I often get asked for icebreaker ideas.
I’m not a fan of these normally. They are too contrived. You can lose people early, rather than get their juices flowing. And there is the wholly misplaced genre of being asked to reveal something about yourself. Which I feel should be banished from meetings forever.
Yet mini-creative tasks at the outset can work well as an alternative opener. Specifically when they reinforce a theme and tee-up the output aimed for.
Typically, these are for initial meeting ‘warm-ups’. Like an athlete doing their stretches before the whistle peeps, gun bangs or match kicks off.
I blog on this today having recently facilitated one fruitful 45-minute session, the start of which outlined one such category of intro options.
The task format was taken from memes of the interweb, usually asking netizens for remixes of film or album titles.
The team were presented with a substantial list of HQ created marketing straplines. (With the odd leftfield external surprise hidden within.)
Then simply asked to change one word.
In this case the purpose was to see if any more tailored, evocative or different choices might perhaps be useful conversationally with prospects.
They weren’t restricted to ‘change’ either. The internet meme from where this is derived allows for add one word as well. There’s also the – more tricky from a business perspective – change one letter option. Note that online these deliberately seek to parody pop culture to ‘ruin’ a name.
Then for a touch of levity, there’s the swap one word. In cyber-humour, this word is often stipulated as such as bacon or bananas. Yet you can happily provide your preferred alternative.
What’s pleasant about a rapid-fire string of these, is that some can be verbal, others written. A switch-up that keeps proceedings fresh. Especially relevant over video or hybrid meetings.
In my ‘live’ case above, what unfolded were productive discussions on fresh ways to frame a recently launched product. All concerned indeed happy to have spent the worthwhile three-quarters of an hour.
As you’ll probably have already realised, the applications for this technique can be wide ranging. How might you use it in your field?