How to Run Icebreakers Successfully
Facilitator Tips Episode 04

The 5 Essential Ingredients of an Icebreaker


This week’s Facilitator Tips episode shares the five essential attributes of how to break the ice successfully, and why so many ice-breaker activities fail.


<< Go to Episode 3   Go to Episode 5 >>


In my experience, most program providers have a poor understanding of what an icebreaker actually is. More often than not, their ice-breakers turn out to be ice-makers!

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Video Transcript


Hi and welcome to Episode 4 of the Facilitator Tips video series.

My name is Mark Collard. I’m an experiential trainer and an author and the founder of www.playmeo.com, and today I want to talk to you about how to break the ice.

Now we’ve all heard the term, we’ve all been a participant of icebreakers, and often what actually gets done doesn’t necessarily break the ice. Icebreakers sometimes are actually ice-makers. So I want to share with you what I have discovered in all of my years’ experience working with tens of thousands of people over the last thirty years that has worked really well for any experience to break the ice.

And look, it should be no surprise that the first piece is it has to be fun. It’s got to fun for everybody, not necessarily a ha-ha-ha laughing fun but it’s just got to feel like it nourishes the soul. So a good icebreaker will always be fun.

It will also be non-threatening. We all know that standing up in front of a group of people particularly that we don’t know saying who we are, where we’re from, and how bored we are is like public speaking and that threatens us. So a good icebreaker will not be threatening.

It’s got to be highly interactive. This is the basis in which people connect with each other. They build trust and then, of course, strengthen relationships. If there’s no sharing, if there’s no interaction, then you’re not breaking the ice. So it’s got to be highly interactive.

The last two, it’s got to be simple. If you’ve spent too long describing what’s going to happen then you’re going to lose people, lose a lot of momentum. And then finally it’s got to be success-oriented. You could even have a competition and that’s okay so long as the emphasis is looking at the success of maybe building energy or just simply having fun.

So these are the ingredients that make an icebreaker work effectively to break the ice.

And that’s it.

Now for more information please go check out my show notes and if you’ve got some ideas please add a comment. And know that every episode that we produce we give away a free subscription to playmeo’s activity database.

In the meantime thanks for watching, and have fun.


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