Ice Breakers for Presentation Openings: from Anecdote to Game
Ice breakers for presentation openings may be just the ticket to get your
presentation off to a good start. Well chosen ice breakers can break down
barriers between audience participants and quickly engage them in the
presentation. But presentation ice breakers may not be for everyone, or every
presentation. So how do you decide what's best for you and your audience.
As always, you must start by doing some audience
- How much time do you have
- What is the size of the group
- What is their current knowledge of the subject.
Before looking at what works best for different groups, one word of warning:
When considering ice breakers for presentation openings dont start with a joke.
If you do, chances are it will go down like a lead balloon, leaving you feeling
even more nervous and loosing you a lot of credibility. Leave joke telling to
the professions; even they get it wrong a lot of the time.
How much time do you have?
Most ice breakers for presentation openings work best if the group is to be
together over a longish period, perhaps even over several days. Examples are
workshops, seminars and in an educational or training environment.
Why I am here?
A simple yet effective presentation ice breaker is simply to ask them to
introduce themselves. This works best in smaller groups up to a maximum of about
15 people or so. Again, workshops and educational groups come to mind. Start by
introducing yourself. This could even be a short yet relevant anecdote. Make it
personal: tell them something about your background, what you're currently
working on, how you came to be involved in the presentation subject, etc. It can
even be funny (I hope I haven't contradicted myself! I differentiate between
amusing personal anecdotes, which are OK if kept to a minimum, and a joke.) You
could then ask you audience to introduce themselves and say something about
where the come from, hobbies and so on. Try to find some common elements within
the group, such as hobbies or special interests.
If it's a larger group, you can split them into smaller groups of say five or
six people and give them ten minutes to introduce themselves to their sub-group.
Each group can appoint a spokesperson to give a summary of who is in the group
and what they have in common.
Did you know...?
One of the best ice breakers for presentation openings I have seen is to start
with a relatively easy yet relevant game quiz. This works particularly well if
your audience already know a little about the subject you will be discussing. I
was at an excellent presentation recently where the presenter had created a
Jeopardy-type interactive quiz in PowerPoint. He made it into a game where
people shouted out the answers. But if you do this, don't put individuals on the
spot, remember you're trying to break the ice not freeze people out. One nice
thing about this presentation ice breaker is that you can throw in a few
thought-provoking questions or amazing facts to grab your audience's attention
and lead you into the presentation.
Ice breakers for presentation openings can be a great technique to put you
audience, and yourself, at ease and lead you skillfully into the presentation.
So if you give presentations to, for example, training workshops or groups of
people who don't know each other, or if you just want some fun, go on, give them
Effective Verbal Communication from
Ice breakers for presentation
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