Public Speaking: 7 Ice Breakers That Actually Work

One popular activity in public speaking is ice breakers. This activity is created to build up the audience and break the ice to prepare them for what you have to say. However, there are many icebreakers that work great while others are downright awkward.

Here are 7 icebreakers that actually work.

Make Jokes at Yourself

While we don’t condone that you make generalized jokes, be sure not to make jokes that might offend the audience or the company. Making jokes at yourself will work well to point at yourself can get others to laugh along. While some jokes can be corny, catching the audience off guard works to break the ice.

Start With Interactive Questions

Before you get started on your speech, you might want to answer a few questions for the audience. You can engage them with light raising the hand questions like “Raise your hands if you want to make a million dollars this year!”

Don’t ask negative questions as this will create a negative environment. This will only make people feel worse about themselves. Instead, raise your hand questions will get the people engaged and involved with the speaker.

Start a Story With a Cliffhanger

Start by saying “I just want to tell a story that is important for today’s speech.” Or you can simply start your story, leaving the conclusion until the end. This will draw your audience in and keep them engaged to find out what happened in the story.

Have an Introduction

While this isn’t exactly classified as an icebreaker, having someone introduce you and talk up your reputation will have the audience warm up to you before you even get on stage. The audience will anticipate your coming and won’t need much of an icebreaker to get you started.

Break the News

Before you get started on your speech, go ahead and mention some topic-related news about an interesting article or person you read about. As a modern culture, we are included to know what is happening and what to hear it first. This is a great way to get the audience engaged and alert.

Ask the Listeners to Complete a Challenge

Get the audience to talk to the person next to them and welcome each other. Or tell them to give their neighbors a handshake or high five. Asking the audience to complete this small talk will engage them not only with you as the speaker but the others around them.

Begin With an Interesting Quote

I got this tactic from one of my friends that is a personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, Texas. His name is Chris and is a partner at the firm Hutchison & Stoy, he does a lot speaking on personal injury best practices around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He told me that he always tries to get his audience thinking or laughing with a quote.

This works especially well if it is very specific to your topic. You can keep it simple or make it humorous for the audience. Just be sure to keep it related to what you’re about to talk about.

Got any icebreakers you would like to share with us? Comment below and share your tips with us!

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