It’s time for another meeting or training, you can’t escape them, they are needed to build your team and connect! If you are doing virtual meetings, yes it’s time to make sure the camera is right, you don’t have something embarrassing going on behind you, and you are ready to hit unmute or the share button. If you are in person, make sure you grab the right seat, something to take notes with, and get ready to actively pay attention. In this post, I will share some tips and ideas for you to start the staff meeting or training off on the right foot. This is important because you want to capture their attention first, and make it fun or inspiring if you can. You can’t tackle the meeting agenda or training topic by rushing straight into it. I will admit in some cases, you will need to skip this if you are holding an emergency meeting, or something really quick to address your team. It is very important to know your audience, time frame of your meeting, and delegate. Your audience is important because it could be small, large, younger, or older. Each has their dynamics and can impact the timing of your ice breaker. One thing I have learned in leadership is to value time of your people. Start on time and end on time. If you are going to end a little bit later, ask the group if you can have 5 more minutes and stick to the 5 more minutes. It is important to make sure the ice breaker isn’t more than 5-10 minutes no matter how good it is going. Delegating to your team is huge. No one wants to hear you do the ice breaker every time. You will see the ideas I will give you, it will give creative space to your teammates. Now, lets get started with some ideas to help you break the ice!
- Quotes or TFTD (Thought For The Day) – We all love a good quote to inspire, make us think/reflect, or just laugh. After you read or show the quote or TFTD, ask your team to say what that means to them. Will spark some good convo early and hopefully prepare the group to participate when you start attacking the agenda or training. Here are some favorite quotes/TFTD’s I have seen lately. “Stop being jealous of people in their winning season. You don’t know what they lost in their losing season.” “If it doesn’t open, it probably isn’t your door.” “I have a lot to accomplish. I don’t have anything to prove. Subtle difference there. -Stephen Curry” “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. – Truman Capote” “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills. – Simon Sinek” I have tons of quotes in the Leadership Tools section on my website for you to steal and use.
2. Retro/Throwback Question – It is fun to reflect back on when we were young, in college, etc…Ask the group a question that makes them reflect or can find a common interest that you may have never known. If you have a large group virtually, these are easy to drop in the chat as you are waiting for people to arrive or drop in the chat after you ask the question and pick a few folks to unmute. You can also use break out rooms to divide up the people. Plan ahead and have hosts selected before you start the meeting. Here are a few that I have used or stolen from meetings lately…
- Favorite Concert You Have Attended? First Concert You Have Ever Attended?
- Your First Job?
- Without revealing your age, say something that a young person wouldn’t understand?
- First Movie?
- Favorite Birthday?
- Best Gift You Ever Received When You Were A Child?
- Show Us Your Age By Telling Us A Restaurant You Loved Going To But Is No Longer Around?
3. Short Video Clip – Share a movie or leadership video for your audience to watch. Keep it brief of course, but just like a quote/TFTD you can inspire and ask questions from this. It is also a way to connect with a fun visual. As a participant of a meeting, I love when I have something to watch every once in a while. It gets old being talked at. I also learn and retain information more when there is variety of content. Some examples of video clips can be TED talks, a favorite movie that has a good lesson, or even something funny like a Jimmy Fallon skit. One of my favorite movie clips are from “On The Road with Steve Hartman” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJFlO9-poJ8. I have several examples in the Leadership Tools section on my website. you can steal/use.
4. Share A Book You Have Been Reading – Share a book and read a favorite section to your audience. Ask them a question around it like “What does this mean to you?” or “How does that make you feel?”. Depending on what you read, there are many questions that can pop up. Just general questions like “What is your biggest personal or professional since the pandemic started?”. Other general questions like…
- If you could have Lunch with anyone, who would you eat with?
- What is your favorite hobby or what do you do to just get away from everything?
- Knowing your audience…What is your biggest fear or what was a fear when you were growing up?
- Your Dream Job – If you could do anything, money doesn’t matter?
- What is your favorite book?
My favorite book right now is “Green Lights” by Matthew McConaughey.
5.Mini Bar Trivia – Find some fun trivia questions and see who can score the highest. If you have a big audience, break them up into teams. People love to compete. If there is something going on during the week or month, utilize that theme. St. Patrick’s Day, find some fun things online or National Hot Dog Day, ask them some fun questions around that food. By the way, everyday is a National Day, so you will have tons of options. If you are meeting in person, great game for them to write down answers on paper and polish skills on listening and working together. I also love post it paper, and putting it on the wall where people can run to it and write ideas. One of my favorite trivia contests is to list out the alphabet and they have to write down a movie or TV show that starts with that letter. If you are meeting virtually, they also can scribe on a piece of paper and show to camera to just mix it up.
These are a few of my favorites I wanted to share with you. The goal is to connect with your audience. Fun is key. So don’t forget to dress up every once in a while and be silly. We all need to laugh or smile sometimes. Thanks for stopping by and remember to visit my website for more fun ideas to make your program or staff 1 percent better.