Steve Martin once responded to a drunk heckler, “Ah, I remember my first beer.” I wonder if he remembers his first heckle as well. I sure do. My first serious one, that is. I was much younger, in a sales presentation exploring the virtues of “Value versus Price.” Although I’d been a successful salesperson for years and had done a version of this session a few times, an experienced attendee Just. Wasn’t. Having. It. They were loud. They were disruptive. They were convinced and challenged every concept I presented.
Successful icebreakers will establish a safe environment for learning and help attendees become more familiar with each other. They also set the tone for the session and ideally introduces the learning objectives in a fun and engaging way. Our most popular icebreakers have survived the test of time because one brave learning and development professional used them with great success and shared the experience. But what about unsuccessful icebreakers? The ones tried and quickly relegated to the ash heap of history. Here, for I believe the first time, is a top three list of the worst icebreakers ever created.
It’s possible that right now, a pizza, pop, and Wonderstruck scented room has a lively game of “Kiss, Marry, Kill” featuring the three Prince Chris’s of Hollywood (Hemsworth, Pratt, and Evans). For those not familiar with the game, someone names three people, (celebrities, fictional characters, etc.) and the group decides which one they would choose to kiss, marry or kill. Odds are, being the consummate professional, you aren’t playing such mindless games. Lucky for you, I’m not above such distractions. So for the L & D professional who hasn’t played a version of this game in a while, I offer three rounds of Learning and Development Kiss Marry Kill. Oh, and for the record, Kiss Hemsworth, Marry Pratt and, well, sorry Evans. On to round one!
Scary learning and development situations, like monsters under our bed, simply don’t exist, right? I mean, compared to other professions, (law enforcement, snake wrangler, dinner buffet worker, etc.) we rarely find ourselves enveloped in fear or exposed to real danger. But when we do, we prefer to make the experiences memorable. Here are some fearful situations* experienced by this learning and development professional, in no particular order.