Many small group leaders have backed away from doing ice-breakers. As you understood after reading yesterday’s seven reasons for doing ice-breakers, these moments are important if you want to have a transformational conversation.
There are seven audacious practices of those who use ice-breakers effectively that may be helpful.
- When asking an ice-breaker question, keep your tone light.
- Use questions that anyone can answer easily and none that demand a response that leads the group into deep or dark places.
- Be an active listener when each person is responding to the ice-breaker question.
- After each person responds affirm them for speaking. This will help get them involved in the deeper discussion to come. Phrases like, “Thanks for sharing, I’m really looking forward to your input in a few minutes.” or “I always appreciate your responses to any of the questions we discuss. I’m especially looking forward to your comments in a few minutes.” etc…
- When it’s appropriate, be the first to laugh. When you laugh others will join you in it. Laughter throws the heart open more quickly than almost anything else.
- Don’t allow group members to ask follow-up questions of one another. This will hijack your evening.
- Keep people’s responses as short as possible and be certain the overly-talkative group member (or anyone else) doesn’t get into telling a long story. You can keep this from happening by asking the question then saying something like, “Let’s each take about 30 seconds.”