One of the absolute must ingredients in any ice breaker is humor. In fact, ice breakers offer the best scope for a specific type of humor -self-depreciating humor. When we make people laugh at our expense – it makes us more human and endearing.
The ideal way to do this is to include one embarrassing moment or detail from your life. It increases your credibility and makes you one amongst them.
Try to picture the contrary – an ice breaker that lists one instance after another showing how perfect the speaker is, all the achievements he/she earned and a flawless life in general. That’s an instant turn off.
Here are three places you can look in your life for to find your funny moments.
1) All of us believed some stupid thing in our childhood. For example – I thought about preserving a small piece of coal from our backyard bonfire and placed it under my mattress so that the pressure and time would convert it into diamond by the time I grew up.
2) Our first immature love/crush is a great place to find humor. Here is a one liner from my ice breaker – ‘When I was in ninth standard, I was hopelessly in love with my physics teacher. Of course it did not last but those physics concepts still last in my memory”
3) All of us are pathetic at something. I am very bad with directions. Here is another one liner from my ice breaker – “I am so bad in directions that every time someone asks me directions to any place, I say that I am new to the city”
Here are some more places you can look to discover humor in your life.
1) Pranks played on you by your friends or siblings.
2) Mornings after a wild party
3) Travel plan or interview gone awry
4) A lie you constantly tell yourself or others. (I LOVE reading books or I can play guitar)
5) A dressing disaster
There are endless possibilities to spot humor in your life. The bottom line is find one aspect that draws laughter and makes you more human.
Some Dos and Don’ts
1) Do not stretch it beyond 2 lines. You would otherwise be spending undue time and compelled to compromise elsewhere.
2) Do not copy from other ice breakers or stand-up comedy on YouTube.
3) Do not include more than 2 of these moments. Too much and you risk it being labeled a stand-up act instead of an ice breaker.
4) Do sync it with your speech. It should merge well with the moments preceding and following it.
5) Do wear a smile when sharing your self-deprecating humor. Your face should reflect that you have accepted it and moved on.