20 Fun Zoom Improv Games for Work in 2021

Home » Resources » Zoom Improv GamesUpdated: December 06, 2021

You found our list of the best Zoom improv games for work.

Zoom improv games are challenges where participants act out unscripted scenes based on prompts and suggestions. For example, Meeting Quirks, Props, and One Line At A Time. The purpose of these exercises is to improve team members’ critical thinking and reacting skills, build trust among teammates, and promote team bonding.

These are a type of Zoom game and online team building game and are similar to improv games for large groups.

This article includes:

  • virtual improv games
  • Zoom improv warm ups
  • virtual improv team building exercises
  • theatre games to play on Zoom
  • Zoom improv activities

Here we go!

List of Zoom improv games

Here is a list of fun improv games to play on Zoom with coworkers, friends, family members, or classmates.

1. Background Information

Background Information is one of the most fun Zoom improv activities. To set up the game, first ask for two or three volunteers. Next, spotlight the volunteers. Audience members pick a random Zoom background for each participant, and send those pictures to the players. The actors must base the scene around the virtual background. For instance, if one player had a volcano as a background and the other a bank, then the actors might pretend they were supervillains calling in to a Zoom meeting to plot a world takeover.

For more of a challenge, have the audience send backgrounds mid-scene and make players adapt the skit to the change of scenery.

2. Read My Lips

Read My Lips is a virtual improv communication game. To start this exercise, one or two players volunteer to turn off their sound. Next, a couple of players act out a sketch. When the first group is done, the second group turns the sound back on and either summarizes the scene, or re-enacts it. After the recap, the audience can reveal how close to the truth the guess was. The farther off the interpretation is, the funnier the game tends to be.

3. Reactions to Reactions

Reactions to Reactions is an interactive improv game for Zoom. To do this activity, participants will use the reactions feature on Zoom to share an emoji. Players acting out the scene must respond to the emoji. For example, if an audience member shares a scowling emoji then a character might get mad, a heart could prompt flirting, and a vomiting emoji could make a character fake a hangover. The fun part of the game comes when players use obscure emojis such as an octopus or a tree, as characters must interpret and act out those symbols in a way that makes sense to the scene.

To make the game more orderly, you can choose the players who are allowed to react and limit the number of reactions per round.

4. Scenes From a Chat

Scenes From a Chat is one of the best virtual improv games. In this activity, meeting participants set up the scene by making suggestions. To start the exercise, the leader picks two volunteers. Then, the leader asks for audience suggestions for the scene setting, characters, and situations. Audience members type recommendations into the chat, and the leader picks the most entertaining options. The chat tends to move fast, so the process works best if the host asks for one category at a time.

Once the situation has been decided, the actors play out the scene.

5. Spontaneous Karaoke

Spontaneous Karaoke is a musical online improv game. To start the exercise, the game master chooses characters and DJs. The characters receive a premise for the scene, and start acting. At any point during the scene, the DJ’s can start playing music. The characters then must sing their dialogue to the tune of the song, which turns the sketch into an improv opera or musical. The challenge is in carrying the tune and thinking up lyrics on the spot, and this game works best when played by seasoned performers.

Pro tips: Use karaoke backing tracks so that you can hear the made-up lyrics. Choose unexpected songs to make the game more fun. Here are instructions on how to share audio on Zoom.

6. Alphabet

Alphabet is one of the most simple Zoom improv warm ups. To start the game, first designate a turn order. Next, choose a setup for the scene through an improv prompt generator. The first player will speak a phrase beginning with the letter A, the next player will start their sentence with the letter B, and so on. The game ends when the group completes the entire alphabet, or when a participant pauses too long or uses the wrong letter.

7. Meeting Quirks

Meeting Quirks is a work-themed version of the improv game party quirks. In this activity, half of the participants will be neutral observers, and half will be characters. At the start of each round, privately message a quirk to each character actor.

For example:

  • Participating in Zoom meeting while in line at an amusement park
  • A teenager who has accidentally entered his parents’ Zoom meeting
  • A corporate spy trying to learn the company’s trade secrets
  • An elderly woman who has mistaken this meeting for her Zoom knitting club
  • A ghost doing their first possession
  • A sleepwalker

Then, the group acts out a meeting on a random topic. At the end of the meeting, the observers must guess each of the characters’ quirks.

8. The Counting Game

The Counting Game is one of the simplest virtual improv team building exercises. The point of the activity is to count to ten as a group, one person at a time. However, if two players say the same number at once, then participants must restart the count at one. This game helps teammates read body language on Zoom and can help participants improve their timing and decrease instances of talking over each other on calls.

To make the game more challenging, you can ask participants to turn their cameras off, or continue the count past ten to see how high the group can go.

9. Questions

Questions is one of the easiest improv games to play on Zoom. The only rule of this game is that all dialogue must be in question form. To start the exercise, give players a situation, and choose a character to go first. The first player will ask a question, and another player will respond. Actors can challenge each other by addressing questions directly to other players. Any participant who pauses, freezes, or responds with a statement must turn their webcam off and sit out the rest of the scene. The game ends when only one player remains, or when the scene reaches a natural end.

Here are more question games to play at work.

10. Rhymes

Rhymes is a speaking improv game that encourages players to make spontaneous poetry. You will need at least three players for this game, and should have no more than six to eight players maximum. To start the exercise, set the situation for the scene, and choose a player to give the first line. Every reply must be a rhyme. Players must rhyme the previous statement at least once, however can rhyme the same word multiple times. For example, if the last word of the statement was tree, the next few lines might end in “bee,” “ready,” “woe is me,” and so on. Players cannot end phrases in words that do not rhyme with anything, such as silver or orange.

You can also challenge certain players to respond to the rhyme by spotlighting these individuals.

11. Mimic

Mimic is one of the most fun theatre games to play on Zoom. The purpose of this activity is to copy the behavior of another player. At the start of each round, two players volunteer. One will be the main, and the other the mimic. The main character will act out a scene, and the mimic must follow their lead. To make the game more entertaining, the main character can use props and force the mimic to improvise with whatever objects are within reach. At the end of the game, the audience can score how well the mimic copied the main character.

12. Line, Please

Line, Please is a game where players must read out random lines in the middle of the action. First, characters start acting out a situation. At any point in the scene, an audience member can shout out “Line, Please!” Then, the players must use a random line generator and read the prompt out loud, and adapt the scene around that line.

If you want to make the game more interactive, then you can ask other audience members to think up the lines before the game starts and privately message those phrases to the players instead of using a generator.

13. Puppet Master

Puppet Master is one of the most fun big group Zoom improv games. To start the exercise, the leader chooses a few volunteers, and at least one puppet master. The audience does not know the identity of the puppet master, as the leader privately messages the person. The leader sets up the scene, and the actors start the sketch. Throughout the scene, the puppet master privately messages the actors commands, and the actors must follow those orders and work the requests into the scene immediately.

At the end of the game, the rest of the audience can guess the identity of the puppet master.

14. Props

Props is a Zoom improv game that uses objects. At the start of each round, the game master tells players to grab a prop. The game master does not reveal the purpose of the props or give information about the scene, however can give guidelines such as “something you can wear,” or “something red.” Once players return, then the game master reveals what the props are for. For example, “these objects are your inheritance from a deceased wealthy aunt,” or “this item is your spy listening device.” Players must then act out the scene accordingly.

15. Over to You

Over to You is a mock meeting game. The premise is that participants are presenting during a Zoom meeting. The first player reads a prompt from a generator, then presents accordingly. The player must somehow make the random situation relevant to the business meeting. Once finished, the player picks a teammate to go next, and says, “now, NAME, over to you.” The next player in line repeats the process. To make the game more fun, you can also prepare fake unlabeled reports and graphs or slideshows that participants must present and explain.

16. One Line at a Time

One Line at a Time is a storytelling exercise where participants make up a story by adding sentences one by one. This game is one of the best virtual improv team building exercises. You can either play by typing responses into the Zoom chat or saying the sentences out loud. You can also spotlight different characters to add the next line. If you have a big group, then you can split attendees up into breakout rooms.

You can also turn the game into a listening exercise by challenging an audience member to repeat or summarize the story once it is complete.

17. Newscast

Newscast is a roleplaying improv game where actors make up fake news reports on the spot. The game begins with the meeting host spotlighting two anchors. These anchors each get two or three random fake news stories or headlines, submitted by the audience, to read and explain during the broadcast. At random points during the game, the anchors can pass the action over to another player by announcing the sports, weather, cooking, interviews, on-the-scene reporting, or commercials. The anchor can introduce another teammate as the presenter, or the host can choose a random participant.

Pro tip: Virtual backgrounds make the game more entertaining and involved.

18. Word Association

Word Association is one of the easiest Zoom improv warm ups and works for groups of all sizes. A leader reads out a list of random words one by one, and meeting attendees share the first word that comes to mind, either by shouting it out or typing it in the chat. The leader can acknowledge unique or unusual responses and ask participants to explain why that word came to mind.

Check out more vocabulary games.

19. Commentary

To play Commentary, the host chooses two or three actors and two or three commentators. The host spotlights the actors and gives them a situation to act out. Then, the commentators unmute themselves and narrate the action. The actors must respond to the comments and adapt the scene to the commentary. For example, if a commentator says, “Ronaldo is about to make a touchdown, which means we may see his famous touchdown dance,” then Ronaldo should dance. The scenes do not need to be sports-related. For instance, actors may be contestants on a cooking show, or the scene may be a situation that normally would not get commentary, such as kids running a lemonade stand.

20. You Can Say That Again

You Can Say That Again is one of the most fun theatre games to play on Zoom. A few volunteers start acting out a scene. Anytime a character says, “you can say that again,” the player must repeat their last line, but give it a different meaning by using a new tone and feeling. For example, a player might sincerely say, “I am so excited,” another character says “you can say that again,” and then the first character says “I am so excited,” sarcastically. The actors must adapt the scene depending on the emotion the speaker uses. This game helps teammates be more aware of tone and improve their emotional intelligence.

Check out more communication games to play with teams.

Final Thoughts

Improv games are a way to keep energy up and encourage participation during Zoom meetings or gatherings. These exercises keep attendees alert and encourage folks to think on their feet. Not to mention, improv is entertaining, and can create inside jokes and shared experiences that form the foundations of relationships. Also, doing improv can improve team members’ confidence. You can use improv activities as an icebreaker or energizer for meetings, or can organize improv nights as a virtual team building outing. These activities work best if you have a group full of outgoing personalities, however improv exercises can also help shyer teammates break out of their shells.

For more fun, check out this list of Zoom drinking games, this guide to virtual game nights, and this list of fun communication games to play at work.

We also have a list of improv prompts for your games, and a list of the best improv books.

FAQ: Zoom improv games

Here are answers to common questions about Zoom improv games.

What are Zoom improv games?

Zoom improv games are challenges involving unscripted skits that test teammates’ quick-thinking and reacting skills. Examples include word association, questions, and one line at a time.

What are some good Zoom improv games to play with coworkers?

Some good Zoom improv games to play with coworkers include scenes from a chat, you can say that again, props, and line please.

How do you play improv games on Zoom?

To play improv games on Zoom, first choose the exercise. Be sure to explain the mechanics of the game to the group. Next, ask for volunteers, and then ask for suggestions of scenarios from other players. Finally, start the scene and watch the players act out the skit. You can end the scene once the action reaches a natural conclusion, or after a set amount of time. Improv games do not have point systems or winners and losers, and are meant to be played for fun and entertainment.

Why should you play virtual improv games during meetings?

There are many reasons to play virtual improv games during meetings. These games are fun and can be energizers or de-stressors. The exercises improve participants’ teamwork, reaction skills, and quick-thinking abilities. Not to mention, improv boosts trust and improves communication.

What are some good tips for playing improv games on Zoom?

Some good tips for playing improv games on Zoom are to spotlight the performers, restrict scenes to a limited number of actors to eliminate awkward pauses or folks talking over each other, and use breakout rooms so that more team members have a chance to participate. You can also record the meeting to capture and relive the magic, if performers are comfortable with you doing so. Another good tip for in-person or virtual improv is to ask for volunteers instead of assigning actors, as some people may be shy or need time to warm up to the idea of trying improv.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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