There are two types of public speaking icebreakers. One is used to build rapport between the speaker and a large audience. The other is to warm up a group with each other.
This is the same thing as when a headliner band has a lesser band warm up the audience for them at a concert. The difference is that unlike entertainers who use music to move the audience, public speakers use words and thoughts.
The more the audience interact, either with the speaker or each other, the more relaxed, receptive and ready to listen.
How To: Public Speaking Icebreakers
An ice breaker ship breaks the ice the ship can pass through the otherwise impassable ice. The same is true of an audience. The focus has to be on the audience and breaking up what ever would prevent your message from being received.
To effectively break the ice requires involving the audience. This is true of a workshop with 20 people or a lecture to a thousand. The more participation from the audience the more attention we will get for our public speaking.
Best Case Scenario
Get them involved when they enter the room. If you ever noticed a room full of colleagues at a seminar they will always be talking with each other. What do they talk about? What ever is on their mind. Put something fun, interesting and relevant on their minds to open their thinking about the seminar.
Make it fun and not like the pop quizzed we took in school. Fun puzzles and pictures work best.
If the audience has been sitting for a while, get them involved. To stimulate them both mentally and physically, ask a question that will allow them to raise their hand to answer. Ask, "How many here have...Can we have a show of hands..."
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