Formerly a Rice University professor and now a consultant to businesses who want to improve company culture, Villado says icebreakers accomplish three things:
- They calm nerves by asking people to speak when the content of that speech is not high stakes.
- They set the tone for an interactive session.
- They encourage people to talk about themselves.
Susan Mohammed, a professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Penn State, says that the key to getting something out of an icebreaker is managing your expectations. We agree that icebreakers are just a start to creating a climate that encourages comfortable interaction. Building genuine trust requires time, shared experiences, and ongoing communication.
We want to hear: What’s your favorite group icebreaker? How does it work and why do you think it is so successful? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion