
This classic game is an all-time favorite icebreaker. Divide your delegates into smaller groups (5-10) and invite them to state three facts about themselves. Two would be true statements, one would be a false fact.
Then tell the rest of the group to guess which one of the three statements is a lie. After the correct answer is revealed, encourage the delegate to share a story behind one of the true facts.
4. Find the man
This super engaging activity is great if you want to encourage networking among your participants.
Give each delegate someone else’s name tag. Every person then gets a simple instruction: Find the person who it belongs to. Your delegates will then need to walk around the room, approach different people and find the right one. This will help them get to know each other better along the way and meet new connections.
5. Poll your audience
Live polling is one of the easiest and most effective ways to break the ice before the keynote presentation, fireside chat, or a panel. It's a great way to get your audience's attention and set the tone for the session without much effort.
Using an audience engagement platform, prepare a simple live poll. It can be connected to the topic of the upcoming presentation, to the overall theme of the conference, or you can use it to find out more about your audience.
Here are some examples:
What do you expect to learn during this presentation?
What is your professional background?
On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you know about XY?
This icebreaker will also help you get your participants familiar with the tool you're using so you can take full advantage of it during the presentation or the Q&A session.