The evolution of virtual meetings has fundamentally transformed the way we connect and collaborate. In this new landscape, the traditional water cooler chats and in-person introductions have been replaced by digital interfaces and video calls.
While the convenience of these virtual meetings is undeniable, they sometimes lack the personal touch and camaraderie found in face-to-face interactions.
That’s where icebreakers come in.
In this article, we explore 15 icebreakers for virtual meetings that are ideal for online interactions and offer distinctive avenues for building rapport, encouraging engagement, and creating a positive atmosphere.
What are Virtual Icebreakers?
Icebreakers are short, interactive activities designed to foster connections, alleviate tension, and infuse energy into virtual gatherings. They serve a similar purpose as traditional in-person icebreakers but are tailored for the digital environment.
Virtual icebreakers help break the initial awkwardness or tension in online meetings and help employees feel more connected, even when not in the same physical location.
Benefits of Icebreaker Games in Virtual Meetings
Icebreaker games for virtual meetings offer several benefits which can help create a more engaging and productive virtual environment:
- Foster Connection: Icebreakers help employees get to know each other as individuals. This deeper understanding can lead to stronger connections, empathy, and team cohesion, even when working remotely.
- Reduce Tension and Anxiety: Virtual meetings can be daunting, especially for introverted or new team members. Icebreakers help create a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere, reducing tension and making everyone feel more at ease.
- Enhance Engagement: By adding an element of fun and interactivity, icebreakers can motivate employees to actively engage in the meeting, contributing more effectively and staying attentive throughout.
- Build Trust: Sharing personal stories or participating in activities that require vulnerability can build team members’ trust. This trust is fundamental for collaboration and problem-solving.
- Improved Communication: Many icebreakers involve communication, which can help improve employees’ virtual communication skills. This is especially beneficial in remote work settings where clear communication is critical.
- Alleviates Boredom: Virtual meetings can sometimes become monotonous and lead to decreased focus. Icebreakers provide a refreshing break from the routine, helping employees stay alert and engaged.
Classic Icebreaker Games For Virtual Meetings
1. Two Truths and a Lie
Each employee takes turns sharing two true statements and one false statement about themselves. The rest of the group must guess which statement is the lie.
- How to Play: Each employee presents their three statements, and others take turns guessing which one is the lie. The reveal can lead to fun discussions about the true statements.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: This game encourages employees to reveal interesting and often unexpected facts about themselves, sparking curiosity and creating opportunities for deeper connections.
2. Desert Island Scenario
Employees imagine being stranded on a desert island and must choose a limited number of items to take with them. This can include books, movies, food, or any other category.
- How to Play: Each employee shares and explains their selections, which can reveal personal preferences and lead to discussions about shared interests.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: It’s a creative and fun way to discover more about each other’s preferences and values, setting a positive tone for the meeting.
3. Would You Rather…?
Employees are posed with a series of hypothetical questions, each offering two distinct options. The choices are often humorous, thought-provoking, or challenging, requiring employees to decide between two scenarios. They take turns choosing one of the provided options and explaining their choice.
- How to Play: One person poses a “Would you rather” question to another employee, who then has to choose one of the provided options and explain why. Others can join in the discussion.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: This game is a lighthearted way to understand employees’ preferences, initiate conversations, and have some laughs, fostering a relaxed atmosphere.
4. This or That
Employees take turns choosing between pairs of options. It involves choosing between two items, preferences, or scenarios, such as “Coffee or tea?” or “Beach vacation or mountain retreat?”
- How to Play: One person poses a “This or That” question to the group, and everyone shares their preference. It can be done in a rapid-fire style, keeping the energy high.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: It’s a quick and easy way to learn about people’s choices and can lead to friendly debates and connections based on shared preferences.
Employees take turns asking each other questions, which can be about anything, from personal experiences to favorite books. Get-to-know-you questions such as “What’s your favorite movie?” “What’s top on your bucket list?”
- How to Play: Employees pair up or take turns asking questions, and the answers can spark engaging conversations and help employees find common ground.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: This format promotes meaningful one-on-one interactions and encourages employees to share stories and insights about themselves.
6. Never Have I Ever
In the “Never Have I Ever” game, employees take turns making statements about things they have never done.
- How to Play: Employees take turns sharing statements like “Never have I ever traveled to Europe” or “Never have I ever eaten sushi.” Those who have done those things respond by raising their hands or revealing amusing or surprising aspects of their life experiences.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: This game encourages employees to share personal anecdotes, leading to fun and sometimes surprising revelations that promote camaraderie.
7. Show and Tell
Employees share an object from their workspace or a personal item that has a special meaning or story behind it.
- How to Play: Each employee presents their chosen item and explains its significance. This encourages storytelling and personal connections within the group.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: Show and Tell allows employees to express themselves creatively and provides insights into their personalities and interests.
8. Four C’s (Color, Car, City, and Celebrity)
This is a guessing game where employees share hints about the color, car, city, and celebrity without revealing the specific details. Others then attempt to guess the answers based on these clues.
- How to Play: Each person takes a turn revealing their preferences for each category, which can lead to conversations about shared interests and plans.
- Why It’s a Good Icebreaker: This game quickly unveils personal choices and aspirations, fostering connections based on shared preferences.
9. Name That Emoji Tune
Employees guess the name of a song based on a series of emojis representing the song’s lyrics, title, or theme.
- How to Play: Share a song and create a sequence of emojis representing lyrics or the song’s theme. Employees take turns creating emoji puzzles or guessing songs.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: This game is a creative and lighthearted way to test employees’ pop culture knowledge and engage them in a group activity.
10. Tell Us Which City You’re in Without Telling Us Which City You’re in
Employees provide descriptive hints about their location without explicitly stating the city’s name, allowing others to guess where they are based on the clues.
- How to Play: Each employee shares hints or characteristics of their current location, leading to a guessing game. Others can ask questions to deduce the city.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: This icebreaker encourages creativity, geographical knowledge, and interactive problem-solving while learning about each other’s locations.
11. The View from My Office
Employees describe the view from their current workspace, whether from home or an office, allowing others to glimpse their working environment and share common experiences or unique settings in a remote work world.
- How to Play: Each employee displays their workspace view, sparking conversations about their work environment and daily routines.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: It provides a glimpse into employees’ working conditions, personalizing the virtual meeting and promoting curiosity and connection.
12. Riddle Icebreakers
Employees take turns presenting riddles to the group. Others attempt to solve them or provide guesses.
- How to Play: Share riddles or brain teasers with the group, and employees can try to solve them. Encourage employees to share their riddles as well.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: Riddles challenge employees’ critical thinking, promote interaction and add fun and mystery to the meeting.
WordScatter is a dynamic game where employees race to find and call out words hidden among scattered letters on a screen.
- How to Play: The host shares a screen with scattered words, and employees observe the scrambled letters and quickly call out words they find within a set time limit. The player who identifies the most words wins the round, adding an element of competition and fun to the game.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: WordScatter is a dynamic game that can boost energy levels and excite your video chat while challenging employees’ observational skills.
14. Rock the Basket
Rock the Basket is the virtual representation of the classical game of musical chairs. Each employee takes turns to make a statement about themselves. If any other employee relates, they stand up to find a new seat.
- How to Play: To play “Rock the Basket” on a group video call, designate an initial host to make a general statement about themselves. Employees who can relate to the statement should stand up or signal their response, then quickly find a new virtual seat. The last person without a seat becomes the new host, and the game continues until everyone gets a chance to become the host.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: Rock the Basket is a simple yet enjoyable game that helps create a playful and competitive atmosphere among employees.
Scattergories is a word game where players brainstorm words that fit specific categories, all beginning with a given letter, within a time limit.
- How to Play: The host provides categories and a letter, and employees find words that match the criteria quickly. Points are awarded for unique answers.
- Why it’s a Good Icebreaker: Scattergories is a fun word game that encourages creativity, quick thinking, and friendly competition, making it ideal for virtual group gatherings.
Tips for Facilitating Icebreakers In Virtual Meetings
Facilitating icebreakers in virtual meetings requires careful planning and execution to ensure they are effective and enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you facilitate icebreakers successfully:
Setting Clear Objectives and Duration
Define the objectives you aim to achieve with the icebreaker. Whether it’s team building, breaking the ice, or introducing a topic, employees should understand the purpose. Additionally, specify the duration of the icebreaker game.
Knowing how long it will take helps employees manage their time effectively and prevents the activity from dragging on.
Adapting to the Virtual Environment
Choose icebreakers that are suitable for the virtual environment. Ensure they work seamlessly with video conferencing tools, screen sharing, and other digital features.
Test the icebreaker beforehand to ensure it runs smoothly without technical hiccups. This ensures a seamless experience for employees.
Consider the diverse nature of your employees and ensure that the icebreaker is inclusive. Be mindful of time zones, language barriers, and accessibility requirements.
Encourage active participation from all attendees by using features like the chat box, polls, or breakout rooms to engage introverted or quieter employees who may be less likely to speak up in larger groups.