You probably know that too: The next online team meeting is coming up and once again nobody is really motivated. The manager speaks, the rest sit around in silence, commenting on nothing and just secretly hoping that the meeting will soon pass again. Get rid of boring meetings and drama!
Every meeting with your colleagues should be fun, stimulating, and creative. Everyone should get the chance to bring in ideas and perspectives.
We have collected a few tips and tricks, which guarantee fun and variety for everyone in your next online meetings.
Icebreakers are used by every trainer. As the name suggests, they should help to “break the ice”. Especially at the beginning of a meeting to activate the body after a hard day or if new employees meet the first time, they are commonly used.
This article is all about icebreakers and when and how to use them.
What is “Icebreaking”?
Icebreakers are short, interactive, often communication games that are used at the beginning of a seminar or meeting, after breaks or simply in between. The group’s focus is set on seemingly unnecessary task for a few moments. However, the exercise relieves stress and gives your head time to breath and be off topic for a few moments. It is recommended to use icebreakers if you need or had to concentrate for a longer time. Especially in an online setting an icebreaker is a welcome distraction.
The short exercises are also ideal for meetings to bundle and center the energy of the individuals. They could draw the team’s attention, get individuals out of their thoughts and give space to take part in relevant conversations. Above all, they help to break the oppressive silence in the room if nobody really knows what to talk with each other. Incidentally, the motivation also increases.
There are given so many good reasons to integrate a few icebreakers into the next online meeting!
Relaxed introductory questions as an icebreaker
Something easy to start with: A good communicator always knows how to wake up the crowd and encourage conversation. A good way to get the groups focus is getting everyone to say something as early as possible. It doesn’t have to be anything significant: Often it is enough for a short “hello” or an insight how everyone is feeling. A casual question about getting started, which everyone will answer briefly, is a nice start into a meeting. So, come up with something that is fun and thought-provoking. Here are a few examples of a casual “check-in”:
- If you were a cocktail, which one would you be?
- Which one is the most horrible film, you have ever seen?
- Describe your current emotional state with an object in your room.
- What would you do with one million €?
- What was your highlight of today until now?
- When you were able to go back in time, in which time would you travel?
- If you were stranded on an island, which 3 items would you like to have with you?
Games, Games, Games
For those, who think questions are “too boring”, the following short communication games could be the right choice. We have collected 5 great icebreaker games for different personalities that get every meeting and team building on a next level.
1.) Who are you?
Everyone starts to describe themselves with three things that begin with the first letter of his or her name. The descriptions don’t have to fit to the person, they are simply intended to increase the mood. An example: “My name is Carla, I’m a clown, love coffee and am a choleric.” So, it’s more about finding funny associations than actually applicable ones. Still: if it fits, it’s even better!
2.) Guessing objects
All participants grab an object, without showing it to the others or talking about it. One person starts and holds the object above the camera, so that the others can not see it. Slowly the person moves the object from above into the camera and shows a little bit of it. The other participants have to guess the object. If they do not get it, the person shows a little more. As soon as someone guesses right, the object is revealed and the next one is on. The game is a funny way to start into an online meeting.
3.) Truth or lie?
This introductory game needs a bit longer, than the others. First of all, all participants do have 3 minutes to think about 3 interesting facts or funny stories about himself or herself. The facts or stories can also be invented. Later on, each person tells those 3 facts or stories to the others. The team then must consider which of the anecdotes is a lie and which are correct. It’s a funny introductory game that also helps team members get to know each other better. Depending on the group size the participants should be divided in groups of three and be send into breakout sessions.
The coin game is a casual warm-up game, which can usually be played in every meeting. One person holds three coins in the camera and reads out the year the coin was minted. Each team member must then tell a story of what he or she did in the year one of the coins was minted. This is a good game to get to know each other better and to start a conversation.
5.) Travel slideshow
Every participant selects a holiday picture and sets it as virtual background in the online meeting. One person starts to tell the story related to the picture. This is a good chance to get to know each other better and exchange memories.
The right choice – using the appropriate icebreakers.
The examples mentioned are of course not the only icebreakers that coaches and the internet have come up with. There are endless ways to initiate conversations and pick up a group. It is important that you choose the right tactic for your situation. Here are some guidelines:
1.) Time limit
How long will we have time? In a meeting for half an hour, short introductory questions are more likely than games and the opposite maybe for longer meetings.
What is the meeting about: relaxing in the middle of a long training session, focusing before an important meeting or getting to know various groups? Do fears of contact have to be reduced or should there be just an entry point found?
Who are the people the icebreaker is designed for? Where does the seminar, training or meeting take place and what is the general atmosphere like? What are the participants interested in? Are they shy or open-minded?
Check the criteria first to easily find the right icebreaker.
The goal of icebreakers is it, that everyone is feeling comfortable and ready to get in touch with colleagues. In addition, the participants should step out of their comfort zone, loosen up and activate the body. Often just 5 minutes of preparation is enough to try different icebreaker at every meeting. Even in regular meetings, short icebreakers have a very positive effect on the atmosphere and the output of the meeting. Use our icebreaker ideas to build strong, effective teams. Be creative!