Working from home is now a must, resulting in more virtual teams and meetings. As we see from remote work statistics, this brings many benefits, like increased engagement and commitment, a stronger sense of purpose, and higher empowerment. So far, so good.
On the other hand, the lack of face-to-face interactions has made employees feel less connected to their coworkers.
Icebreaker questions and other get-to-know-you activities are fun and engaging ways to overcome this challenge. They create a relaxed and comfortable environment that encourages team members to interact with each other.
In this article, we'll explore the best virtual icebreakers for your next meetings, including creative and effective ideas and games to help your team connect and communicate better.
What are virtual icebreakers?
Virtual icebreakers take traditional 'getting to know each other (better)' to the online realm.
These activities or questions are designed to build connections and facilitate interactions among team members in virtual meetings and remote work settings. They serve several important purposes, including:
- Building Team Bonds: Virtual icebreakers create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that encourages team members to interact and get to know each other beyond work-related discussions.
- Enhancing Engagement: These activities increase engagement and commitment among team members, fostering a stronger sense of purpose and empowerment.
- Alleviating Isolation: In remote work, work-from-home loneliness can creep in. Icebreakers help mitigate this by promoting connections beyond work tasks.
- Boosting Remote Collaboration: Building relationships through icebreakers forms the foundation for better collaboration, increased employee productivity, and overall team cohesion.
JLL's Ben Hemley said it well: "The 'more hybrid' someone's work pattern is, the more they reported feeling overwhelmed. Both by a huge mental burden and isolated, lacking strong connections with colleagues."
Icebreakers can help solve these challenges by allowing team members to connect beyond the work they have to do on a video call. This is key for companies to drive employee engagement, the level people feel committed to their job.
1. Quick virtual icebreaker questions
If you don't have much time, then a quick virtual icebreak question will do the job. But just because they're simple, doesn't mean they need to boring. Let's dive into a few activities that can go way beyond just icebreaker questions.
There are many ways to do ice breakers for virtual meetings at work. The simplest way is to ask an ice breaker question during the start of your meeting. As a manager or team leader, you want to start the meeting with something fun before diving into the work.
These ice breaker questions get everyone to pay attention right when the meeting starts. It also primes people to be empathetic as they hear others reply as human beings, not just as coworkers.
#1. Icebreaker Question
Forget about boring and stale icebreaker questions – enter the AI Icebreakers Questions Generator. Simply type in who's participating, how long the icebreaker should last for, and what the purpose of your session is (if any.)
ChatGPT will do its thing and create personalized icebreaker questions to kick off your offline or virtual meeting.
#2. Mood Poll
#3. This or That
Starting a meeting with a poll question that presents two options can ignite a discussion among participants.
Here are some intriguing 'would you rather' questions worth trying:
- Would you rather have the ability to read minds or see the future?
- Would you rather have a personal chef or a personal trainer?
- Would you rather explore the deep sea or outer space?
- Would you rather have unlimited money or unlimited free time?
- Would you rather always be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early?
Check out or create your own with our AI this or that questions generator.
2. Short virtual icebreaker activities
#4. Two Truths and a Lie
Each person shares three statements about themselves - two true and one false - and the others must guess the lie. It's a simple game, but it can reveal many interesting things about your colleagues, like hobbies, favorite foods, and travel experiences.
#5. Pop culture preferences
You select a topic or category, like movies, TV shows, or music, after which everyone names something from that category. If someone can't think of anything, they're out. The game continues until only one person is left standing.
#6. Favorite movie or TV show
The meeting leader asks each person to share their favorite TV show and explain why they love it. It's a simple game but can reveal much about your coworkers' personalities and interests. It may spark some friendly debate or discussion about different shows.
#7. Favorite foods
You ask people to share their favorite food and why – perfect for foodies or anyone who loves cooking or eating. It's a great conversation starter and can lead to interesting discussions about different cuisines and cooking styles.
3. Icebreaker Games & Team Building Activities
Sometimes you want to do more than ask questions and hear people's replies on the fly. That's when Ice Breaker games come into play. Ice Breaker games have the same purpose as Ice Breaker questions, to connect coworkers as people beyond the work. But they have a bit more production value.
Ice Breaker games vary; the best ones take little preparation and can be done on the fly. Besides Virtual Scavenger Hunt, Two Truths and a Lie, and Guilty Pleasure, here are some Ice Breaker Games we love:
Remote team members must quickly get to know the person behind their screen names. Sharing a personal photo and its story is ideal for team members to become more familiar with each other. Find a free Photo Collage template here.
If you want to cultivate a positive and appreciative atmosphere in your team, consider a Kudo Wall for your next meeting. By expressing appreciation and gratitude through kudos, you can create a powerful motivator to help enhance team members' connections. Find a free Kudo Wall template here.
The Body Scan activity promotes emotional expression and fosters a more profound connection among team members. Add it to the beginning of your team meetings and establish a constructive and empathetic work atmosphere. It will help you prioritize well-being and strengthen team relationships. Find a free Body Scan template here.
If your team is filled with creative individuals who are looking for a fun and interactive icebreaker game, look no further than "Monster Workshop" on Miro. This game is perfect for those who want to let their imagination run wild and collaborate effortlessly.
With on-the-page instructions and no need for prior preparation, your team can dive right into the excitement of creating their own unique monsters using a variety of monster parts.
Communication through emojis has become an integral part of modern digital interactions. This interactive game is designed to engage your team in a creative and expressive way.
Each member will select a question from a provided list and use emojis and shapes to answer it. From there, the team can learn more about how each other uses emojis and tell their stories through visual representations.
Skribbl is an online multiplayer drawing and guessing game that brings your team together in a dynamic and engaging way. Whether you're all in the same room or scattered across different locations, Skribbl allows everyone to participate and showcase their artistic talents.
Even if drawing isn't your forte, get ready to enjoy some laughs, friendly rivalry, and a fantastic opportunity for team bonding as you try to decipher each other's doodles.
Your team can play a virtual version of the traditional telephone game with your team on Gartic Phone. Simply set it up and start drawing and describing scenes based on the given prompts.
There are many modes in the game but we suggest the Basic Mode as the most simple and hilarious one. See the unpredictable twists and turns that unfold when the messages pass.
How to choose the right Ice Breaker Game?
Like Ice Breaker questions, think about it briefly; any game will be great to connect and play witChoosing the right ice breaker question may be difficult, and the ground rule is not to overthink it. It may seem silly now, but anything that lets people share about themselves on video conferencing is a win for you and your team.
To ensure the question works, consider the context, like the meeting you're about to have and who's attending. Think also about what you've already tried and what worked, building on that.
h your team. But if you need some guidance, here are some tips to help you choose the right ice breaker question:
- Consider the group: Consider the group's age range, cultural backgrounds, and personalities. Choose a question that is appropriate and relevant to the group.
- Consider the purpose: What is the goal of the meeting? Are you trying to break the ice and get people to know each other? Or are you trying to focus on a specific topic or issue?
- Consider familiarity: How well do the participants know each other? If they are strangers, choose an ice breaker game that is easy and non-threatening. If they know each other well, choose something that will challenge them to think more deeply or creatively.
- Keep it simple! Choose an ice breaker game that is easy to understand and doesn't require a lot of explanation or setup.
- Keep it fun: Choose a question that is light-hearted and enjoyable. The goal is to make people feel comfortable participating fully in the game.
Also, note that it's essential to let managers lead these activities. Managers have 2x much impact on employee engagement and culture change as anyone else in the organization. They can make or break the employee experience and how employees work together to achieve common goals and best positioned to drive these activities with their teams.
Tips for Facilitating Icebreakers in Virtual Meetings
Running any activity can be challenging. How do you command people's attention? How do you engage them throughout? How to end the session well?
Below are a few tips for running these kinds of exercises hundreds of times.
On the day of the Ice Breaker, it's good to introduce the activity and share some ground rules properly. Sometimes the meeting starts in a few minutes, but everyone is focused on their work or chatting. How can you get their attention without feeling awkward?
Share that instead of looking at emails and spreadsheets, let's take a break and spend the next 10 minutes connecting as a team. However, before starting, you want to set some ground rules to ensure the session is productive.
Please respect everyone's ideas and opinions, avoid interrupting or dominating the conversation, and adhere to the time limit. It's important to remind them to keep an open mind, actively listen to each other, and ask clarifying questions. Finally, you can dive into the session and enjoy the activity.
Setting the tone this way will mean people know what to expect, provide clear instructions, and encourage participation.
Toward the end of the activity, you can recap and remind people that this was great. You can also summarize any specific learnings you've gained.
Virtual icebreakers are fun activities that can help virtual teams connect and communicate better. This is especially important since only half of remote employees have strong relationships with their teams.
Icebreakers can drive employee engagement, making it easier for team members to connect beyond work. One easy way to do icebreakers for virtual meetings is to ask a question during the morning meeting. Icebreaker games are also effective but should take a short time to prepare.
As a manager or team leader, starting a virtual team meeting with an icebreaker question or game can create a relaxed and comfortable environment that encourages interaction. Anything that allows team members to share about themselves is beneficial. Try these icebreakers in your next virtual team meeting to help your team connect and engage.