More than an ice-breaker…
Difference between a ‘hot-start’ and a normal ice-breaker or warm-up exercise, is that you carefully choose or create a hot-start exercise, to fit whatever is coming up next. For example:
If you’re about to dive into idea generation, you would choose a warm up which boosts their creative confidence.
If you’re headed into a team development session, you would choose a warm up which offers a safe and comfortable way to begin opening up.
If you’re about to be working on a complex problem, play a complex game, and reflect on what you learnt while playing.
You may already have some great ice-breakers or warm-ups in your toolkit. To make them a hot-start, consider which fit best in different contexts, and work on how you will debrief in order to seamlessly move to the content. This is how:
Be aware of the group and their relationships; what would they be comfortable with sharing? Doing?
Think of a logical relationship between the subject of the session and your hot-start. How do you want to feed this into the exercise or work form?
Make use of the space or your (online) platform. Depending on your hot-start and it’s intention you can let people walk around, line up, create a circle, sit down, shift and share, use the annotate tool to scribble on a whiteboard, bring objects to the camera. Hot-starts are the perfect excuse to get people to explore the space and a new mindset, helping them feel more present and aware.
Be sure to land the exercise with de-brief
Ask the group how they’ve experienced the exercise and link it to the next steps of the session.