Updated: April 18, 2024

Virtual Ice Breakers: Games & Ideas for Meetings

Here is our list of fun icebreakers for virtual meetings.

Virtual ice breakers are games, ideas and activities that help participants have fun and build social connections. You can use these ideas at the start of virtual meetings, and for welcoming new participants. Example games include charades, ice breaker questions, and two truths, one lie. The purpose of these activities is to create a warm and pleasant environment and do team building remotely. These activities are also known as “remote icebreakers” and “online icebreakers.”

These exercises are virtual versions of icebreaker games for large teams and icebreaker activities for small teams. These activities are also examples of virtual team building exercises, Zoom icebreaker ideas, and team building ideas for conference calls.

virtual-icebreakers

This list includes:

  • virtual icebreaker games
  • virtual ice breakers for work
  • virtual team ice breaker ideas
  • virtual meeting icebreakers
  • short virtual icebreakers
  • quick virtual icebreakers
  • virtual team building icebreakers
  • virtual icebreakers for large groups

Here we go!

List of virtual icebreaker games & ideas

Here is a list of virtual team ice breaker ideas to help remote teammates socialize.

1. 30-Minute Virtual Icebreakers (Top Choice)

30-Minute Virtual Icebreakers is one of the top short virtual icebreakers that will seamlessly break the ice! This hosted virtual experience will captivate teams through thoughtful games that spark conversations.

Here is what is in store:

  • a 30-minute session guided by a skilled facilitator
  • high-energy icebreaker activities and engaging games
  • thought-provoking questions that start meaningful interactions

These exercises kickstart in-depth conversations that will last throughout the entire day. So check out 30-Minute Virtual Icebreakers to foster a stronger sense of community within your team!

Learn more about 30-Minute Virtual Icebreakers.

2. Virtual Icebreaker Bingo

Bingo is one of the most popular virtual meeting icebreakers where participants use Bingo card questions as conversation prompts.

The facilitator will first split the group into pairs or manageable numbers of not more than five. Next, the leader will generate the bingos. In each breakout room, participants will use the Bingo cards to ask each other questions. Every time a description matches a member of the team, players can mark the square. The game continues until a team gets five squares in a row or blacks out the entire card. Teams can try to get Bingo as many times as possible within the allotted time. For a successful bingo activity, it is best to use simple prompts. For example,

Here is an Icebreaker Bingo card you can use for your game:


Bingo is a great choice for new teams as it encourages conversation.

For more ideas on icebreaker Bingos, try this icebreaker Bingo generator.

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3. Virtual icebreaker questions

Using icebreaker questions at the beginning of virtual calls is one of the best ways to create a relaxed environment for your team.

Good icebreaker questions are open-ended and nudge participants to converse. You should ensure that the questions are interesting enough to engage your team. As a best practice, avoid one-worded or short answers questions. For example, instead of asking someone, “Which town do you come from?” you may ask, “What do you like most about your hometown?”

Other examples of icebreaker questions include:

  • What’s an easy thing on your bucket list that you have not done?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • Which celebrity do people say you look like?

Here is a free virtual icebreaker question generator to use:

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Icebreaker questions allow your team to interact better and are particularly helpful to new and shy members. These questions provide your team members an opportunity to get to know one another better.

For more icebreaker questions ideas, check our full list of icebreaker questions for work, these virtual icebreaker questions, these Zoom icebreaker questions, and these team building questions to ask.

4. Virtual Charades

Charades is among the best quick virtual team building icebreakers to brighten participants’ moods.

To play this game, participants will remain silent as they act out a word or sentence. Simply put the performer on spotlight and let the rest of the team members will figure out the message from the performers’ gestures. The goal of the game is to communicate the prompt without using words.

For large teams, you can split participants into smaller groups of about five members. These smaller teams may use a charades generator for prompts, and work together to figure out the charade phrases.

Here are some tips to make your charade session fun.

  • Brief the participants on the game basics to ensure that every player understands how to play.
  • Set clear rules and expectations for the activity.
  • Allow participants to set predetermined gestures for the game.
  • Mix simple and hard charade clues. It is a good idea to include short phrases and compound sentences.
  • Make the charade look like competition by awarding points to correct guesses and possibly prizes.

Charades are appropriate for teams of all ages, thus, a handy icebreaker activity for employees and students.

Here is a link to a charades prompt generator.

5. Two Truths One Lie

Two Truths and One Lie is among the best virtual team icebreakers for teams.

To play this game, each participant shares three sentences about themselves. However, one statement must be a lie. The lead player may twist or omit a detail of a true story to make that one sentence untrue or can completely fabricate a fact. The rest of the participants guess which of the statements is a lie. Once all the participants have made their guesses, the lead player will reveal the untrue statement. Finally, the lead player will pass a turn to one member who guessed correctly.

If you wish to play two truths and one lie for a new team, then it would be best to let participants interact first. For instance, you can group the participants in fours or five into breakout rooms. These participants will introduce themselves and later play the game amongst themselves.

Check out more question games.

6. Association Introduction

Association Introduction is one of the best online team icebreaker activities for small groups. In this introduction game, members associate participants with a conspicuous physical attribute, which facilitates memorizing team members’ names.

To play, the facilitator will assign each member a number as they join the meeting. The team member assigned number one will be the first to introduce themself. The next, team member number two, will introduce participant number one then themself.

For example,

Member no.1: My name is Jenny, and I live in Oslo

Member no.2: The blonde is Jenny from Oslo, and I am Rashid from Cairo.

Member no.3: The blonde is Jenny from Oslo. The man with a mustache is Rashid from Cairo, and I am Joel from Rio.

As other members introduce you, you will wave your hand. The association introduction goes on until the first member becomes the last. At that point, member number one will introduce all the rest.

This activity is a perfect icebreaker for recalling folks’ names as it involves multiple introductions of the players.

Pro tip: When describing your predecessor, only use neutral opinions like eye color and choice of cloth. Avoid describing participants with offensive adjectives like fat, ugly, and arrogant.

7. Ladies and Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen is one of the top virtual ice breakers for work that tests attentiveness.

The aim of this game is to pay attention to words that start with the same letter as your gender. For instance, you will play ladies and gentlemen in the first round. In this case, the ladies stand up, and men sit whenever the leader mentions a word that starts with the letter L. When the leader mentions a word that starts with G, gents will stand, and ladies will sit. For example, “Lisa and George got married last month and now live in Mali.”

In the subsequent rounds, the leader may choose male or female, he or she, man or woman, and similar variations to determine the choice of words to use. If the leader chooses to go by ‘male or female’, ladies will stand up to the word that starts with F, and men to those words starting with M. For example, “Fiona will make us fish and macaroni, but I miss having mangoes and figs.”

The icebreaker starts with all members standing. However, at no other time during the game should both groups do the same action.

You can also divide the group in other ways beyond gender, for instance by hair color, departments, or east coast vs west coast.

8. Would You Rather

Would You Rather is among the most intriguing virtual icebreakers for remote teams. In this activity, the players present weird questions and take turns to answer.

To play, the facilitator will first generate several would you rather questions,  write the questions on different cards, and finally, label each card with a number. Next, each player will choose a number, and the facilitator will read the question on the card bearing the mentioned number. The players will take turns answering the selected question.

Alternatively, participants may make up their own questions or use a generator to create prompts.

Here are good examples of Would You Rather questions.

  • Would you rather take your child to work or your pet?
  • Would you rather have four hands or four legs?
  • Would you rather spend a month without Instagram or Facebook?

Would You Rather is a creative way to discover team members’ interests and values. The game is suitable for students and teams in all professions.

For similar ideas, check our full list of Would You Rather Questions.

9. Ice Breaker Songs

Using songs as icebreakers for remote teams is one of the simplest ways to liven up a virtual meeting. Songs can warm up vocal cords and make participants feel more comfortable chatting with each other.

You can use songs in a variety of ways. Here are interesting examples:

  1. Guess the tune. The leader will play a part of the song for three to five seconds. The players listen and guess the song’s details. For instance, the artist, the name of the song and the year the song was released. Players can shout out the answer or type responses in the chat.
  2. Sing along. The leader plays an instrumental track and encourages participants to sing the words karaoke-style. The leader may share the lyrics on a split-screen so that all members participate.
  3. Continue the song. The leader will put the music on for five seconds and then mute the song. The members will pick up and continue the song. Occasionally, the leader may unmute the song to keep the participants on key and on track.

Here are handy tips for choosing an effective icebreaker song

  • Choose songs with chants and refrains
  • Select popular tunes
  • Choose songs that are simple to learn
  • Mix fast and slow tempos
  • Pick a song that teammates can dance to

Check out this list of team building songs for inspiration.

10. Me Too

Me Too is on the top list of virtual icebreaker ideas for meetings. This exercise pairs team members with similar experiences.

Before the game starts, ask the participants to display all the ten fingers. Alternatively, they can hold ten pens, straws, toothpicks, or other similar objects. Throughout the game, the participants must make the fingers or the objects visible on the Zoom screen.

The leader will choose one player to kickstart the game. That player will mention something they have ever done. For example, swimming in a freezing pool during winter. Next, every other team member who has ever done the same thing will shout, “Me too!” as they bend a finger or reduce one pen by removing it from their hand and placing it on the table. The next player will share an experience, and the same response goes on until the team gets a winner. In this case, the winner is the first person to bend all their fingers or run out of objects.

The idea of the Me Too game is to identify common ground like hobbies and character and further facilitate friendship.

11. Marooned

Marooned is one of the most effective quick virtual icebreakers. This exercise is also useful for enhancing communication and problem-solving skills.

Participants can compete individually or in teams.

The team leader will give participants a survival scenario. The players will brainstorm the solutions for about five minutes. Finally, each team will share their answers.

Here are two examples of Marooned prompts:

  1. You and your co-workers are going on a one-week camping trip in a forest with zero cell phone signal and no electricity. What five objects will you pack?
  2. You and your friend are stranded on a foreign island. Neither of you have phones. The island has food, but you do not understand the natives’ language. How will you get back home?

Note: When playing as a team, one of the rules is that the number of items required in a marooned prompt remains constant. Therefore, the game will need teams to agree on the best answers.

12. Zoo Line-up

Zoo Line-up is one of the most creative icebreaker ideas for Zoom meetings.

To begin this zoo line-up game, the leader will ask the participants to think of a zoo animal they like the most. The leader will then ask the participants to pretend to be the chosen animal by imitating the chosen animal’s sound. The participants must not speak during the entire exercise. If the players are unfamiliar with the animal’s sounds, then they may use gestures to describe the animals. For example, holding hands high to signify horns.

To make this activity orderly, members will mute their device and only unmute to produce the animal sound when the leader prompts. The rest of the members may jot down the animal they think members represent.

The next task is for participants to line up the animal in order, from the tiniest to the largest. Team members can do this by commenting on the chat section. Finally, the leader will ask the players to reveal the name of the chosen animal to confirm whether the guesses and the order is correct.

This Zoo Line-up icebreaker is best combined with introductions. This game enhances memorization by associating participants’ names with the zoo animal they represented.

13. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are fun icebreakers that promote quick thinking and build lasting memories.

The goal of the scavenger hunt is to engage team members to  locate or photograph particular objects within a specified time limit.

The leader will ask the participants to find certain items. The participant who locates the most required items within the timeframe or shows each item on screen first wins the round.

Here is a guide to doing scavenger hunts virtually.

14. Daily Trivia

Trivia is a great way to get workers warmed up for the day. Trivia questions cover a variety of topics, from geography to food to television. To include this activity in your virtual meeting, pick out a question ahead of time. You can either create a poll for a multiple-choice style question, or you can have participants message you their answers privately. Whoever answers the question correctly wins!

Check out team trivia questions.

15. Drawphone

Telephone is a childhood classic, and now, you can play it digitally! To start, have a host start a party. Then, the host will send a code to the team so they can join in.

The game will begin by giving players a prompt, and players draw it to the best of their ability. Once all participants submit their drawings, the game will “pass” you a picture from another artist. You must guess what is in that photo. Your guess is then sent to the next artist, who draws it as best as they can. The cycle continues until you end up with your original drawing, then the group can share their creations!

Drawphone is a fun way to get the whole team laughing.

Play Drawphone.

16. Poem-a-Day

Listening to poetry is a great cultural experience, and it can spark interesting conversations between colleagues. Poets.org regularly posts previously unpublished poetry by contemporary poets. You can even listen to recordings of authors reading their poems. Afterward, you can ask your employees discussion questions, such as:

  • Who is the speaker of the poem?
  • How does this poem make you feel?
  • What is your favorite metaphor?

Thinking about poetry gets gears turning and unlocks creativity.

Read a Poem-a-Day.

17. Online Tour Guide

In this icebreaker, have each employee prepare a quick description of their favorite tourist attraction in their city. This description can include fun facts, history, and photos. For a fun bonus, have presenters include a photo of themselves at the location. Each employee will give a short presentation of the attraction, then the meeting attendees will all guess which city the presenter lives in. This is a great way for the team to get to know one another, and maybe these destinations will inspire a road trip!

18. One-Word Story

This game is perfect for groups of any size. To play, have one employee start by saying a word, like “once.” The next speaker adds another word, like “upon.” Each team member gets the chance to say one word, and when they finish, the story is over, even if it does not make sense! This game can produce unexpected and hilarious results. We recommend asking one teammate to write down each new word so they can read the final results to the whole group!

19. Team Venn Diagram

Creating a Venn diagram can connect coworkers with similar tastes.

To try this icebreaker, choose a topic ahead of time, like, “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” Then, go to Text Magic to create a free Venn diagram. You can customize each setting, like the background color, font color, and text size. Next, add titles to each side. You can ask teammates to share whether they are a cat or dog person, then write their names down in the respective circle. Employees who like both can go in the middle of the diagram. At the end, the whole team can see who has the same preferences!

This activity works with a wide variety of topics, and you can add as many circles as you would like.

Make your own diagram with Text Magic.

20. Favorite Affordable Belonging

This quick show-and-tell activity shares a bit of the team’s personality, and as an added bonus, they might find fun new items to buy! Before your meeting, ask your colleagues to pick out their favorite possession that costs less than $20. Employees will take turns showing off their items and talking about why they like them. These objects could be kitchen gadgets, books, video games, or even spa essentials. If possible, ask the team to provide a link to purchase their object. Then, you can compile all the belongings into one big shopping list!

21. Shark Tank

In this game, your team will take a page from the popular TV show’s book and pitch ideas to each other. Before your call, ask the team to come up with something they can sell to the group. Pitches can be about objects, services, or activities. Employees will take turns proposing their ideas, and the group can vote on whether or not they would invest. At the end, the team can vote on their favorite presentation. For an added challenge, you can set a time limit for each speaker.

22. Concentration 64

This schoolyard game is a fun way to test workers’ memory skills. To play this virtually, the host will recite the following introduction:

Concentration 64, no repeats or hesitations. I start, you finish. Category is…

The speaker then chooses whichever category they would like, such as animals, plants, or TV shows. Players take turns answering the prompt. However, if any contender repeats an answer or hesitates for too long, then they are out of the game. The chain continues until only one employee is left standing!

To make this game more challenging, choose specific topics, like ’80s action movies.

23. Writing Prompt Generator

To help get creative juices flowing, consider trying out a writing prompt generator. WritingExercises has a variety of prompt styles, from first lines to character traits to town names. You can have employees all write from the same prompt, or they could generate their own from the same category. Once participants have their prompts, give them a set amount of time to write. At the end of the time, go around and have each team member read their stories aloud.

Check out WritingExercises.

Conclusion

Virtual icebreakers are a crucial part of conducting remote meetings. These games and activities are useful in introducing coworkers, warming up the meeting environment, and enabling participants to enjoy the virtual meeting. For remote team members, who interact less often than in-office workers, virtual icebreaker exercises also help them overcome jitters and be more comfortable interacting.

Next, check out these collections of virtual icebreakers for large groups, icebreaker jokes and get to know you questions.

We also have a list of the best Zoom team building exercises, a list of the best virtual team energizers, and a list of fun remote team event ideas.

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FAQ: Virtual icebreakers

Here are answers to questions about virtual icebreakers.

What are virtual icebreakers?

Virtual icebreakers are activities remote teams use to feel at ease and set the right mood for the virtual calls. These online icebreakers include brainteasers, conversation starters, songs and introductions. These exercises are also known as “ice breakers for virtual meetings” and “virtual icebreaker games.”

What are some good virtual icebreaker ideas for remote teams?

Some good virtual ice breakers for remote teams include association introductions, me too, hot seat, and word tree. These icebreaker activities spur conversation and help members remember each other’s names.

How do you do virtual icebreaker activities?

The following are useful tips for conducting a successful virtual icebreaker activity.

  • Prepare a list with a variety of icebreaker activities
  • Brief the participants on the rules and the basics of the game
  • Choose interesting activities based on the composition of the team. For example, team members’ age, background, and familiarity level with each other.
  • Schedule icebreakers activities in the morning or at the beginning of the meeting.

Generally, virtual icebreakers should be simple to conduct so that participants can fully enjoy and benefit from the ice breakers. These ideas will enhance icebreaking for virtual teams.

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Author:

People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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