How To Moderate a Warm Up Activity BEFORE a Panel

Feb 6, 2024

In today’s blog, I’m delving into a powerful strategy that I’ve found to significantly enhance team dynamics and improve event engagement— a concept I like to call “Cheat Code to Connection Before Content.” This approach prioritizes building connections within teams and at events before diving into the main content. It’s a technique aimed at creating a more cohesive and engaged group atmosphere, fostering deeper interactions and meaningful exchanges.

The foundation of this strategy is built on the belief that true engagement begins with genuine connection. To put this into practice, it involves focusing on three critical elements:

  1. Connecting People to Each Other: Encouraging interactions and discussions among participants to build a sense of community and shared purpose.
  2. Connecting to the Purpose: Ensuring that activities and conversations are aligned with the overall goal of the meeting or event, which reinforces the ‘why’ behind the gathering.
  3. Creating Space for Authenticity and Vulnerability: Facilitating an environment where participants feel comfortable sharing their true selves, which can lead to more profound and meaningful connections.

One simple yet effective method to achieve this is by asking participants to share personal stories related to the purpose of the meeting or event. For instance, if the focus is on enhancing the student experience in higher education, you might invite attendees to share a favorite story from their own college days. This exercise not only helps to break the ice in a more natural and relevant way but also sets the stage for a deeper level of engagement throughout the event.

To illustrate this point further, consider the practice of sharing a favorite college story with a partner. After the story is shared, the conversation extends to identifying what elements made that story memorable or impactful—was it its humor, emotional depth, uniqueness, or relatability? This reflection not only fosters a deeper connection between the participants but also helps highlight the diverse aspects that contribute to meaningful experiences.

In conclusion, replacing traditional icebreakers with activities that promote genuine connections can transform the dynamics of any team or event. By prioritizing connection before content, we pave the way for more engaging, impactful, and memorable experiences. This approach not only enriches the individual experience but also contributes to building a cohesive and motivated group dynamic, potentially outlining the essence of what makes an effective chief experience officer in the context of higher education.

So, next time you’re planning an event or meeting, remember the cheat code: Connection Before Content. It might just be the key to unlocking a whole new level of engagement and interaction among your participants.