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Web Conference Top 4 Meeting Icebreakers

May 1, 2008
Nothing's worse than a stuffy meeting, except maybe a meeting where everyone's afraid to participate. We all know a quick icebreaker can kick things up a notch, but sometimes we forget to include online meetings.

Being in an online meeting is intimidating for many people. They don't know the web conference technology, are unsure how to break in and comment politely, and don't have nonverbal cues to tell them how comments are received.

If you're running an online meeting you'll want at least one of these icebreaker tips:

1. At least get an introduction

Most online meetings at least ask for a roll call. Take it a step further, especially if the group doesn't know each other, and ask for their title and why they joined the meeting. I also like to help participants personalize -- a commonly-used icebreaker is to have everyone something about themselves we may not know. Personalizing may not be right for more formal meetings. It's great when a group of people are meeting for the first time and will be working together for a while.

2. Why are we here?

Using a lead-in related to the meeting's subject lays the groundwork for the meeting. I like to ask what people most hoped to get out of the meeting. Depending on the meeting, it might be better to ask what question they most want to answer, what problem they need to solve, etc.

3. Visuals rule

If you use a visual icebreaker attendees will get a chance to make sure their web conference client software works right. Have a visual puzzle? Display it. Not much for pictures? Try putting a few movie quotes on a powerpoint slide and asking where they came from. Or a riddle. Or a sentence completion puzzle.

4. Survey says!

Surveys let attendes participate semi-anonymously. The shyer folks may be more willing to join in and get comfortable. Try one if your software supports group surveys.

Don't be afraid to try an icebreaker or two in your next online meeting. You'll be pleased with the results.
About the Author
Tyler Vaughn ran virtual meetings and web conferences working for a Fortune 100 technology firm. Read more about getting web web conference free trials at his virtual meeting review website
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