We hosted a scholarship event last weekend, and, as always, I was in charge of facilitating the icebreakers.

I know a lot of icebreakers.  I have been facilitating them for literally 30+ years and am very comfortable in doing so.  

I make it look easy because I have had so much practice, but in reality I put thought into which ones I do at which event.  Low risk, non-threatening questions to start.  Sharing of more information in settings where the participants will see each other again.  Involvement of the parents as well as the students when the occasion warrants.  Higher risk sharing when I want teams to form.  Silly whistles or tambourines to signal a transition instead of shouting for the group to stop.  Intentional topics depending on the event.

In the big scheme of the program, icebreakers may be considered insignificant, but doing them right can often set the tone for the whole day.  

Don’t overlook the importance creating energy in the beginning.  People may roll their eyes at you and say that they hate doing them, but if done well, the effect of icebreakers will impact the entire experience in a positive way.

— beth triplett


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