As we're all quickly learning, webinars and virtual events are becoming our new normal. But without face to face interaction, what can you do to build a more engaging experience for everyone? The answer lies in using a few fun, effective, and easy-to-implement icebreaker activities!
Icebreakers can be intimidating, especially when attendees are joining remotely, but they don’t have to be!
- To begin, it’s important to remember to start your meeting with informal chat.
- Common Experiences Make Connections
- Inform Participants in Advance - Certain icebreakers may need preparation from your attendees. Inform them in advance so they have time to prepare.
Designing your virtual icebreaker
- Establish a purpose
- Define your goals and objectives
- Take time into account
- Geographic locations
- Group Size
- Prep in advance
Virtual Icebreaker Questions
- One-Word Icebreaker - At the beginning of your virtual meeting, ask participants to think of a one-word answer that describes a particular topic. When the meeting starts, have everyone say or type out their answer and compare notes. The topic can be sent out with the meeting invitation, so participants come prepared with a talking point.
Here are two topic ideas to get you started: “the most important part of our business is…” and “my favorite part of working from home has been…”
- Goal-Oriented - A perennially popular Smart Meetings article on icebreakers was originally written for traditional meetings, but it can easily be adapted to virtual events. For example, we suggested that if you want to stay on topic in your meeting, have everyone write down what they hope to get out of the session, then compare notes.
- Funny icebreaker questions - funny questions can be a good way to lighten the mood and increase engagement at the beginning of a virtual meeting. An example could be asking your attendees, “ if you were a vegetable, what would you be?”
- Performance/Management focused -
- What’s something this week that you feel proud of?
- What is one thing your team does that works great?
- What is one outstanding thing you or your team did this week?
- What is something you’d like us to cover today?
Virtual Icebreaker activities
- The Time Machine - Ask team members where they'd go if they had a time machine. Use follow up questions about why they chose that time, if they would try to visit anyone in particular, or if they would stay in that period.
- Trivia - If you have a little more time and want to simulate a breakout activity, try hosting a short trivia game. Ask questions and have participants write down their answers. At the end of the round, read off the answers and choose a winner.
- Free Advice and Inspired Sources - For another quick bonding activity, try asking participants to share their best piece of advice. Especially now, what could be more relevant than best practices for staying focused and motivated?
Speaking of motivation, having attendees add stickers to their name tags that represent what inspires them is a great conversation starter at in-person events. In virtual meetings, ask participants to use emojis in a chat box to represent these inspirations. Sometimes just guessing what the emoji represents is an icebreaking game in itself!