Is this how your typical virtual meeting goes? Everyone logs on and immediately mutes themselves. There is no catching up or small talk and some people keep themselves muted for the duration of the meeting. You likely have unengaged employees because you have unengaging meetings. Ditch meetings where everyone logs in and zones out. Change things up to create a more interactive meeting with virtual meeting ice breakers.
What are virtual icebreakers?
Ice breakers are a great way to, well, break the ice at any meeting. While it’s important to do these during in-person meetings, too, it’s even more important to include icebreakers on virtual meeting platforms where people might be distracted or just waiting for an invitation to speak. In these meetings, people might also be meeting for the first time, so ice breakers provide opportunities for people to bond quickly. These can range from simple—everyone goes around and says their name and job title to introduce themselves—to more creative—a fun prompt to get everyone a little more comfortable.
What are some fun ways to start a virtual meeting?
The tone of a meeting is set right at the start. Kick off your meeting in a fun energizing way. But how do you energize virtual meetings? Instead of having awkward silence while everyone logs on, play some upbeat music. It will shift the mood of the room and the attendees. Some extroverted teams might even want to start their meetings with a dance party to move their bodies before settling into the meeting.
How do you break the ice with colleagues virtually?
Remote teams and virtual meetings face the challenge of breaking the ice entirely virtually. Since remote teams have limited time to connect, it’s important to use that time intentionally. Start the meeting with a game. Break the ice by jumping right into something fun and throw in a few trivia questions or a quick round of pictionary to get everyone on board from the beginning. This will get people to be on the same team (literally) as they work toward a fun goal. Use virtual meeting ice breakers games to warm up your team before getting down to business.
Why are ice breakers important?
Ice breakers keep meetings fun and fresh, but they also help teams bond which leads to productive working relationships, better team engagement, and higher employee retention. It’s easier to align the goals and values of a team who is well connected and cares about each other. Build a strong company culture with virtual meeting ice breakers.
It’s important to break the ice so you can build lasting bonds, but what are the best virtual icebreakers?
Here are 21 virtual meeting ice breakers to try.
- Daily Prompt
One-question virtual meeting ice breakers can be used as a quick kickoff activity. Keep a list of questions or prompts handy so you can use a new one each day. Put forth a new question every meeting that everyone has to answer. Give everyone a minute to think about their answer and then go around the room and let everyone share their answer. You might be wondering, what are good online icebreaker questions? These questions should be fun to answer and allow someone to reveal something new about themselves, but should avoid anything too controversial or provocative to make sure everyone feels comfortable.
- Guess Who Fact Match
Instead of just sharing your daily prompt, turn it into a friendly competition. Each player answers a question and the other teams try to guess who submitted which answer to earn the most points. This is a good idea for virtual meetings ice breakers for large groups when you may not have time for everyone to share their answer but still want to learn more about a few people. Here are some example questions you may use or alter:
- If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
- If you could invite any famous person to dinner, who would you invite?
- What is your favorite holiday?
- Two Truths and a Lie
You may have played this game at a sleepover or summer camp, but it’s also one of our favorite fun icebreakers for virtual meetings. One player writes down two truths and a lie about themselves. Then read the three “facts” aloud without letting their voice or body language reveal the lie in order to trick the other teams who are guessing which is not true. Points are awarded to the team who successfully identifies the lie and also to the player if they trick a team.
Give some people a chance to shine in the virtual spotlight. Pin their screen or bring them to the middle of the meeting and ask them to answer a question such as “Tell us your best joke” or “Show us a hidden talent.” You might want to bring more than one person in at a time if your group is especially shy, but some people love to ham it up “on stage.”
- Group Poll
Some virtual meeting platforms allow you to put up a poll right into a meeting. To kick offthe meeting, see how everyone is doing with an anonymous poll. You can offer options (great, not great, terrible, etc) or a 1-10 scale. This is a great way to gauge the mood and bandwidth of the group and bring up any issues you need to discuss during the meeting.
- Show and Tell
Go back to your kindergarten days with show and tell. Have everyone bring something to a meeting that they want to show off. It can be a collector’s item, something sentimental, or even something that just makes them happy. Give everyone 30 seconds to a minute to share what they brought before jumping into the meeting.
- Roses and Thorns
Give everyone a moment to share the best part of their day or week (the rose) or something that was more challenging (the thorn). There are many ways and many words to use for this, but the most important part is that it gives everyone a chance to share and reflect during an ice breaker.
- Three Word Check In
Short for time or have a large group? Let everyone check in and share how they’re doing with just three words. Expect some answers like “I am tired” “I am behind” “Too many emails” or “Friday, thank goddess.”
- Name That Tune
Remember our recommendation to kick off a meeting with music? You can turn that into a fun ice breaker game, too. Play a game of Name That Tune. Play a few bars of a song and see who can name that song first.
- Finish the Lyrics
Increase the difficulty of Name That Tune with a game of Finish the Lyrics. Play a few lines of a song and see who can sing (or speak) the next few words first. If your platform allows, let them choose the next song. Make sure to have a good mix of genres and generations so everyone can have a chance to shine.
- Two-Minute Debate
Choose a fun topic for a low-stakes debate. Think something fun and silly like: which are more powerful: unicorns or narwhals. Have one person or group of people take each side and they have 45 seconds to make their point with room for a rebuttal.
- Rapid-Fire Dance Party
Break it down and break the ice with a dance party Shake out the brain cobwebs before a meeting by having a fast dance party. It can be a full song, just a minute, or the chorus. If Doug from accounting doing the worm doesn’t break the ice, nothing will.
- Air Guitar Challenge
If you have a group who doesn’t love to dance, make things even sillier with an air guitar challenge. There's no skill required here except for enthusiasm and the willingness to improvise as you shred to whatever song is on in the background.
Not all virtual meeting ice breakers ideas have to be complicated. Have the facilitator ask 5 quick trivia questions before the meeting starts to get people engaged. These questions can be about your company, such as “What is the name of our CMO’s cat?” They can also be more general pop culture or timely, themed trivia about history, art, current events, and more.
- Brain Teasers
These are more complex than your average trivia, but brain teasers are a great way to get people to bond over a challenge. From math puzzles to rebus word games, these will make you realize that two (or ten) heads are better than one.
- Scavenger Hunt
Yes, you can run a scavenger hunt virtually. This game will get everyone up and moving right away. Players receive a prompt and have to run and grab an item and bring it back to the screen. This can be straightforward—go get a book—or the prompt can be given in riddle form to be more like a clue—go get something that gets wetter the more it dries. (It’s a towel by the way.) Award points based on speed and creativity.
The classic collaborative drawing game is a fun way to get people engaged quickly. In case you’re fuzzy on the details: one person draws and the other people compete to guess what they are drawing before time runs out. Have some prompts prepared and make sure they are not too difficult.
- Drawing Challenge
If pictionary sounds too stressful, you can always do a non-competitive artistic challenge. This one is a great virtual icebreaker for large groups. Give teams or individuals a prompt such as “draw an important moment in history.” Then, give them a certain amount of time to work on a drawing together or solo. Everyone can show off their creation on screen like a super-speed art show.
- Photo Booth
Snap some pictures before the meeting starts.. If your virtual meeting platform has a photo booth in the lobby like Weve, you’re in luck and it’s easy to strike a post with curated props. If not, have everyone bring their own props to pose for their best picture. Recommend items like big hats, sunglasses, and bright colored clothing. These might not be the best headshots for LinkedIn, but they’ll be fun to share and break the ice with some silliness.
Kick off a meeting with a game that’s all about speed—Categories. Name a topic and have individuals or teams write down or name as many things in that topic as fast as they can before time runs out. Here are some ideas for categories to get you started:
Sports that use a ball
Countries that start with A
Types of candy
The seven dwarves
- Appreciation and Applause
Break the ice by kicking off meetings with gratitude. Don't wait until the end to brag about how great your team is. Start with shoutouts so people who have accomplished something or helped someone out can be recognized. Give them a round of applause or snaps, or whatever funky celebration your company embraces.
How do you run a virtual icebreaker?? Weve got you covered.