Expert Guide to Managing Online Meetings

(Joanna Rotary) #1

Introductory exercises: ‘icebreakers’


When do you need these?
Less so for regular small meetings with people who work together
It shows you value your team if you check in with everybody before or
as you start. It helps include some variety in the meeting approach.

For people who don’t know each other, don’t often meet, are taking
part for the first time, and will need to interact together.
The introductory exercise you choose will set the tone and style of the
meeting. It is an investment in the group process. It needs to be
appropriate to the meeting objectives and not take too long.

Why do you need these?


  • They get everyone speaking, overcome any shyness

  • Make people feel they matter

  • Emphasise similarities between participants to form the group

  • Minimise power differences for a level playing field

  • Set the mood / set expectations

  • Give the leader essential information about participants


As a leader, its distracting to be having to manage the group
relationships when you need to get a task done. Think of the way you
start a group or session as an investment in setting up positive
dynamics. Because whatever dynamics and processes you set up at the
start become baked into the group as it develops.

Later, norms of interaction
become set, so form them as
the most useful ones

At the start, group
processes and norms are
fluid and can be shaped

Some people dislike
‘icebreakers’ because
they have been used
badly in the past.


Choose something
quick, easy and
relevant to the
meeting, and call it an
‘introduction’.

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