🧊 Let's Talk Icebreakers (or Melters) Miro Heroes!

  • 12 March 2022
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🧊 Recently one of my fellow facilitators (Jan Keck) flipped the script on Icebreakers and started to call them Ice Melters! He even help an event about this which I was so sad to miss. I started thinking more about how calling these Ice Melters just made so much sense! 🧊

So now let’s talk about those warm ups, those opening moments, those icebreakers, or those ice melters… whatever you call it. 

🤔 Do you use Ice Melters in your workshops? 

❓If so, talk to us about what you use. Don’t just tell us the activity, tell us WHY you use this, what does it do for the participants. 

💡 As you read other’s comments… tell us what you want to learn about Ice melters, how to know when to use them and how, even how to build the experience in Miro!

👀 ​​​@Jonathan White and I are watching this thread and would love to bring some of the thoughts to life in future Designing Experiences in Miro events!

 

Let’s hear those ideas!! 


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@Rachel Hehe, "ice melters" sounds nice.

As for using them in workshops, it depends. Most I've ever come across are too silly for my taste. I really like to sprinkle workshops/collaboration sessions with humor, but silliness in that particular context… Nah, call me boring but I just don't like it. 😄

One question I often use though – that might be considered a sort of icebreakermelter – is this one:

Do you prefer odd or even numbers?

It's even become tradition when new people are hired in my department to ask this particular question when they are introduced to the group during our weekly check-ins! It's quirky and unexpected, but not silly or pointless. And it's very interesting to hear why people choose one or the other! It always sparks some sort of semi-philosophical discussion. 😎

Personally, I LOVE odd numbers. I try to align everything in odd numbers: volume on the tv, pieces of fruit or other stuff you cut, pencils in a drawer, you name it. When I walk in stairs, I even skip the evenly numbered steps (counting 1,3,5,7,9 and repeating)! 😅🤓

I love them because I believe odd numbers provide true balance on some sort of abstract conceptual level; I consider triangles more balanced than squares, for instance. I think it's because there's no center in even numbers – and with no center, there can be no balance. At least in my quirky mind. 😊

What do you prefer?

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@Rachel Hehe, "ice melters" sounds nice.

As for using them in workshops, it depends. Most I've ever come across are too silly for my taste. I really like to sprinkle workshops/collaboration sessions with humor, but silliness in that particular context… Nah, call me boring but I just don't like it. 😄

One question I often use though – that might be considered a sort of icebreakermelter – is this one:

Do you prefer odd or even numbers?

It's even become tradition when new people are hired in my department to ask this particular question when they are introduced to the group during our weekly check-ins! It's quirky and unexpected, but not silly or pointless. And it's very interesting to hear why people choose one or the other! It always sparks some sort of semi-philosophical discussion. 😎

Personally, I LOVE odd numbers. I try to align everything in odd numbers: volume on the tv, pieces of fruit or other stuff you cut, pencils in a drawer, you name it. When I walk in stairs, I even skip the evenly numbered steps (counting 1,3,5,7,9 and repeating)! 😅🤓

I love them because I believe odd numbers provide true balance on some sort of abstract conceptual level; I consider triangles more balanced than squares, for instance. I think it's because there's no center in even numbers – and with no center, there can be no balance. At least in my quirky mind. 😊

What do you prefer?

 

Hi @Henrik Ståhl!

I will say I don’t math 😆 but my favorite and lucky number is 3! What’s that say about me? 

In terms of Ice Melters I challenge you to reframe them! That said, there’s not one school of thought alone here and every perspective is valid, I’m so glad you shared yours 😍

Think about them as “Opening Moments” to the overall experience of the session. How do you set the stage not only for you to introduce yourself to the participants but for the participants to warm up to each other (if they don’t already know each other), or warm up together (if they know each other better) So think about it, an Ice Melter doesn’t have to include silliness. Any sort of check in just like you’re talking about will do. 

Start with desired outcome - is the point of the Ice Melter to let’s say create alignment? Maybe it’s to get people ready to think creatively? Maybe it’s even to introduce people who haven’t yet met? there’s so many ways this could go! 

 

Then think about your audience, the participants, if a silly activity won’t go over well, go in another direction, it’s all about creating an experience that will resonate. 

@Jonathan White we should absolutely consider a Community Group event about ice melters!
 

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@Rachel Haha, you think I do math?? I'm TERRIBLE with math… 😅

Yeah I know what they are. 😉 What I mean is I rarely use "established" icemelterbreakers. Most often I just improvise.

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@Rachel -

I go with the standard Miro question-based ice breaker for my classes. I usually ask folks to share their favorite food and what drives them crazy. This ice breaker helps in a few ways:

  1. It ensures they are able to fill out stickies and navigate around the board
  2. Especially when we have folks from different companies, it is a good way to identify similar likes/dislikes
  3. The pet peeves question helps to seed the conversation about working agreements/ground rules

Kiron

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Cool topic @Rachel! My favorite ice melter 🥶 is the Emotions Wheel “Icebreaker” Miroverse template. I think it’s a terrific tool to set the tone in a meeting. Whether cursors are on or off, it tells participants that they can come to the session as they are. I like cursors off because it tells people they can own however they’re feeling in the moment while upholding personal boundaries and privacy in the ways that make them most comfortable. However, if you have a group with enough trust, cursors on reinforces that trust and allows people to really be themselves. 

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Hi all!

I really like this Miroverse mix-and-match template for creating your avatar during workshops.

Another miroverse template I like is creating a map of people’s locations, especially using stickers and images that they associate or like about their countries (like quokkas for Australia). You can find a template along with 9 more ideas here

as for more regular events, I like something brief like drawing an image of yourself on the board in 60 seconds and then telling everyone why you’re tired or happy or wearing this nice little hat

@Rachel Thank you for awaking this discussion on “ice melter’s” :) It made me revisit the intuitive routine of setting the ground for the relation to open. I do share the logic of looking for the reason of the opening - building the safety routine in by weekly meetings with my students we do co-create and opening moments and shift responsibility for them. But that is possible while the relationship is build up over time. While in ad hock workshop situation I find Priya Parker (The art of Gathering) logic of asking yourself why we are gathering useful. Look for “the meaningful reason for being there and now” and look for the way to make the transition from the “other world” into the realm of the “here and now” ore effective. Designing these transition moments seem to have its importance on the quality of the gathering. Balancing the powers, forming common ground, opening dialog on the purpose allowing participants to share what they come with if we gathered to share, listen, create, question, change… there are so many good reasons to meet 🙂 Fred Dust in “Making conversations” proposed 7 steps or essential components of the creative conversations: commitments, creative listening, clarity, context, constraints, change and creation. I believe designing purposeful ice-melters moment can help build a shared commitment of the group meeting here and now and allow to make sure the other steps are made by the whole group together leading to desired change / allowing the cocreation to happen. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and Miro resources!  Stay safe.

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Ice Melter is such a lovely reframe all in itself @Rachel:fire:

While I’m not a Facilitator professionally, I do lead a lot of team and x-functional meetings. I find that empowering team members to build, own and run the “ice melter” as part of the agenda is a great way to kick things off, distribute some of the “speaking power.” I’m always delighted with how much creativity team members bring to the ice melter! (far more than I could do myself), and I love participating in it. This sets the tone with the “opening moment” (love that phrase, too). I’m lucky enough to have @Ashley Jenkins as a colleague, and she’s built some great ones, the most recent was this one: https://miro.com/miroverse/team-mood-playlist-icebreaker/

 

Our challenge must be to find an ice melter that @Henrik Ståhl would use! I understand your feedback @Henrik Ståhl, sometimes with certain groups some of the ice melters may seem too silly -- but I love the idea of the odd/even numbered one. Simple, easy, gets people talking, brings people together. :dizzy: Maybe you can publish this as an ice-melter in Miroverse, specifically for those meetings that just need a brief opening moment but nothing too silly! 

 

A few of my favs: 

From an incredible facilitator @Shipra Kayan (and Mironeer!) https://miro.com/miroverse/love-bomb/

Design a Mug by Rita Quigley: https://miro.com/miroverse/design-a-mug-ice-breaker-warm-up-exercise/

Character Mix and Match by @Daniel Wirtz  & Facilitator School: https://miro.com/miroverse/character-mix-and-match-icebreaker/

 

 

@Rachel this is such a great topic, thanks for melting the ice for all of us in this group! Excited to hear some more viewpoints. 

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I love a good ‘ice melter.’ I truly believe that starting the meeting off with something fun and creative fosters a better meeting environment. I’ve had so many clients tell me at the end of workshops that they thought it would be boring and ended up really enjoying the session, and I think starting with an ice melter really helps with that.

Food is a big part of our company culture so we tend to gravitate towards the ice melters that have a food component in Miro (make a breakfast, select what you’d bring to a picnic, etc). We do a lot of recipe sharing as well at the beginning of meetings. We’ll sometimes tailor our ice melters to the client though - for example we recently kicked off a project with a music company and our ice melter was to name the first concert you ever went to. Some of the answers were hilarious!

 

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I use a variety of Ice Melters.

  1. For a typical workshop with cross-functional teams, I make use of Mr. Istvan Banyai’s Zoom Illustrations exercise.  You can google it and find the illustrations. 
    • How:  I place the illustrations in random order with one instruction, “  Put the illustrations in a sequence that makes sense.  You have 10 minutes.”
    • Why:  It forces people to lengage and ook at the illustrations from different perspectives.  You have to Zoom in and Zoom Out to make sense of the story.  It helps participants think outside of their silos.  During the duration of the how many hours or days of workshop, I will say, I need you to Zoom in or Zoom out

 

  1. Rebus Brainteasers
    • How: Have a sequence of rebus brainteasers hidden.  Unhide one by one (sky is the limit)  Who ever guesses it the fastest wins.
    • Why:  Good way to wake everyone up or have everyone’s brain going before you start a session
  1. Build a pet
    • How:  Using a variety of Miro shapes, I created different types of animals.  Dogs, Cats, Bears, Giraffe, Pig.  Then separate the shapes and have the team build their own pet.  Add hats, mustaches, ties, crowns, etc., to make it fun!
    • Why:  Get the creative juices going

 

I hope that helps!  Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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@Colleen Curtis Unsurprisingly, I love this challenge! 😄 And the winning prize is sort of obvious: the winning suggestion will be used as ice melter in the first Lean-Agile Evangelists event and the person suggesting it will be credited throughout the session! 💃

I really like the Zoom Illustrations exercise suggested by @Ethel 'E' Salter. And the Gif Challenge from Workshop and Meeting Energizers by @Maira (this week's TOTW!)

Will definitely think about creating an ice melter template with the odd/even numbers exercise. 😇

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Hi all!

I really like this Miroverse mix-and-match template for creating your avatar during workshops.

Another miroverse template I like is creating a map of people’s locations, especially using stickers and images that they associate or like about their countries (like quokkas for Australia). You can find a template along with 9 more ideas here

as for more regular events, I like something brief like drawing an image of yourself on the board in 60 seconds and then telling everyone why you’re tired or happy or wearing this nice little hat

 

@Vadim Bayandin I love that mix and match one too! I’ve actually added to it and used it in different ways to learn more about the participants after they build their character. Like for example choosing an icon for whether they are a ‘night owl’ or an ‘early bird’ 

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@Colleen Curtis I love the ‘Love Bomb’ ❤️ I used it to inspire one of my own ice breakers we used at a team huddle on Valentines Day! 

I’ve also done a variation of ‘Design a Mug!” so awesome that we key in on the same ones 😆 🔥

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Cool topic @Rachel! My favorite ice melter 🥶 is the Emotions Wheel “Icebreaker” Miroverse template. I think it’s a terrific tool to set the tone in a meeting. Whether cursors are on or off, it tells participants that they can come to the session as they are. I like cursors off because it tells people they can own however they’re feeling in the moment while upholding personal boundaries and privacy in the ways that make them most comfortable. However, if you have a group with enough trust, cursors on reinforces that trust and allows people to really be themselves. 

 

@Alexis Luscutoff I also love this one too! 😍 

How could we take it a bit further? Once we ask people how they are feeling what’s the next step? How will they lean into how they are feeling and come as they are? Could there be a thought provoking question after? Any ideas? 

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@Rachel @Alexis Luscutoff One way could be to combine it with a similar exercise. I'm thinking of the one where you place stickers with different emotions written on them in a bowl, the participants pick one (blindly of course), and then have to describe a  scenario relevant to their job role in the emotion they picked. The other participants then try to figure out which emotion is being described.

In this case, I'm thinking that the emotions will be the ones that participants identify on the Emotions Wheel. And the combined exercise doesn't have to be that complex of course. 🙂 Could just be that the participants pick a sticker from the “jar” and describe a job scenario where they've felt that emotion, without the guessing part.

I finally made it to this post… What did I miss 😄

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I chose This or That because it’s not that hard of an exercise. It allows me to use contrasting words that might influence my design process. I can gauge just how receptive they may be to a radical idea or something uber traditional. So far, my clients love the dog cards. They get to choose their own dog, which is always fun to hear them do. Then, they make jokes about themselves related to the words on the scale as they read through them. 

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Now this is an experience in Miro @fatdogcreatives! I love it 🥰

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I finally made it to this post… What did I miss 😄

Welcome @mrjankeck! Well you seem to have started a trend with the term Ice Melters -- look at that!

We are so happy to have you here. Can you maybe share with us your favorite Ice Melter?! 

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Shameless plug: I've made my first ice breaker/melter template!

Collaborative Jigsaw Puzzle Ice Breaker

Hope you'll like it. 😊

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