“Hey Noah, what’s your ‘go-to’ icebreaker at a business mixer (person-to-person or medium group – 20 people)?”
I don’t do a whole lot of ice breakers, but I’ve participated in many of them and I certainly have a favorite. My friend, Judson Laipply, once led a session at a National Speakers Association conference and began with what he calls, “Scarry Stories.” Note it’s SCARry, not scary. Meaning it’s about the scars on your body.
Basically, you find a partner and share any funny or personal stories about scars you have. If you can show them (if they’re in appropriate areas), you show them. If it’s a small group (less than ten or so), you can just go around in a circle.
I know it sounds silly. But, it’s surprisingly powerful.
During Judson’s session at NSA, we laughed, we cried, and we connected with each other quickly. Within 30 seconds of meeting someone, I heard about his struggle with (and comeback from!) cancer. I told him about the time I almost died as a child and about the small scars on my face from when my little brothers picked off my chicken pox. We became fast friends. How could we not?