Brrrr, Icebreakers That Work

by Conference Call Admin on January 21, 2011

So you’ve got a meeting via conference call scheduled, and some or all of the participants are going to be perfect strangers. How on earth are you going to get them all excited, talking and get the creative juices flowing? An icebreaker of course.

Icebreakers can be an effective way to start a meeting or a training session. They are extremely useful when the members of the training aren’t familiar with each other. Ice breakers ease the tension at the beginning of the training, putting all of the participants at ease with one another. No one will feel that they are doing all of the talking and no one will feel left out. This is great for shy individuals, who normally don’t speak up and great for the gregarious individuals who can talk your ear off. Just as in face-to-face meetings, icebreakers can be used in conference call meetings as well. As the facilitator, you will have to get creative, but having great icebreakers will set the mood for your entire teleconference training session.

So what can you do to break the ice when you are leading a conference call? We offer a few tips here below, but you can also just use your imagination.

  • Share a Fact. Have each person on the call give one rare fact about their self. You will be amazed at the answers you receive.
  • Do you have a burning desire? Ask your participants if they have a “burning desire” question in regards to the training they are about to have. You don’t have to answer all of the questions during that point of the call, but these questions will provide excellent information for the Q&A session. You can also address these questions in a follow-up call, email or newsletter that will be sent to the participants.
  • Where in the world are you? Using geography questions as an icebreaker are fun for everyone. You can have every participant state their hometown and one interesting fact about the location. You could also ask if they could go on a vacation anywhere in the world, where would they like to travel?
  • If I had a magic wand? Ask your participants to finish the question. If they had a magic wand what one wish would they ask for?
  • If you were marooned on an island what one thing would you take with you? This is a great question to see what your participant’s value.

Spending a few minutes at the beginning of your call, using an icebreaker, is a great way to foster a sense of community among your callers. When your staff feels that they are a part of a community, with common goals and desires, they will work as a team. With your staff working as a team, the sky is the limit.

It is important to end your call on a positive note as well. You want the feedback from your attendees in order to evaluate your call. Consider asking your attendees to express one positive thing they took away from the call. You can create a list of these answers and share them with your staff. Solidifying your staff as a strong unit is your goal, using icebreakers when you are having a training call where no one really knows anyone else will begin this process.

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