My Favorite Icebreakers

My Favorite Icebreakers
Michael Coelho

Studies suggest that the span of attention for most of us varies anywhere from ten seconds (me) to three or four minutes! Icebreakers are a fun way to maintain the audience’s attention as well as support the objectives of your presentation. Below are my favorite ‘icebreaker videos’ that I show during my sales training workshops, to help introduce the various steps of the selling process. They never fail to engage and help wake a sleepy audience! The videos can all be found on my favorite website – You Tube.

Please share your favorite icebreaker exercises / video clips with me at

Thank you!



Massive Failure / National Anthem

Great clip to emphasize the importance of preparation and pre-call planning! A great follow-up exercise is to ask the class to share an example of a negative experience they had due to lack of pre-call planning / call preparation.



Jim Carrey / THE CABLE GUY “Basketball Scene” .

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” (author unknown). Carrey makes a huge and hilarious first impression with his newfound basketball buddies. What first impressions are your students making when they encounter their clients for the first time?

Building Rapport


Chris Farley, David Spade / TOMMY BOY “Restaurant Scene”

‘Tommy Boy’ is the Godfather of sales movies. There are at least a dozen clips from this movie you can use to juxtapose the various stages of a sales call. This scene shows a breakthrough moment for the dimwitted salesman (Farley) as he is finally able to connect with someone and persuade them to take action.


Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss (Book)

As of 2005, according to ‘Publisher’s Weekly’, this was the fourth best-selling English-language children’s book of all time, so it should bring back some fond memories for many of your participants. Have students each read a page and pass it around the room – it always ends up with a good laugh and class engagement.

Overcoming Objections


Giovanni Ribisi / The Boiler Room
“Telemarketing Scene”

Objections are a great opportunity to connect with your customer – as long as you are prepared for them! A great clip that demonstrates poor objection handling and a lack of confidence.

The Close


Chris Farley, David Spade / TOMMY BOY
“We don’t take no for an answer scene”

Voted # 1 best sales clip of all time by scores of my sales buddies! This hilarious clip shows just how bad things can go when trying to close a sale.



Gator Boy Success




While teaching my (college) students about the formula for success, inevitably the ‘Gator Boys’, who have a hit show on Animal Planet will come up.  Besides being one of my favorite TV shows, they are the examplar for the formula of success.

The majority of my graduating students have no clue as to what they want to do after they graduate.  In fact, many of my forty-something year old friends are as equally uncertain when it comes to what career path they want to pursue – a decision that has been forced upon many of them after being unceremoniously laid off.  Now, by no means am I suggesting they become alligator rescuers/wrestlers.  I do strongly suggest however, that they focus their attention on their passion, strengths, and what value they can bring to the marketplace.  The following formula is an exercise to quantify these elements for students, professionals and especially YOU to help answer that ubiquitous question: “what should I do with my life”.

This simple formula has three components:   PASSION + TALENT + MARKET VALUE.

Simply rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 positive) for each component. You must score at least a 25 out of 30 points to consider pursuing your idea as a viable career path to take.

To demonstrate my formula, I conduct the following exercise in class with my students: First I ask them “how many of you LOVE to sleep?” Most all of them raise their hands. “OK great, that’s a 10 for PASSION. Now, how many of you are really GOOD at sleeping?” Again most all of them raise their hands unabashed. “OK so that’s another 10 for TALENT, but before you go out and buy new pillows, what is the MARKET VALUE for sleeping? Yeah, exactly – a big goose egg! With only a score of 20, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.”

Here’s where I look to Florida and refer to one of my favorite shows –  ‘The Gator Boys’. If you have ever watched  this show, you quickly understand how passionate the entire crew is about saving alligators. Jimmy Riffle (the guy in the cowboy hat above) has been wrestling alligators since he was 11 years old. Paul Bedard ends each alligator rescue with a kiss on the snout (the alligator’s snout just to be sure!).  For this category, they score a perfect 10 for PASSION!

The ‘Gator Boys’ are licensed to catch dangerous alligators who’ve invaded swimming pools, garages, and backyards in Florida’s Palm Beach and Broward Counties.  They often catch these deadly 1,000 pound reptiles with their bare hands!  Considering they both still have all of their fingers – they score another perfect 10 for TALENT!

Lastly, when it comes to MARKET VALUE, it’s another 10 for Jimmy & Paul.  Did you see the episode where a 10-year old girl almost went swimming in her pool with an eight foot alligator hiding down below? Now that’s VALUE – again they score another 10. A perfect 30 out of 30!

Now back to YOU.  Write down your potential career paths and score each element (Passion, Talent, Market Value).  Be as honest as you can with your own assessment.  Is this really your true PASSION?  WHY?  Does it happen to fall within your strength zone – how talented are you with what you love to do?  Finally, does it have REAL VALUE in the marketplace?  If not – it’s just a hobby!

– Michael Coelho