The Art of Ice-Breaking Questions

Audience in a lecture hall

Audience Response Systems are a great way of getting people engaged with a presentation or workshop, and we often talk about how quizzes, team challenges and polls are an easy way to collect and share data. Of course, audience participation is always better when as many people get involved as possible, which is why a few ice-breaker questions are essential.

Once you’ve introduced our easy to use handsets, you’ll need to help your audience become accustomed to using them with a few warm-up tasks. Here are our top four recommendations for your opening questions.

Start broad

The key is to get as many people as possible involved with their handsets from an early stage, so start with questions about something everyone will have in common. Something like “did you travel here by car today?” or “how did you travel here today” (with multiple-choice answers) is something that everyone should be able to contribute to. If you can make it closely related to the theme of your presentation, do.

Keep it simple

If the example above seems basic, that’s because you shouldn’t expect too much from your audience straight away. As the person leading the session, your participants are going to expect you to be the one doing most of the work – at least at the beginning! Throwing out complex questions right from the start is probably going to lead to a low response rate while your listeners get their brains in gear.

Be positive

Are you hosting some kind of training, motivational presentation or a pitch for a product that will fit a niche in your customers’ lives? If so, it’s easy to focus on what your audience is currently lacking so you can later demonstrate how you fill the gap. Don’t be tempted to start on a negative beat though – instead, try to give your phrasing a positive spin, e.g. not “What makes your office bad?”, but “How would you like to see your environment improved?”

Be relevant

Relying on bland, stale subjects is a shortcut to a bored audience. If you can refer to recent industry news or even something of worldwide interest (providing that it’s not too controversial), this demonstrates that your presentation is fresh and “in the know”.

With these guidelines, you should be able to put together a few ice-breaker style questions that draw your audience into your presentation and warm them up for an interactive, engaging session. If you would like to talk to someone about hiring or purchasing an Audience Response System, please get in touch – we would be happy to help.