Icebreakers, if planned well, are a powerful tool that helps you get the full attention of your audience, kick off networking sessions, and set the right expectations for the whole event.
Coming up with a good icebreaker could be a tough goal for many event managers. It is really important to tailor the icebreaker around the specific audience at your event. That's why we bring you these 10 practical tips from managers of different kinds of events. We hope that you will find the best one for your attendees!
Some kind of performance at the beginning of the event can be a great kickstarter. The first impression is important and you won't get a second chance to start the event. You can choose the topic of the exhibition according to the type of your audience. For example, Šárka Štrossová from WebExpo prepared a very energizing 4-minute drummers performance in the morning, which woke up the whole audience and gave them the needed energy for the whole day. Imagination has no limits! 😊
This icebreaker helps to kick off the interaction. Firstly, you have to create a 4x4 bingo grid. Each square should represent personal or career-related statements (for example “is married”, “has a dog”, “loves pizza”, “is an entrepreneur”, etc.). Then spread the grids among the attendees and ask them to interview each other and write down the names of people who match the description. Whoever matches a different person for each square (16 people in total) first wins.
This is a great way to connect the attendees and encourage them to get to know each other. Felix Zeltner from Work Awesome Group LLC told us about his approach. He invited a famous writer of a best-selling book - The Art of Gathering to his conference. She asked the attendees to form a big circle. Then she walked around the circle asking questions. Based on the peoples' answers she grouped them to form smaller circles. Afterward, she encouraged the attendees to interact, ask questions and share their stories. It became a living organism. Basically, they created an amazing environment where people could connect and get inspired.
A nice opening could be an intro video. However, you have to think of how you want to make your attendees feel with the video. Think carefully about the message you want to share with them. Who is your audience? Why are they here? What are they interested in? In general, videos that tell stories work best, but it needs to be something that really attracts the attention of the whole audience. Use powerful music and try to somehow involve them in the story. Try to make them feel like they are a part of the video. And most importantly - remember to align the goal of the video with the goal of your event.
Warm Up Activity
This could be a great solution for those events which start early in the morning. Choose a volunteer from your team and prepare some basic moves to warm up your attendees. It should be something easy and fun, you can also play music or video in the background while exercising. It doesn't need to be long - 3 minutes are enough to wake up even the most sleepy person!
People just love when you make them laugh. So what if you make them laugh from the very beginning? Veronika Čechová from Masaryk University Career Centre suggests having an entertaining moderator. You can tell him to prepare some fun facts about the topic of the event or about himself. Jokes are amazing icebreakers and they easily draw the full attention of the audience. However, you should try to avoid controversial topics. You never know the sense of humor of the whole audience. 🙃
Live Polling can ensure that you get the attention of larger audiences. Prepare the questions and possible options in advance and let the attendees vote on their phones. You can choose whatever topic sounds interesting to you, for example, Where are you from? What do you want to achieve? How energized do they feel? and so on.
Good news: We are working on a live polling feature for our beautiful mobile app Eventee. Stay tuned! 🚀
Give the attendees 2 minutes for a one-on-one chat and suggest the topics. It could be anything interesting, like “As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?” or just letting them introduce themselves to one another. When the time is up, ask them to move on to the next person.
This activity is more about self-awareness than about meeting other people. It is really important for the attendees to have a clear goal about what they would like to achieve at the end of the event. Encourage them to take a pen and paper. Give them a space to think about why they came and what do they want to achieve. Ask them to write down their goals and expectations. As soon as they have this written down, ask them to keep the paper in their pocket. During the event, remind them a few times to take the paper out, read through the goals, and evaluate whether they are doing everything they can in order to achieve them.
Encourage the attendees to form pairs. Give them a few minutes to get as much information as they could about each other like their background, career, hobbies, etc. Afterward, make an introduction round and let them introduce the other person and share everything they managed to remember in that short period of time.
Remember - the first impression is really important. Choose the best icebreaker for your audience and kick off the event on the right foot! 🚀