by Adam Hirschhorn
I like to think of cocktail hour as the foundation for an event. It’s an ideal time to set-up structured games and activities for the youngsters. It also determines how they will respond to the MC, dancers, and anyone else who is entertaining.
The Keys to a Successful Icebreaker
There are many great icebreakers you can learn about from books and DVDs. You can even make up your own. Whatever you do, make sure the first one is high energy and that everyone is involved, especially the guest of honor.
Interact with the celebrant and his/her friends in a way they’ll relate to, and memorize everyone’s names. Doing this is essential and helps make your conversation with them more personalized. Naturally, you want them to learn your name as well.
Ask for volunteers (or choose people) to lead various games. Instruct your dancers to find five teens who will become their “entourage” or hype crew throughout the rest of the event.
The job of the MC is to be in control of the activities. This includes rounding everyone up for activities, keeping the guests motivated, and communicating with your dancers about prize distribution.
The “Rock, Paper, Scissors Train”
There are many icebreakers that you can begin with during cocktail hour. One of my favorites is called, “The Rock, Paper, Scissors Train.” Here’s how it works:
- First, everyone finds a partner and plays basic Rock-Paper-Scissors with them. Who ever gets the best out of three, wins.
- The losers of the game stand behind the winners and grab their shoulders, forming a train. The MC encourages everyone on the train to cheer for the “engine” throughout the game.
- Each pair of trains finds another, and the winners repeat #1. The new winner goes to the head of the line as the train leader, and everyone else stands behind him/her.
- This process of elimination continues until there are only two winners and two trains left. Then there is one last face-off to determine who is the Rock-Paper-Scissors champion.
- Prizes can be awarded to the final winning group, the champion or the champion and runner-up.
I hope you’ll try out this game and let me know how it works for you. Using the techniques I’ve suggested in this article, you can be assured of consistent success with icebreakers and a good time for all involved with them.
Remember, it’s the teens themselves who are your best advertising and source of future gigs, so treat them with respect, command respect for yourself, and create a fun and lasting impression right from the very start of the celebration!
What are your best techniques for breaking the ice with teens at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
Adam Hirschhorn – “Mitzvah Mastermind”
Adam J. Hirschhorn (A.K.A. Adam J.) is an MC, DJ, business owner and entertainment innovator. He started AJH Entertainment at the young age of thirteen and over a decade later, Adam has grown it into a thriving operation with two locations; one in NJ and the other in PA as Flare Event Group (a preferred vendor in the legendary Bobby Morganstein’s “Beat Street” party facilities). Both of Adam’s companies provide general DJ services but specialize in Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. A graduate of Rowan University with a degree in education, Adam uses his knowledge for the benefit of his DJs and MCs during their monthly training sessions. In addition to his event work, Adam DJ’s at nightclubs during the week, and holds residencies at Trump Plaza Beach Bar in Atlantic City and Bar Anticipation during the summer months. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his websites ajhent.com and flareeventgroup.com.