Why You Should Bring a Big Star Wars Collector’s Lego Set to Your Next Tech Conference: The Power of Unexpected Icebreakers
Have you ever been in a situation where you struggled to connect with people, whether it’s at a networking event, a social gathering, or even in your personal life?
If so, consider trying an unexpected icebreaker to catch people’s attention and spark their interest. A big Lego set can be a unique and powerful tool to do just that.
At the KubeCon 2023 conference in Amsterdam, I unexpectedly won a big Lego Star Wars collector’s set at the IBM booth.
Walking with the big Lego box through the show was like a magnet to people. It became an instant conversation starter that helped me connect with people on a personal level.
The Lego set was an unexpected icebreaker that caught people off guard and made them more open to conversation and connection.
Using unexpected icebreakers like a big Lego set can be a powerful tool for success in personal and professional settings. When we do something unexpected, it can create a positive and lighthearted atmosphere that encourages conversation and connection. It can also help us stand out and make a memorable impression that can lead to lasting relationships and opportunities.
Using unexpected icebreakers and storytelling are two powerful tools that Daniel Pink and Dale Carnegie both emphasize in their work. Pink emphasizes the importance of being unique, creative, and authentic in our interactions with others, while Carnegie emphasizes the importance of listening actively, showing genuine interest, and using storytelling to make a deeper connection with others.
By combining these two approaches and using unexpected icebreakers like a big Lego set, we can make powerful and meaningful connections with others in both our personal and professional lives.
Here are some tips on how to use unexpected icebreakers effectively:
1. Be genuine: When using an unexpected icebreaker, it’s important to be genuine and authentic. People can quickly sense if you’re being fake or insincere, so it’s essential to be true to yourself and your personality. Use an icebreaker that reflects your interests and passions, and be willing to share your own experiences and stories.
2. Be creative: The sky’s the limit when it comes to unexpected icebreakers. It could be a big Lego set, a unique piece of clothing, or a creative business card. Think outside the box and come up with an icebreaker that’s unique, memorable, and reflective of your personality and interests.
3. Listen actively: When someone approaches you because of your unexpected icebreaker, it’s essential to listen actively and show a genuine interest in what they have to say. Ask thoughtful questions, and make an effort to find common ground or shared interests. This will help you build a strong connection and make a memorable impression.
4. Be respectful: While unexpected icebreakers can be a powerful tool, it’s important to be respectful of other people’s boundaries and comfort levels. Not everyone will be receptive to your icebreaker, and that’s okay. Be willing to read social cues and adjust your approach accordingly.
5. Use storytelling: Another effective way to use an unexpected icebreaker is to combine it with storytelling. By sharing a personal story or experience related to your icebreaker, you can make a deeper connection with the person you’re talking to. For example, when people approached me about the Lego set, I shared the story of how I won it and showed them the texting conversation I had with my son during the IBM lecture and draw. This allowed me to share a personal experience and make a more meaningful connection with the person I was talking to.
6. Don’t be afraid to try something new: Using an unexpected icebreaker can be a risk, but it’s also an opportunity to be creative and stand out from the crowd. Be willing to take a chance and try something new, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.
The power of unexpected icebreakers lies in their ability to create a positive and memorable experience that helps us connect with others on a deeper level. By using tools like a big Lego set and combining them with storytelling and active listening, we can make meaningful connections that can lead to new opportunities and friendships.
At the KubeCon conference, I was approached by over 50 people from the minute of winning the Lego set through the show hall, on the metro, at the hotel lobby, on the train to the airport, on the check-in line to the flight, at the Starbucks line at the airport, by the flight attendant during boarding, and finally at baggage conveyor at Ben-Gurion airport. The Lego set became an unexpected icebreaker that helped me connect with them on a personal level.
So next time you’re struggling to connect with someone, consider trying an unexpected icebreaker like a big Lego set. Be genuine, creative, and authentic, listen actively, and use storytelling to make a deeper connection. By doing so, you might just make a powerful and memorable connection that could change your life.