Collaboration, Templates Updated on: 24 September 2019

Breaking the Ice in Virtual Teams

Conceptboard-Virtual-Icebreaker

Highlights

When working in a team setting, it definitely helps to get to know your co-workers before working on a project together. Having a strong bond with your teammates creates better communication and trust. In the office, a quick good morning at the coffee machine or going out for lunch with your coworkers is where you can build solid work relationships.

However, with more and more people working remotely these day, how can virtual teams build that friendly relationship when they rarely see each other face-to-face? Using icebreakers before the start of a virtual team meeting is a great way to break down barriers between virtual team members and create a more open, connected environment.

Here are five short and engaging icebreakers you can try at your next team meeting.

5 Fun Icebreakers for Virtual Teams

65% of virtual teams have never participated in icebreakers or trust building activities during meetings. That’s a lot of missed opportunities to connect and get to know your colleagues. So next time you’re running a remote meeting or training, why not try an icebreaker activity as a warmup exercise.

Whether your team has just met or have known each other for a long period of time, using these ice breakers before the start of each virtual meeting is a useful way to keep the team spirit up and build bonds with one another.

1. Two Truths and a Lie

How does it work?

  • Ask each participant to write down three statements about themselves. Use one sticky note per statement. Make sure one of them is a lie and the other two are true.
  • Each member can vote for which statement they think is the lie by placing their coloured dots next to the lie.
  • Once everyone has voted, reveal the correct answer and give team members the option to ask follow-up questions about any crazy statements!

2. Quick Questions

How does it work?

  • We’ve prepared some questions within the template such as “Fill in the blank, When I dance I look like……” or “What would you do with a million dollars?” Feel free to choose some of our suggestions, or create your own questions.
  • Display the questions on the board in the style you prefer.
  • Ask each each member to write down their answer by placing their colored sticky note next to the questions.
  • Go through the answers and get to know each other

Icebreaker Quick Question

3. Take a picture of….

How does it work?

  • Choose one of the listed categories on the board: Your room/workplace; something on your desk; your socks or shoes; or a view outside your window; and then delete the others.
  • Ask participants to snap a photo and add it to the board to share. 
  • Make sure to give everyone enough time to take a picture before they have to share it with the group.
  • Either play by asking others to guess where you are, or simply discuss why you chose that picture.
  • You can make this a regular icebreaker before your weekly meetings by picking a new topic each week.

4. Choose your favorite

Another great icebreaker that can be used at the start of your meeting is to have your team members answer a couple of personal questions. Keep in mind that these questions should be fun and light, think about your company culture to determine the best questions that can be asked.

How does it work?

  • You can either create your own questions, or use the questions and answers we’ve already included:
    1. Who is your favourite villain?
    2. What is the best way to eat pizza?
    3. What sound or noise do you love?
    4. Which skill or talent would you love to have?
  • Ask participants to put their colored dot next to the answer they choose, or let them come up with their own answers.
  • By sharing common interests and ideas, team members will feel closer together.

5. Trivia Game

Everyone loves trivia! Test the general knowledge or company knowledge of your team members by asking multiple choice or True/False questions at the start of the meeting.  You can start with a question regarding the company, for example who has worked within the company the shortest period of time? Or some current affairs questions, to see who’s been paying attention to the news.

How does it work?

  • Create a new blank board and write the question in a text box.
  • If you’re using multiple choice questions, provide four possible answers and ask participants to place their colored dot next to the correct answer. For True/False questions, just add True or False as text boxes to the board.
  • If you’re leaving it open, ask participants to write their answers in a text box around the board.

Or, if you want to create trivia teams, you can separate your team in smaller color coded groups and create a point system. You can create individual boards for each group so they can communicate via the chat or video conference to come up with the best answers. All groups can then meet back together in one board to share their answers. Having a point system will create a friendly competition to keep everyone engaged and continue the flow of conversation!

Changing Leaders

While this one is not so much an icebreaker, it’s certainly a great activity for building virtual team work relationships. Change the leader of your group for every meeting to help keep your meetings fresh and interesting for everyone.

At the start of each meeting, have a different person make introductions and give up-to-date details regarding the team’s process. This will create responsibilities for everyone in your team and also increase team involvement. Encourage everyone to use different tools within Conceptboard to present the details.

Ready to get started?

We’ve handpicked four of the best icebreakers for your virtual teams and put them into one easy-to-use template. No lame or awkward trust exercises here! Just four quick, fun and easy icebreakers that will give everyone a laugh, and bring your team closer together.

To get started, invite all team members to join the Conceptboard icebreaker board. You can use the people icons at the top of the board to assign colors to each member.

Write participants names on the colored icons, so they know which color they are. Whenever a participant wants to answer an icebreaker activity, they should use sticky-notes or place dots according to their color.

You can also duplicate the icons and allocate more colors if you have more than seven participants.

We suggest that you pick one or two ice breakers per meeting, and put a time limit on each activity so as not to take up too much of the meeting time!

We’d love to hear which one is your favourite, let us know in the comments below. Or if you’ve got any more great icebreakers you use with your virtual team, we’d love to hear them too!

Need some more tips about how to keep remote teams coherent, productive and motivated? We love these 25 Tips to Help You Manage a High-Performing Virtual Team from Time Doctor CEO Rob Rawson.

Icebreaker Template

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