Organizational Wellness

45 Engaging Virtual Icebreakers For Meetings

Dec 22, 2023
Last Updated Dec 22, 2023

With so many companies embracing remote work, virtual meetings are taking the world by force. The virtual environment can be convenient for and even inclusive to the workforce for employees working from home, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Getting people to participate and warm up to the group can be a real sticking point, which is why virtual icebreakers can be such a game changer.

Less than half (45%) of workers give their social wellbeing a positive rating, according to a Deloitte survey. This lack of positive working relationships doesn’t just have personal consequences — it can damage morale and productivity in your organization, too. Virtual icebreakers can break down barriers and establish a sense of connection among team members who may never meet in person, strengthening team building despite little face-to-face time. These virtual icebreakers can excite and engage your employees during online meetings so that they feel more connected and ready to participate.

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What are Virtual Icebreakers?

Virtual icebreakers are interactive activities or exercises designed to facilitate connectionteam bonding in virtual or remote meetings. They serve as a means to break down initial awkwardness and encourage participants to interact with each other. Doing so can help create a more relaxed and inclusive atmosphere in the virtual workspace. They also drive engagement and combat isolation, which is particularly helpful in online environments.

Sometimes, icebreaker activities get a bad rap—some people may believe that they are wasteful and take away valuable time from the core agenda of a meeting. However, effective icebreakers can actually improve meeting productivity when coworkers are more engaged and participatory. Others have suggested that icebreakers are superficial, too, meaning people don’t really get to know one another. While some icebreakers are light-hearted, they can lead to deeper discussions and provide insights into team members' personalities and interests.

Whatever the opinions of virtual icebreakers are, remember that they are not just games or time-fillers. They are powerful tools that foster psychological safety and support high-performing teams in remote environments.

15 Quick Virtual Icebreaker Questions

These team-building questions are a great way to encourage participation without drawing too much attention from the meeting’s topics.

  1. Mood Barometer: How are you feeling today?

Ask each participant to briefly describe how they're feeling at the moment, whether it's happy, excited, tired, or something else. This can help set the emotional tone for the meeting and create empathy among team members.

  1. Would You Rather…?

Ask a "Would You Rather" question, such as "Would you rather have the ability to fly or be invisible?" Participants take turns sharing their choices and reasoning. It's a fun way to discover unique preferences within the group.

  1. Quiz Question of the Day

Begin the meeting by posing a quiz question and ask participants to respond with their answers in the chat or by raising a virtual hand. Share the correct answer afterward and leave some time for people to chat about their responses..

  1. Where Are You Joining From?

Each participant briefly describes their location or shares a fun tidbit about it. This icebreaker helps create a sense of connection and curiosity about colleagues' surroundings.

  1. In One Word, How Would You Describe…?

 Provide a topic (like teamwork, the weekend, the weather) and ask each participant to share a single word that comes to mind. This exercise encourages concise expression and can even lead to deeper or humorous discussions. People may learn some interesting facts about teammates or gain more appreciation for the diverse perspectives on the team.

  1. Good Old Times

Invite each participant to briefly share a happy or amusing memory from their past. Try offering a prompt to get the ideas flowing. This icebreaker encourages positive storytelling and can create a sense of nostalgia and connection.

  1. Rank Your Favorites

Present a list of items, such as movies, foods, or vacation spots. You then ask participants to rank them from most to least favorite. Discussion of the reasons behind people’s choices can prompt friendly debates and conversation.

  1. Say It With an Emoji

Get visual with this activity and have participants express their current feelings or reactions using emojis. Ask participants to use emojis to convey how they feel about the upcoming meeting or a specific topic. It's a fun and expressive way to gauge the group's mood.

  1. Draw Your Mood

This one will get the creative and artistic juices flowing as participants use simple drawings or sketches to represent their current moods or emotions. Encourage participants to draw a quick doodle that represents their mood, and then share their artwork with the group. This creative icebreaker adds a visual element to the meeting.

  1. Highlight of the Month

For monthly meetings, have people share a personal or professional achievement from the past month from their personal or work life. Celebrating achievements fosters positivity and motivates the team.

  1. Unsung Heroes

Start the meeting by asking coworkers to acknowledge and appreciate colleagues who have helped them recently. Invite participants to express gratitude by recognizing colleagues who have been helpful or supportive in the recent past. This icebreaker promotes appreciation and teamwork.

  1. What Are You Thankful For?

You can create a great mindset and team attitude by starting meetings with a little gratitude. Encourage participants to express gratitude by sharing something they are thankful for in their lives. This can promote a positive outlook and create a sense of gratitude within the group.

  1. Team Photo

Ask participants to share a photo from their recent experiences, whether it's a vacation snapshot, a pet picture, or a work-related image. You can have people share any photo, or provide a prompt. This icebreaker adds a personal touch to the meeting.

  1. Guess Whose Desk?

This icebreaker leans even more “get to know you” than some. Participants briefly show a portion of their desk or workspace via webcam, and others try to guess to whom it belongs. It's a lighthearted way to learn more about each other's work environments.

  1. Weekend Photo Reveal

At the start of the meeting, ask participants to share a photo or describe a highlight from their weekend. This icebreaker encourages sharing personal experiences and fosters a sense of camaraderie. For a little added fun, you can see if people can guess what the photo will be to see how well the team knows each other.

15 Short Virtual Icebreaker Activities

If you don’t want to go the “questions” route, look no further—these activities are simple but fun, helping bring out the best of your team.

  1. Background Challenge

Announce a theme (e.g., favorite travel destination, dream office, or beloved movie scene), and have participants change their virtual backgrounds accordingly. Then, as they explain their choice, engaging conversations around the theme ensue.

  1. Two Truths & One Lie

This icebreaker invites participants to share a trio of statements about themselves—two true and one false—tasking others with identifying the fabricated statement. As others in the group attempt to discern the falsehood, intriguing insights about team members emerge.

  1. Struggle Sharing

Invite each attendee to briefly share a challenge they currently confront. By doing so, they foster empathy and create a platform for mutual support.

  1. Show & Tell

This icebreaker encourages participants to showcase an object or item from their immediate surroundings, unraveling its significance through storytelling. Ask attendees to select an object nearby and share it on camera, offering a brief narrative about its meaning or why it intrigues them. This activity facilitates personal insights and narratives.

  1. Guess Who?

This interactive game involves participants sharing captivating facts or anecdotes about themselves while others endeavor to pinpoint the facts' owners. Each participant presents their unique facts, and the rest of the group plays detective, attempting to deduce which participant the facts belong to.

  1. Coffee Time

Designate a portion of the meeting as a "coffee break." During this relaxed activity, participants convene for a casual coffee chat to discuss non-work-related topics and nurture social connections. Participants may converse about their favorite coffee or tea, recent hobbies, or weekend plans, forging informal bonds.

  1. Visual Brainstorming

Introduce a topic or challenge and encourage participants to unleash their creativity through visual brainstorming, using virtual whiteboards or drawing tools. This cooperative exercise cultivates innovative thinking.

  1. Meet Up in a Virtual Bar

Create an ambiance akin to a virtual "bar" with background music or visuals. Team members can engage in conversations unrelated to work or chat about their preferred beverages, fostering camaraderie in an informal setting.

  1. Never Have I Ever

Each participant shares something they have never experienced, prefaced by "Never have I ever..." Those who have undergone the experience respond by sharing their accounts. This playful icebreaker unveils unique aspects of each team member.

  1. Donut Friends

An automated tool facilitates one-on-one virtual coffee chats, randomly pairing participants for friendly conversations. Employ a tool like Donut or Slack's Donut integration to randomly connect team members for brief, informal virtual meetings. This can foster personal connections among otherwise distant colleagues.

  1. Online Escape Room

Organize a virtual escape room experience for your team. Participants must collaborate to decipher puzzles and riddles, working together to "escape" within a specified time frame. This challenging and enjoyable team-building activity strengthens cohesion.

  1. Virtual Wine Tasting

Select a variety of wines or other beverages and schedule a remote tasting experience. Attendees can discuss their tasting notes, preferences, and the overall experience, transforming it into a delightful and social activity.

  1. Group Storytelling

Participants collaboratively craft a story, with each person contributing a sentence or phrase, weaving a collective narrative. Begin with a single sentence to commence the story, and have each participant add a sentence or phrase to advance the plot. This shared storytelling adventure stimulates creativity and teamwork.

  1. Online Games

Team members come together to participate in online games, such as trivia or word games, delivering enjoyment and camaraderie. Opt for an online game aligned with your team's interests and preferences. Whether competing or cooperating in games, it's an enjoyable method to connect and relax.

  1. Name That Sound

Compile a list of audio clips featuring various sounds, such as animal noises, famous movie lines, or musical snippets. Play the clips one by one, and encourage participants to guess the origin of each sound. This icebreaker challenges listening skills and invites moments of amusement.

15 Virtual Icebreaker Games & Team Building Activities

 These last 15 virtual icebreakers are a bit more elaborate and focus on the virtual team-building aspect of your meetings.

  1. Home Scavenger Hunt

Provide a list of items or clues (something blue, a childhood toy, etc.) for participants to locate and display during the meeting. This interactive exercise allows individuals to explore their surroundings and initiate conversations.

  1. Team Trivia Quiz

A team-based trivia quiz engages participants in a lively competition where they test their knowledge across various topics. Organize participants into teams and take turns presenting trivia questions. Teams collaborate to formulate answers, keeping score and declaring a winning team at the end.

  1. Song on Repeat

This icebreaker revolves around sharing a cherished song that has been playing on a loop, followed by a brief explanation of its appeal. By playing a snippet or providing details about the track, they express why it resonates with them. This activity unveils shared musical interests.

  1. Zoom Background Charades

Assign a participant to start and provide them with a word or phrase to convey via their virtual background. The rest of the group endeavors to guess the depicted word or phrase, ensuring an entertaining and interactive experience.

  1. Item on Your Desk

 Invite participants to select an item from their workspace and exhibit it on camera. As they describe the object's importance or functionality, colleagues gain insights into their working environments.

  1. The View from My Office

Encourage participants to showcase the view from their office or workspace, and share any interesting anecdotes or observations related to it. This icebreaker fosters conversations and curiosity about each other's workspaces.

  1. Two-Word Check-In

Go around the virtual room and have each attendee contribute two words that encapsulate their present emotional state or prevailing thoughts. This concise practice encourages brief yet sharing, yet the brevity can be profound.

  1. Highs and Lows

Participants take turns discussing the most uplifting (high) and challenging (low) aspects of their day or week. By having each participant briefly share the best and most demanding elements of their recent experiences, you are cultivating empathy and support on your team.

  1. Common Ground

Each participant reveals an interest or experience, like a hobby or favorite travel destination. When someone else identifies a common interest or experience, they engage in a conversation about it. This activity promotes connections and shared passions.

  1. Play to Your Strengths

Invite each participant to pinpoint a personal strength or skill and elaborate on how it can enhance the team's effectiveness. This exercise encourages self-awareness and underscores team members' valuable assets.

  1. Digital Scavenger Hunt

A modern twist on a classic game, digital scavenger hunt has people looking for answers in their electronics. Distribute a list of items or clues and set a timer for participants to find the items or scenarios from their photos or files. The first to share all items wins, creating an enjoyable and competitive atmosphere.

  1. Company Trivia

In this game, participants engage in a trivia quiz centered on their company's history, culture, or industry knowledge. Participants can respond individually or in teams, reinforcing their knowledge of the company in a playful manner.

  1. Name That Tune

Participants can play a snippet (e.g., 10 seconds) of a song using their device's audio. The rest of the group endeavors to guess the song's title and the artist responsible for it. This activity allows for shared musical appreciation and amusement.

  1. Emoji Charades

In this activity, participants choose an emoji that they think represents a specific emotion or experience. Then, others take turns guessing the meaning behind the selected emoji— which may even encourage people to share funny stories about when they’ve needed to use those emojis.

  1. Pair & Share

Divide participants into pairs and set a timer for brief individual exchanges (e.g., 3-5 minutes). During these intimate dialogues, participants share personal information, such as their interests and hobbies. Rotate pairs periodically to facilitate broader interactions.

Breaking the Ice with Wellness

Virtual icebreakers have unique benefits in remote team building, especially for fostering positive team dynamics and employee wellbeing. They have a profound impact on team morale and ultimately help the workforce feel more connected and productive.

Wellness initiatives don’t have to stop there. Icebreakers promote social wellness, but employees have a range of needs that organizations benefit from supporting. For example, 93% of workers say their physical wellbeing impacts their work productivity, according to The State of Work-Life Wellness 2024 report from Gympass

With tools like mental wellbeing resources and fitness opportunities, Gympass can help you discover the right wellness program for your organization. Reach out toa Gympass wellbeing specialist for help giving your whole organization a boost!

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Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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