The New Normal Calls for New Icebreakers!
As we approach the end of our second month of social distancing to fight COVID-19, virtual meetings have likely become a regular part of our work-from-home lives. As many of you may have learned by this point, though, these meetings can often become dull and unenergetic, and focusing can often become difficult. That’s where icebreakers can help get your meetings off to a good start!
At Summit, we’ve spent the past two decades designing innovative activities and programs that energize and engage our clients, and we have a reputation for delivering team experiences that break the mould. Given the current circumstances, we’ve put our heads together to discover and create new icebreakers. These are activities that can attain the same objectives we’ve aimed for in our programs over the past two decades. Here are ten icebreakers team building activities that you can try in your next Zoom meeting to energize and re-engage your team.
1. Raise Your Hand
In this spin off of our Take A Stand activity, the facilitator of this icebreaker will have a list of statements based on people’s experiences, values, or opinions that can either apply to participants or not (e.g., whether you’re a fast driver, fan of hockey, etc.). If the statement applies to the participant, he or she will utilize the Raise Hand button of Zoom to raise their hands. Alternatively, you can get participants to simply raise their hands, or even take a stand, if you’re on Gallery View on Zoom. This is a great activity to not only break the ice, but to get your team to know a little bit more about one another. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it highlights the Raise Hand feature of Zoom if your team recently started to use the application.
2. Heads and Shoulders
In this activity, the facilitator will need to have prepared a series of trivia questions with two possible answers. For example, one such question would be “Does Wayne Grezky have more regular NHL season goals or assists?” If participants believe the answer is goals, they’d put their hands on their heads, and if they believe the right answer is assists, they’d put their hands on their shoulders. The facilitator would then reveal the correct answer, and those who did not get the right answer will press the Stop Video button on Zoom to temporarily stop sharing their video, indicating that they are out of the round. The last person remaining in the game will be the winner.
3. Everything from A-Z Icebreaker
The larger team will be broken up into multiple smaller teams via the Breakout Rooms feature on Zoom. Once they are in their breakout rooms, participants will have 5 minutes to find items in the room that they are calling in (or, shall we say, Zoom-ing in) from that starts with each letter of the alphabet. They will need one item for each letter, and each item can be used once only. For example, they can use Apple for A, and Book for B. Each team will also select one recorder to write down what each item they have found for each letter. Once their time is up, the facilitator will bring the team back to one call, and the recorders from each team will share what they came up with.
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4. Team Trivia
Similar to Head and Shoulders, the facilitator in this activity will also need to prepare a list of trivia questions ahead of time. After breaking up the larger team into smaller groups – also using Zoom’s Breakout Rooms feature – the facilitator will send the list of trivia questions to each group via email or the File Transfer feature (under the Chat bar). Teams will also need to select one writer each to record their answers. Each team will have a set amount of time to work through the trivia questions (depending on how many questions there are), and once time runs out, the facilitator will call the separate breakout rooms back into the larger Zoom meeting. The facilitator will then get each team to share their responses to each question, and track their scores as the answers are being revealed using the Whiteboard option under the Share button.
5. Something in Common
This simple icebreaker will also take advantage of Zoom’s Breakout Rooms option. Let Zoom automatically assign the larger team into groups of 2, and give them 5 minutes to find 5 UNIQUE things that they have in common. Within those 5 minutes, participants also need to choose the most unique thing that they have in common with their partner, which they will share with the larger group once they go back to their larger meeting.
6. Guess Who?
Start by getting participants to think of a unique and interesting fun fact about themselves. Then, using the Chat option on Zoom, have each person send the fun fact (or favourite song, hobby, etc.) only to the facilitator (and not to Everyone). Alternatively, the facilitator can have participants email the fun fact to the them. Once the fun facts have been collected, the facilitator will read each of the fun facts to the group, and as each fun fact is read, the larger team will try to decide who the fun fact belongs to (this might be a good time to use the Polling or Annotations options on Zoom). The objective for the team will be to try to connect the fact to the right participants as many times as possible.
7. Birthday Lineup Icebreaker
In this challenge, the objective is for participants to order themselves according to their birthday within the span of a year (no, the year does not matter!). However, the challenge here is that they are neither allowed to speak nor use the Chat option on Zoom. By the end of the activity, each participant will need to determine and write down what number order they are within the group. For instance, if there 10 participants in my Zoom call, and I believe that my birthday is the first in a year, I will write down 1 on a sheet of paper. Once the facilitator finishes explaining the objective of the challenge, she will mute all participants and give them a set amount of time to complete the challenge depending on the number of participants. Once time is up, participants will reveal what number they wrote down together, and the facilitator will confirm the birthday of each participant to see how well the team did.
8. Flat Lay of Your Desk
The final three icebreakers on this list will be simpler get-to-know-you activities that will give each participant a chance to share a bit about themselves to the rest of the team. If your meeting has more than 15 participants, it is suggested that you divide them into smaller Breakout Rooms in order save time and maximize engagement.
In the first of these activities, have each participant take a flat lay of their desk (i.e., a photo of items on the desk they’re working on taken from directly above). Then, have each participant share their photo with either the rest of the group or their breakout room, and have them tell a brief story about any of the objects that are on their desk.
9. Bon Appétit
Give participants a minute or two to determine the most interesting yet useful app on their phone. Then, have each participant share their app with the rest of the group. While participants share their apps, the facilitator will keep track of each app that has been shared. At the end of this activity, the facilitator will send out the list of Essential Apps to the entire team. Alternatively, in place of apps, you can also do this activity with books, recipes, movies, and more!
Finally, in this activity, have participants pull up the Photos app on their phone and look at the most recent photo they took. Have each participant share their photo, and briefly tell the story behind the photo. This is a great way to get participants to share how they’ve been spending their time over this social distancing period!
We hope that these icebreakers will help you energize your next Zoom meeting and give your team a chance to have some fun together over this period. If you’d like to experience one of these icebreakers and more of what Summit can offer virtually, register for our Virtual Showcase.