15 Icebreakers to Use During a Virtual Meeting
Remote work arrangements are gradually becoming the norm in today’s age and time, with more people working from home due to precautions to help curb the spread of Covid-19. As a result, it is imperative to build connections between team members in a virtual or online environment. The majority of employers are probably used to the initiative of icebreakers in online meetings or among groups where not all the participants know each other. Nevertheless, there is so much more to icebreakers than just creating a “safe” space where we get acquainted, relax and become comfortable with the people present in the room, virtual or otherwise. Icebreakers help define the tone of space to know how to conduct ourselves and what to expect.
They determine if a space will be solemn, cheery, official, or casual and they aren’t just used to set the tone among groups unfamiliar with each other. They work marvelously among people in a group who already work together and know each other, as they function to increase psychosomatic security, engagement, and involvement from all members present. In remote or virtual settings particularly, icebreakers serve as a pick-me-up, especially when you are looking to raise the morale of team members as they make available the opening for everyone present to hear and be heard.
What Exactly are the Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings?
An icebreaker is an activity intended to put attendees at ease and warm up the discussion among participants in a meeting, class, session, or any occasion that requires people to interact and connect, even online comfortably. Effective icebreakers for virtual meetings could save your meeting from an awkward silence at the beginning, get individuals talking, and assist you with ensuring that everybody present is relaxed before you get on with the business at hand.
What Roles do Icebreakers Play in Virtual Meetings?
Icebreakers serve as little intuitive exercises to ease the disposition in virtual meetings wherein correspondence, and participant comfort level are important elements. They play a vital role in warming up the conversation in a meeting, reinforcing discussion topics, and guaranteeing that all team members participate equally. They drive energetic conversations and urge participants to be more dynamic throughout the meeting. With the increased number of online meetings, effectively using icebreakers can help make video conference calls feel more personal and allow team members to get to know one another better without pressure and in due time.
Designing Your Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings
Icebreakers are a valuable way of starting an online meeting session, as they are interactive and fun. Crafting a well-designed icebreaker could help get things off to a great start without wasting time. By getting to know colleagues better and learning about the objectives of the meeting, people become more engaged in the proceedings and contribute more effectively towards a successful outcome. The key to successfully designing an icebreaker for your meeting is to ensure that the activity is purposely focused on meeting your objectives and suitable to the group of people or the team involved. Once you have determined what the “ice” is that immediately needs breaking, the next thing to do is to clarify the specific objectives for introducing your icebreaker, as you would have to remember to be time conscious.
15 Best Icebreakers to Use
Here are several ideas you could use to break the ice and build relationships at virtual or online meetings.
- Would you rather?”Would you rather” type of question is one of the icebreakers for virtual meetings, that will ignite an enthusiastic conversation among team members at the start of your meeting. Just ask participants an interesting survey question and get them to decide what they would rather do given two possible options. The questions could range from silly gross to impossibly cool, and they can also be adapted to fit any theme of your choice. It is effective and not time-consuming.Why it works: Whether you are looking to loosen up meeting team members or build a bond between people in the team, which is the go-to game as it is a dynamic activity that consumes little to no time which makes people think on their feet and gives insight into their priorities.
- How are you feeling today?The typical ‘How are you today?’ may get you only a few reluctant answers, which is why you should try a more interesting approach. You could try making it a little more interesting simply by using a rating poll. You may say something like, “On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling today?” Or, “What is your energy level today?” It simply means all the team members present can contribute and what it does with your meeting is it makes you aware of how everyone is feeling before the meeting. You could also make use of the poll results as a conversation starter.Why it works: Words and gestures are so important and convey so much to others, and nothing conveys “you are seen and loved” better than genuinely asking people how they are feeling and caring about the answer, whatever it may be, especially when it comes to remote job employees. Asking how the team members in your online meeting are doing signifies a desire to know how things are going with them. This gesture fills them with a sense of acceptance and belonging, which in turn propels them to be comfortable enough to break out of their shell and engage. This method is also not time-consuming.
- Quiz of the day.You can start your meetings with a small guessing game. Everybody loves quizzes, and so a little riddle at the beginning of your meeting will get your participants nicely energized. It is a perfect time effective icebreaker if you and your team meet regularly, as you can easily turn it into a tradition and run one quiz question at the start of every one of your online meetings.Why it works: Asking quiz questions is an easy and effective way to break the ice, regardless of the situation and time allocated for the online meeting. Team members get to relax and finish whatever the plan is for the online meeting in time.
- From where are you joining the meeting?When all teammates are around the world, a nice way to kick off your meeting could be by sending virtual ‘hellos’ to each one of them. It is one of the best virtual icebreakers for large online meetings — the more locations, the merrier. As participants post their locations, you could give them a special shoutout?Why it works: if your team is worldwide, you can have them describe fun facts about their country. Location shoutouts help people get acquainted with their teammates and learn interesting facts about other places; it is also a perfect time-effective tool for remote work.
- Share a random fact.A great way to break the ice in a virtual or online meeting is to ask participants to share a random piece of trivia that they know. It’s a simple method to involve everyone in the working process, and it gives people a chance to say something without feeling too self-conscious. All you need do is tell participants to take turns in saying a random fact they know.Why it works: this acts as an effective icebreaker for remote meetings because everyone has at least one random fact that they somehow know, and getting them to share it with everyone else takes the pressure off of trying to think of something interesting about themselves.
- It’s whom you know.Begin by telling your story of when you ran into a famous person. Describe to the best of your ability what the person looks like, but you must not reveal the person’s identity. Let other group members guess who the famous person was, and the person who guesses correctly should share their famous encounter next.Why it works: This game is perfect because everyone would want to get involved. People love talking about the one time they met a famous person, so let them.
- Portrait Gallery.All you need to get it in is to ensure everybody present has paper and a pen. Pair participants up and give them a little time to draw their designated partner as they appear on the screen. In the end, everybody should put up their portraits for all to see.Why it works: This icebreaker is certain to create a few laughs and get participants to interact with each other. It will get everyone’s creativity flowing, and even if people draw terrible pictures of one another, nobody should be offended as it is all for fun.
- Unusual pitches.The objective of this icebreaker is to get each person to quickly draft up a bizarre pitch and convince the rest of the team that it is worth funding. The pitch with the highest number of supporters wins.Why it works: This icebreaker is a clever way to get participants into an innovative mindset and help them develop problem-solving skills.
- Say it with an emoji.Another way to get a sense of how your team members feel is to let them express it with emojis. Take this example, at the start of your meeting; you could ask questions like, which emoji best describes your current state of mind? Describe our team with an emoji; use an emoji to describe your ideal vacation; which emoji do you use most frequently?Why it works: This is an ideal icebreaker if you’re looking for a simple activity that anyone can participate in as you wait for others to join the meeting.
- Unsung heroes.Well deserved acknowledgements can act as an icebreaker and a morale booster. It simply involves giving kudos to the heroes in your team for the work they do. You can even go as far as creating an open text poll so that people can also leave a heart-warming message for their nominated silent hero.Why it works: Acknowledging people for the effort they’re putting in is a wonderful way to start a meeting.
- Why are you thankful?Ask participants to submit why they are grateful or who from the team they would like to thank. You may open your meeting with this question or via an open text poll and wait for participants to put in their submissions.Why it works: This ice-breaking activity is a nice bonding activity and helps you start the meeting on a positive note. It is ideal as a morale booster during special team meetings.
- Home scavenger hunt.Give participants a little task such as you have 30 seconds to fetch something blue or bring the softest thing you own.Why it works: This icebreaker is entertaining and will give people a chance to move around a little.
- Show and tell.This icebreaker is the best option for small teams as people may not be as willing to talk in front of a larger crowd. It simply works by telling participants to bring an object with special meaning to them. Give each member a few minutes to tell the rest of the group about it.Why it works: This is a great activity for getting to know the team better.
- Recipe exchange.You should select someone to share a recipe in advance of the meeting, and everyone should be encouraged to prepare the food or cocktail to enjoy during the meeting. Rotate which team member shares the recipe each time.Why it works: Everyone has something to share when it comes to food, and this icebreaker is the perfect way to get people to brag a little bit about something they’re good at.
- Name that sound.If you are looking to find a rather refined guessing game, look no further than this. The execution is very simple. All you need to do is turn your cameras off, leaving only audio on, and then proceed to make some sound close to the mic so that other participants can hear it and have to guess where it comes from.Why it works: This is one of the most challenging virtual icebreakers, but it is equally very satisfying.
Virtual icebreaker games, questions, and activities aid you in ensuring that your meetings are always something to look forward to for everyone involved. Just ensure that you choose an activity that everyone will enjoy and carry out every once in a while.
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