Standing in front of a room full of strangers can be quite intimidating. It’s no wonder most Public Speakers try to start off with a little ice breaker. Although I am a fan of icebreakers I personally tend to stay away from using a joke to warm up my audience.
At the very least you won’t get a laugh (and that’ll leave you feeling horrible, trust me it’s happened to me) or at the very worst you’ll offend someone or come off looking like an incompetent fool if the joke is at your own expense.
But don’t fret, icebreakers are great when used correctly. Below are some of my favorite ways to get the ball rolling and starting down the road to connecting with my audience members.
5 Public Speaking Ice Breakers to use at your next presentation
While this may not seem like an icebreaker in reality it is. Getting introduced helps alleviate those inhibitions you may have. The person introducing you is basically doing the ice breaking for you by informing your audience what you’re all about. When you step on stage it’s as if they already know you. This makes it that much easier to do your thing and shine!
Share some news…
I’m not talking about your child making the game-winning hit in little league, I’m talking about something that has recently been reported in the news be it big or small (try to stay away from political issues, that never ends well).
It’d be best if the story you used had some type of relevance with your presentation topic. By starting your presentation in this manner you are guaranteed to spark people’s interest. After all we are a society that likes to be in the know of things.
The good old raise your hand technique…
You’re doing many things here, you’re engaging your audience while at the same time creating group involvement and connectivity. You’re bringing the group together. How do you do it?
First, ask a question that will get you a hefty amount of raised hands. You want your audience to feel as if they are part of a family. Also, remember to keep your question positive! You don’t want to ask a question which makes people feel bad for answering. Example: “How many of you are in serious debt and have no way out?” That’s not a good way to start your presentation off!
Get them hooked by starting a story and not finishing it…
Just like sharing some news, this technique gets people’s interest sparked. Start off by sharing a story but make sure to leave the conclusion out. This will guarantee that your audience will keep listening as you present. Keep them hooked by stating “I’ll get back to that later” when you’re about to reach the climax of your story.
Ask your audience to do a task…
It may be a simple “greet the person to your left and right.” Or one of my personal favorites…”What do you hope to get out of this presentation?”
By doing these small tasks you are once again creating a lighter atmosphere where people will be more open to sharing their thoughts with one another.
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