Zoom meetings and FaceTime calls can get pretty dreary after a while, especially if your team isn’t used to working remotely. If you want to cheer up the tone of your virtual meetings, you could try one of those tacky fake beach backgrounds. Or, you could use the tried-and-true method that works in person and online: Ice breakers.
While most people groan at the thought o another icebreaker activity, the truth is that they are incredibly useful for breaking a group of people out of their comfort zone.
If you need to conduct meetings online, it’s well worth learning a few of these icebreakers to cheer up your next meeting.
1. “Where are you joining us from?”
2. “Show me your office.”
This option is convenient as it involves movement and engagement beyond just a word or two. Encourage everyone in the meeting to do a quick show-and-tell of their office space, being as descriptive as possible.
3. Group Photo
The screenshot features on most video chat programs provide a lot of possibilities for games and icebreakers. Try to think of some fun or unique poses that the group could work together to create.
4. Quiz Competitions
Starting your meeting with a quiz (on any topic) is an easy and neutral way to get the group engaged and talking with one another. Quizzes inspire an air of competition and get everyone’s brains working. This is especially helpful if your meeting is first thing in the morning.
5. Mood Swings
There are many ways to ask about your team’s well-being and mood without being too intrusive. A scale rating, describing moods in terms of color or any other method works great for allowing people to open up.
A great option for ice breakers can be to begin by acknowledging team members who have done a great job in the past week and deserve some affirmation. You can then encourage others in your team to call out others they would like to encourage.
7. Built-in informal time
The time directly before a meeting can feel a bit stiff and forced as everyone feels the pressure to check in with one another. A better time for chatting is directly after the meeting. People feel more relaxed and are better able to connect informally.
8. Home fashion police
This one can work well if your group isn’t too sensitive. Encourage everyone to (playfully) critique the other group member’s fashion choices. Working from home is no excuse for sloppiness.
9. Passion Presentations
Like show-and-tells for grownups, passion presentations allow your employees to share something they are great really excited about. This allows your team to connect over shared passions and interests.
10. Favorite Things
A similar concept, let your team pick one favorite thing from wherever they are working. It could be a piece of lighting or a picture of a loved one. Whatever your team chooses, it’s a great way to give insight into personalities.
11. “If you could make a documentary about anything…”
Ask your team, “if you could make a documentary about anything, what would it be?” This gives some insight into some of their favorite things.
12. “What’s something you’re proud of?”
Ask your team about something that they’ve accomplished recently that they’re proud of. This sets an air of positivity and gives people permission to share their best moments.
Whichever ice breaker activity you choose for your next meeting, remember that every team is different. It’s up to you to decide on the dynamic that you want to create within your team.