10 ice breakers for your next meeting: sure to get everyone more relaxed!

Every meeting needs a warm-up. To break the ice more quickly at your next business event, we have compiled 10 tips for you.

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At business events, the focus is often on networking first and foremost. Making or intensifying relationships with contacts, meeting new people, or building trust – your participants will judge the success of a meeting on which and how many contacts they take away from an event.

As an event organiser, it’s important to consider how to get your guests engaging one another in relaxed conversation. Networking should not be left to chance.

With the help of these 10 tips, your guests will quickly establish connections between one another.

 

Ice breaker questions

Are you more of a night owl or an early bird? What is your favourite film, your favourite band, your favourite musician? Which sports do you play / have you played? If there was a song that reflected your personal or professional motto, which song would it be? These questions will allow your participants to introduce themselves to one another in groups of 3-5. This is how you will directly establish the first connections with questions that everybody has something to say on.

 

I am probably the only person in the room who…

While this question is a little more demanding, it does often throw up the most interesting stories. You’d hardly believe the things that some people do or have done. And what’s more: we are much better at retaining stories than names or job titles.

 

Interviewing other participants

Those who’d like an icebreaker somewhat connected to the theme of the event can try out the following exercise: prepare 5-10 different questions on the theme of the conference on slips of paper, then place these in a pile with the text face-down. The participants should take a slip of paper and try to ask as many other attendees about this topic, noting down their answers, in 15 minutes. Once the time is up, those with the same questions can gather around a flipchart and discuss the answers they received. This works particularly well with large groups.

 

Fishbowl discussion

Using the interactive fishbowl format, 5-6 people engage in a discussion while sitting in the middle of the room on chairs arranged in a circle. One chair always remains free. Any member of the audience is free to take a seat in the circle and to take part in the discussion, ask a question, or pass comment. To do so, someone else needs to get up, so that one chair always remains free. As a result, the discussion group is constantly being shaken up. This format also brings many different stimuli to a meeting and allows every participant an opportunity to personally get involved .

Fishbowl discussion

Snowball fight

At the end of a meeting, ask your participants to write down their most important lesson on a piece of paper. They should then crumple their piece of paper into a ball and throw it to another person. This should be repeated 2-3 times. Then participants should gather in small groups of 2-3 people, take a snowball and discuss the learnings together. This often gives rise to interesting discussions about what people will be taking from the event, both on a personal level and in other regards too.

 

Graphic recording   

We have already spoken recently about the advantages of graphic recordings. One of the most important aspects is that graphic recording brings people together in relaxed conversation.

 

Smartphone surveys

Begin your meeting with a survey that can be answered on a smartphone. Display the results of the survey on the screen in real time and give the participants time to discuss them. Effective questions include ones about particular knowledge, proponents of certain theories in your industry, or other preferences. Anything that generates conversation enlivens the discussion – it could even be something provocative. Slido, Glisser, Engagenow, PowerVote or eventScribe can be used as tools.

 

Software-supported matchmaking

With software supported matchmaking, connections can be made even before an event has begun. Software from firms like Converve or XING’s “Interesting Participants” function will analyse the interests and backgrounds of attendees and suggest contacts worth them getting to know at an event. This functions astonishingly well and means your attendees will go into the meeting having already established new contacts.

 

Marshmallow challenge

20 (uncooked) strands of spaghetti, one marshmallow, a metre of string and a metre of sticky tape – split your participants up into groups of 5-6 people and ask them to build a tower using these items. The group that builds the highest, free-standing tower wins. The game encourages creativity and cooperation – and it’s really not that easy!

Speed dating

A classic, but one that you can put a special twist on. Ask your participants to find as many things in common as they can in 3-minute conversations in pairs. Once the three minutes is up, ask them to form new pairs. The principle always works well and ensures that every participant goes home with a stack of business cards.

 

Conclusion

Don’t leave networking at your event to chance. With these 10 ideas, you can be certain that your attendees will network among one another and leave the event satisfied.

AND looking forward to an event or meeting in Salzburg? - WE will be happy to advise you.