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Break the Ice

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Whether it’s your first day on the job or you’re at a networking event with a new group of people or even at an all hands meeting for the first time, you’ll likely be given two minutes to introduce yourself. For some professionals, you may have already perfected your elevator speech (or maybe you’re secretly wishing you could mix it up) and to others, those two minutes feel like two hours. In school, teachers often came up with icebreakers as a way for students to make introductions and mingle. As someone that’s managed employee orientations, I’ve found myself observing a room with blank stares, listening to 20 elevator speeches and thinking to myself “How can I make this more enjoyable for everyone next time?”

In this role, I recall a time where I was invited to the West Coast office and had to attend an orientation. On top of the agenda were “Introductions” and I thought to myself “Piece of cake. Same thing as always.” The facilitator, a top executive, introduced himself, gave a brief overview of his position and then started talking about his pets. His pets! I love pets. I too, have a pet! Then, he started talking about his family, the kind of music he liked and his love for baseball. Again, having facilitated the orientations on the East Coast office, you could imagine my surprise at his casual approach to this meeting. Something so minimal completely changed the dynamic of the room. Not only did it create such a lively, engaging atmosphere as we went around the room but I discovered that I had so much in common with my colleagues and was able to connect with them on a personal level.

With the integration of web and popular culture, brands are beginning to adopt the mentality of showing more personality more and more. This creates a gateway between brands and their customers to engage and also gives companies a chance to reinforce that although business is a priority, they are human and are relatable. Likewise, when meeting facilitators can find creative, non-traditional ways to break the ice while still weaving in the company culture, it allows for a more interactive session. Attendees not only leave with valuable takeaways but leave energized, having thoroughly enjoyed themselves and looking forward to the next meeting.

In what ways are you making your meetings memorable? Leave us a comment below!

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