If we’re certain about anything in 2021, we can predict a lot of remote team meetings popping up on our calendars in upcoming months. The tricky part about meeting remotely is that it can be awkward to kick off conversations, develop relationships, and generally socialize when you’re doing so over the phone or during a Zoom meeting.
That’s why virtual team building activities and virtual ice breakers have become so popular in the past year, and we don’t see that changing any time soon. Plus, in order for a meeting to be productive, there has to be an open and clear line of communication between participants. And part of fostering that remote team communication is developing a personal rapport with the other meeting attendees.
Virtual ice breakers are one of our favorite ways to encourage that personal connection. You might think these are totally old school, but they work. Especially when you’re meeting a new teammate, an external party, or a new partner that you’ve never come into contact with before.
So why are remote team building activities like icebreakers so important? Because social connection is important to your bottom line. With increased social connection comes higher employee engagement, less stress, and a generally healthier outlook on work and business.
Here are 9 of our favorite virtual ice breakers for fun team meetings. Don’t believe us? Try one of these in your next virtual meeting and let us know how it went in the comments below.
1. Tell Us Your Most Used Emoji
This is a fun one because it’s easy and everyone uses emojis. For this icebreaker, everyone will go around in alphabetical order and tell the meeting participants what their most-used emoji is. If you don’t want to highlight your most used emoji for any reason, simply state your favorite emoji. I’ll go first — mine is the ghost. It’s cute and spooky, perfect for Halloween.
Connecting with team members by sharing light personal information is a great way to forge bonds between team members and give everyone something to talk about once the meeting is over. Trust us on this one.
2. Two Truths And A Lie
This is a game most of us know and love, and helps teammates learn some interesting fun facts about each other. For this game, everyone goes around in a circle and shares three statements: two truths and one lie. Then, everyone else tries to guess which statement was the lie.
Even if you think you know a co-workers or external partner well, this game will probably reveal something that you never anticipated or would have guessed. Just one note here: try to keep things PG. No need to get wild.
3. Virtual Vacation
Don’t we all wish we were on vacation right now? So this virtual ice breaker should be a piece of cake. For this game, everyone goes around and tells all meeting attendees where their top choice for a vacation destination is. In the time of COVID, actually going to these places is near impossible, which is why we’ve claimed it’s a “virtual vacation.”
Even better, instruct all Zoom attendees to think of their dream vacation spot before the meeting and add a background that represents their virtual vacation selection. P.S. if you’re using Hive, you can easily enter a Zoom meeting with a group by using the “/zoom” command in all meetings.
4. Mood Check-In
This is something that has recently become a trend with managers who are practicing increased emotional intelligence at work, and is a great virtual ice breaker for closer teams, or those that are meeting internally. For this ice breaker, everyone goes around and rates their overall mood on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst.
A mood check-in is great because it has a dual purpose — it allows teams to connect on an emotional level, and it also helps individuals better understand where teammates are at in the moment. For example, if you receive a short Hive or Slack message from a teammate that you might find terse, but know that they’re at a 2 for their mood check-in, you’re much less likely to take offense to that. This is one of our favorite virtual ice breakers for new teams.
5. Myers Briggs Test
This icebreaker involves spending 5-10 minutes before the meeting taking the Myers Briggs test, but it’s a great use of time — you won’t regret it. The Myers Briggs test helps identify individual’s psychological types as initiated by C. Jung, and defines personalities based on four key indicators. There are a total of 16 different Myers Briggs personality types, and sharing yours can be a fun way to find someone who has the same personality type as you. It can also help you better understand how your teammates operate and think — which is super helpful and helps enhance team productivity.
6. Show and Tell
A simple and very straightforward virtual ice breaker, this option is great for internal or external meetings, as you don’t need much preparation and it can be done on the fly. For this ice breaker, everyone will be tasked with sharing one item from the room they are in, explaining the backstory, and why you own it. This is a fun way to tell a cool or unique story you might never tell otherwise!
7. Take A Picture Of Your View
With so many people working remotely, this is a fun and easy way to start conversation about where people are located and what their current work environment is like. Ask everyone to take a photo of the view from their closest window. Each person can take their turn showing off their photo and explaining their circumstances. This is also a great way for team mates to learn about each other and get more context about everyone’s situations.
8. Guess My Hometown
Everyone loves talking about where they came from. That’s why this ice-breaker is a fun way to get people engaged and excited to share a personal tidbit (and bonus points, it has nothing to do with work). To do this ice-breaker, everyone should choose an image that represents their hometown, and set it as their virtual background or take turns sharing the image in the chat.
This can be a photo of a sports mascot, city skyline, or even a notable person who is also from that place– whatever comes to mind when you think about your hometown. Then it’s up to everyone else to guess the place! You can organize this ice-breaker in advance by sending out an email to participants or providing details in the meeting agenda. You can also do it on the spot, giving people a minute or two to search for an image at the beginning of the meeting.
This virtual ice-breaker is especially great for teams who have met before, but might not know every detail about the other meeting attendees. I guarantee people will finish this activity with a new connection or sense of understanding. You never know who else is from your same part of the country, state, or even your same hometown.
9. Scavenger Hunt: Categories Edition
We know what you’re thinking… a solo scavenger hunt in your house? But before you write it off, think about all of the different ways that this concept can be used as a fun virtual ice breaker. Instead of planned out, hidden items, ask everyone on the video call to find something that fits in a specific category. Everyone then has to go around and tell the story behind their item. You can get as creative as you want, but here are some ideas:
- Your favorite book
- An object you bought on wacation
- The condiment in your kitchen you couldn’t live without
If you want to make it more playful, turn this activity into a competition by giving people a set amount of time to find more obscure/unique items. Who can muster up a stamp from their junk drawer? Who still has a Holiday card laying around? Out of everyone who was able to find something in the given amount of time, participants can then vote on which object is the “best fit” for the category. Whichever option you choose, this is sure to be a fun one.
Overall, virtual ice breakers are a fantastic way to foster deeper emotional, personal connections to teammates. If you’re not doing them regularly, it is definitely something to consider adding to each Zoom meeting you host.