May 7 2021, 1:02:07 PM
Icebreakers aren’t just for strangers meeting at an event for the first time. In fact, many teams who meet regularly can benefit from shorter, less-distracting versions of icebreaker activities. It helps pump up the energy at the beginning of a meeting and can be a fun tradition that some may look forward to.
The purpose of an icebreaker is to break that tension and create a hospitable environment (albeit virtually). Be sure that the icebreaker you choose makes sense for your group, whether they're meeting for the first time or have been working together for years. So switch on your cameras and give one of these ideas a try.
For virtual events where attendees are meeting for the first time, ask them to change their virtual background to a photo of their favorite vacation spot when they are introducing themselves. For teams who meet regularly, you can take this idea and change it up to include your favorite restaurant, superhero, athlete — the list goes on.
Everyone knows this schoolyard classic, but try playing it virtually with a bunch of adults. This short-but-sweet activity is a silly icebreaker that's perfect for kicking off a meeting or even helping to choose who will speak first in a breakout session.
With international teams, start a meeting by using the word cloud tool to share where everyone is calling in from. You'll be amazed at how such a simple question among the group will help bring everyone together from all corners of the planet.
Participants might appreciate a heads-up rather than being put on the spot for this one. After all, you never know what you're going to get! Everyone is encouraged to share on screen the last photo they took as a way to get to know what's important to them. Another variation: What's the last text you sent?
Video participants are encouraged to take a photo from where they are sitting, then share them on an online whiteboard app so others can guess who took which photo. This can be used for people meeting for the first time or groups who haven't connected in a while.
A virtual dance party is best paired with a virtual happy hour for coworkers who already know each other but need a chance to connect over something non-work-related. You could even incorporate prizes or awards for best dance moves.
Utilize the shared map feature in Google Maps to have participants drop a pin where they were born. Sure, coworkers might know where everyone currently lives, but it will open the conversation about everyone's personal journeys. You might be surprised what you didn't know about your team!
Each participant has 60 seconds to give a quick tour of their immediate surroundings. This works well for a group of new hires or even a team who has been working virtually for years. Just make sure to give everyone fair warning so they can make sure they are camera ready!
Originally published at May 7 2021, 1:02:07 PM. Updated on Sep 27 2022.