For those who aren’t familiar, an icebreaker is a simple question meant to stimulate conversation. Thing is, there are a lot of low effort icebreakers out there that don’t do that. There are many reasons an icebreaker might fail, but here are a few common ones I see:

  • The question can be easily answered in one word, leaving no room for follow up discussion
  • The question is too niche, so many people can’t provide an interesting answer
  • The question is used as an icebreaker too often, so using it feels really boring

Turns out making actually good icebreakers can be tricky, so I’m always impressed when I hear a good one. That happened last week when someone shared this:

Normally it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. If you could instantly master any skill without the 10,000 hours of practice, what would it be and why?

Great question. Everyone can think of something, and many people will think of different things that can be compared/contrasted/debated. It makes people think, but not so much that you’ll end up with a bunch of awkward silence.

My answer to this question might have to be fluency in a foreign language. Its not something I have put any practice into since high school so I think I’d be getting more out of the opportunity than if I picked something I’m already decent at. I’d also consider piloting, cooking, all number of sports, and whatever it is electricians do.

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