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July 2, 2010 / marden928

Icebreaking approach

As we all know, not all presentations are given to large audiences.  Some are given in intimate settings where the presenter really hopes to join a group for one purpose or another.  And of course one of the best ways to get that ball rolling is through and ice breaker!

Some of you may be wondering:  What the *&%^$% is an ice breaker?  It’s a small exercise that is intended to get a group speaking to each other.  Typically ice breakers take the form of a question that asks the participants to reveal something about themselves.  Very frequently these questions are related to the task at hand, or something about the group in general.  More advanced ice breakers may involve some sort of action (i.e. raise your hand if you agree with a,b, or c, the telephone game, etc).  But in general, most ice breakers have a slant where participants are encouraged to be positive and productive.  Conventional wisdom dictates that if you want people to be positive, you should start positive.

So, who likes following conventional wisdom all the time?  Well, certainly not the woman that I met with yesterday who works with MonacoLange.   They are a branding boutique that conducts therapetic initial information sessions with clients calledd ML120s.  By nature, these sessions can be very positive as potential clients bear their branding souls – quite uplifting for many clients!  So, you’d think, obviously they start off with positive questions, yeah?  Wrong.

Their thinking is that these sessions are so positive by nature that it is better to focus more on breaking down bad attitudes and alleviating pressure to sound brilliant.  So, they find ice breaking questions that one can’t possibly get wrong and focus on the negative.  They also break the typical mold of going around in a circle with asking everyone to write their answers on note cards, that the facilitator then reads off.

So, what sort of questions do they ask?  “What’s the most disgusting ice cream flavor you can think of?”  (her’s was yeast infection swirl – and was right that their day’s content can only go up from there)  “What would you use to stop up BP’s oil spill?  (can’t get any more absurd than human hair and golf balls)

So dear readers, what absurd questions would you ask?

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