Set the tone
My recent rant about ice breakers generated quite a response.
I said that icebreakers free ships, not people. And yes, it’s spelt differently.
Judging by the response I got, a lot of people feel the same. The dreaded words, ‘let’s do an ice breaker’ make many of us cringe, freeze or run.
Denis wondered if ‘warm up’ was the same as ‘ice breaker’. Good question. The difference between the two may not be vast, but there is a distinction.
His question illustrated how powerfully language works to set expectations, as another reader, Rebecca observed. ‘Ice breaker sets the wrong tone,’ she said.
‘Warm up’ suggests ‘getting ready to work’. It sets the expectation that more effort is to come. Just like my ride to my weekly training session is a warm up for the more gruelling hour ahead of me.
‘Ice breaker’ feels like a one-off activity. Hanging there at the start of a session, isolated, a bit like the ships that the real icebreakers actually do free.
Denis then wondered if ‘welcome’ would do. Not if it’s to describe a process that aims to help a group of people to connect. I draw a welcome mat.
If the purpose is to connect, I like to say so.
Words set the tone from the start, as the picture shows. Welcome, respect, connect. This is for the gathering — whatever . There’s a whole lot of work that goes on beforehand.
I love designing ways for people to connect and collaborate. If you’d like to have a chat, just reply to this email with CONNECT in the subject line.
If you missed the rant, here’s the link: Don’t Break the Ice.