Sometimes when you’re waiting for a meeting to start, it’s nice to get a feel of everybody on the call. I like to ask questions about themselves and ask a bit about how their work day is going. My utmost favorite thing to do, however, is break the ice with those who are a little more uncomfortable and shy about talking or being on the call. Try these:
When asking everyone to introduce themselves, have them say a quick introduction and an interesting fun fact about themselves. I think sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised and learn quite a bit from a little sentence about that person. I’ve learned about those who have their SCUBA certification, or Hawaiian being their first language, someone who was on a now-cancelled TV show, and even met someone who could yodel! This can be a really fascinating way to get your participants to lighten up a bit.
Book, Movie, Album
Try asking your participants what they would want to have with them if they were trapped on a deserted island; usually, I only allow one book, one film, and one music album. This question can be really interesting and you find out what someone is into because usually they would choose either a super great piece of work, or their ultimate favorite. I have found a lot of new titles to read from this method.
Would You Rather
Keeping it rather simple (and work appropriate), ask participants “Would you rather…” questions. For example, would you rather jump into a pool of ice water or walk on hot coals?” Or “Would you rather be able to fly or have the ability to be invisible?” Easy questions like that are quick to get people to start thinking and to further boost creativity, have your participants ask each other their own questions. I find this a really fun and humorous game to get me geared up to present.
Sometimes it’s kind of fun to get specific favorites. Ask certain participants what their favorite pizza toppings are or what their best “scar story” is…Maybe ask them what’s the best dish they can cook or what their first job was. Ask their favorite vacation spot and go so far as to ask what their favorite guilty pleasure movie, song, or TV show is. What ice cream flavor is missing that they would invent? This ice breaker can be really fun and loosens up your colleagues.
Try using one of these ice breakers next time you’re on a call. I think you’ll find that getting everybody to lighten up and get their mind gears grinding will boost productivity and you may even get some better feedback. I always find it better to have a less awkward and tension-filled call for my meetings, anyway – I think you’ll like it better, too!