Let’s be honest, virtual meetings are hard – especially if you’ve never even met a few of your team members. And oftentimes, we groan and moan at the idea of saying another “interesting fact about [ourselves]” (anyone else forget anything interesting they’ve ever done in their life?). But the truth is icebreakers for virtual meetings are key. They start great conversation and cultivate a collaborative and inviting environment.
I will say though, it’s important to make them interesting and really get each team member excited to share their response. So, here are 19 team-approved icebreakers for virtual meetings.
If you could live in any sitcom universe, which would it be?
Okay this one is bound to cause an uproar. You’ll find who are the Friends vs. Seinfeld folks. The Office vs Parks and Recreation or Community. It’s an easy question to start with because it’s fun and oftentimes people will have one they would love to live in. For me, Monica and Rachel’s purple apartment is a dream!
What is the most unique thing on your bucket list?
Bucket list items are usually passion projects or big dreams and goals, and we all have a bucket lists, even if it’s only five items long. Think of how excited you get when you cross something off your bucket list or when someone asks you about something on the list. Really excited, I’d assume! People love to talk their passions so start the meeting with excited vibrations!
What is something that you feel proud of this week?
This is a great question to see what your team members value. Are they proud that they worked out, even once, this week? Or maybe their kids did something that they’ve been trying to teach them? Knowing what a team member values can help you connect on a deeper level. It will also start the meeting with your team members remembering how capable they are of accomplishing goals.
What do you like the most about remote work?
Celebrate the positives of working remotely. Many people have started to really enjoy working from home! They’re there to grab their latest Amazon orders, they can pick their kids up from school, or they can work in their pajamas. Whatever the reason, it’s a positive spin on a unique situation.
What is your #1 productivity tip?
Each person has a different method of keeping productive. Some people make lists, some use time-trackers or some like to take multiple breaks. Whatever the tip, it would be interesting to hear how everyone stays productive. Bonus, you can make a list of everyone’s tips for team members to come back to when they’re feeling not-so-productive.
Give a toast to someone for doing a good job. It can be for something mundane or exciting, work-related or personal!
Going along the same lines as one of the icebreakers above, this time celebrate someone elses’ victories. It’s a beautiful way to recognize someone for their hard work and dedication. Employees appreciate being recognized for a job well-done, it’s motivating to continue to do good work.
This is a quick icebreaker to gauge how your team is feeling going into the meeting. Sometimes you don’t want to spend time on a longer icebreaker, which is totally fine. It’s an easy way to see how your team is doing and empathize that everyone may be having a different day than you.
When someone finds out what you do for a living or where you are from, what questions do they always ask?
In a virtual meeting, assuming you all have similar jobs, or at least know what the other team members do, this question is a hilarious way to see what the outside world thinks of when they hear about your job.
This or That.
You may think this is a simple icebreaker but sometimes you just need something simple to get everyone engaged. Little to no effort is required and it’s a great solution for larger meetings when people don’t know each other well.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Each team member meets so many people in their lifetime, they may have a great nugget of wisdom to share with the group! This can start the meeting off on a positive note and you may wish to write all these down to share with the group after the meeting (just like the productivity tips above).
If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
You know you’re going to get some funny answers with this one! You can also see where everyone’s head is at off the top of the meeting. One might say that they wish for a midday glass of wine while another might say they wish for an hour of complete peace and quiet in an otherwise rambunctious house. You can tell exactly how employees are feeling based on what they wish for!
If you were a color, what color would you be?
This may seem like an innocent question, and oftentimes people will just utter their favorite color, but it can provide more insight into your team as well. Colors have psychology behind them (read up on it – it’s very cool!). If a team member is feeling blue, they may be struggling. If a team member says yellow, they may be feeling extra happy or joyous that day. It’s a simple way to check-in on your team.
Rose, Thorn, and Bud.
Start your meeting off with gratitude and it can set the tone for a happy and productive meeting. Go around the virtual room and have everyone share their rose, something they are thankful for this week, their thorn, something they’re having trouble with, and their bud, something they’re working on or looking forward to. It’s also a great way to celebrate your team and help them through any issues they may be having.
In one word, how would you describe…?
We had to include this one in our list of icebreakers for virtual meetings. You can really customize this question to fit whatever information you are looking to get. Maybe you want to see how your team’s week has been going, how they feel about this upcoming meeting, or it’s a quick way to get everyone’s ideas on the topic you’re discussing. For example, in one word, how would you describe what we covered in our meeting today?
Where are you joining us from?
The cool part of working remotely is that sometimes you get to work with people from around the country or even the world. This is a great question to get to know the members on your team and see where they’re coming from. Maybe you’ll find out interesting tidbits about their location and end up making it your next travel destination.
Five Things in Common.
Work together with your team to find five things in common. These can be personality traits, foods, attire, anything. Maybe you’re all drinking coffee out of your favorite mug, or maybe you’re all wearing one white clothing item. It may seem like a small task, but it builds comradery and definitely amps up the energy.
What’s cooking with you?
Let’s be serious, working remotely has allowed all of us to cook and bake more. What better way to share the love than share recipes you’ve been loving? Take turns talking the best meal or baked good that you’ve made in the last bit. It’s a fun, creative icebreaker as well as a recipe share!
What’s one quality you love to have in a boss?
Managing people is hard, especially remotely. Everyone has different needs, and you need to learn how each team member operates so you can be a good leader. This is an interesting question to ask because some team members may be shy to share. But if you provide a safe and encouraging environment for your team to share their thoughts, you’ll get some amazing answers.
Would you rather…?
As far as icebreakers for virtual meetings go, this one is a classic – because it works! It’s a great way to quickly warm your team up for the meeting ahead. It can also be customized to suit your goal for the meeting. You can start easy, would you rather beach or mountains? Or you can go for something more specific like, would you rather email or phone call? Short meetings weekly or long meetings bi-weekly?
These are only suggestions to get you to break the ice at your next virtual meeting. You may not even need to go through the whole group, so as not to spend too much time on a “fun activity” when people have lots to do. But remember, icebreakers for virtual meetings can be an excellent catalyst for a productive and engaged meeting.