The New Normal Calls for Icebreakers! Zoom Icebreakers!

As 2020 continues on, virtual meetings have become a normal part of many people’s work life. Many of us have experienced online meetings to be dull and unenergetic, with many video screens off. Staying focused and engaged can be difficult. This is where Zoom icebreakers can help get your meetings off to a good start with your virtual team! Even if you’re not using Zoom, try these out regardless of the virtual meeting platform you’re using.

At Summit, we have 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 mold. Given the current circumstances, we have put our heads together to discover and create new icebreakers that work well in virtual team environments. These icebreakers are energizers that can be used to boost your online team meetings if you use Zoom or not.

1. Raise Your Hand

Get to know each other in a new way. During this icebreaker, one person reads a list of statements of varying experiences or values (such as raise your hand if you’ve gone skydiving, were a star athlete in high school, prefer dogs over cats, etc…). If its true of them, participants will raise their hands or use the raise hand button on your virtual platform. 

Hint: Make your list as varied, light-hearted, and fun as possible. You might discover some unusual facts, talents, and preferences of your co-workers.  

2. Guess Who?

Before the meeting, have participants send you 1 or 2 unique, interesting, fun, and true facts about themselves that others might not know. The facilitator can mix up the order and read each of the fun facts to the group. The objective for the team will be to try to connect each fun fact to the correct participant. If your virtual platform has a polling feature, it can be a fun way to do this – give 5 names as options to choose for each fun fact. Alternatively, possible choices can be put on a presentation screen and while sharing your screen, participants can stamp annotate their choice. Each person can keep track of how many they get correct to determine who knows the team best.


RELATED: The Circle of Influence Model: A Pro-Active Tool for Anxious Times


3. A GIF is Worth 1000 Words

Finding the perfect GIF can be worth a thousand words. They are a great way of injecting humour and creativity into an online meeting. Send participants into breakout rooms of 3-4 people with a phrase or statement that can be summed up with the perfect GIF. Teams will need to know how to share their screens with each other as they search and then show their GIF to the rest of the team when they return to the main room. Example phrases to find a team GIF could be…

  • How we feel when the doorbell rings
  • What good leadership looks like
  • How we look when we dance
  • How we feel on Friday afternoon (or Monday morning)

If you have a smaller team, each individual can find a GIF that…

  • Describes their personality
  • Describes their ideal team culture

This is one of our favourite icebreakers that works with Zoom and other online virtual meeting platforms.

4. Recent Photo Story

Have participants pull up the Photos app on their phone and look at the 3rd most recent photo they took. Each person can share their photo, and briefly tell the story behind it. This is a great way to get participants to share how they’ve been spending their time and in getting to know each other.


RELATED: How to Run a Virtual Meeting


5. Word Recap

Use an online whiteboard for team members to either annotate text one word per person that describes any number of things. For example, you could ask people to describe their last week/month, current team atmosphere, what they appreciate most about the team,  how their day is going, what mood our customers in, etc… It is a quick way to start a discussion about culture, detect possible shifts in the atmosphere, and reasons to appreciate each other. A word cloud generator is another great tool to facilitate this activity.

6. Birthday Lineup Icebreaker

The objective is for participants to determine and write down on a piece of paper what number they think they are when they consider their birthday compared to their teammates birthdays in chronological order from January 1-December 31 (no, the year does not matter!). For instance, if there 10 participants, and I believe that my birthday will be the 7th to occur in calendar year, I will write down a 7 on a sheet of paper. The facilitator will explain the objective as well as share the golden rules which are: no speaking, cannot use the chat feature or text/call each other, and writing your birthday on paper or phone and holding it up to the screen is not allowed. Give the team a set amount of time (depends on the size of the group). Once time is up, participants will reveal what number they wrote down at the same time, and from 1-10 (or whatever number of people you have) share their birthday to see if they got the order right. 

7. Ying Yang

A fun way to get to know more about the team is to have two seemingly opposites along a continuum line and have participants place themselves along the line using annotate stamp or by drawing on a whiteboard. Pairs such as planner/spontaneous, think before I speak/speak as I think, introvert/extrovert can be a welcome break to an otherwise one-side presentation and is a way to maintain engagement with your audience or team. You can make your pairs relevant to what you are talking about. Ying Yang can also be inserted into a PowerPoint and can be done all at once or as a quick breather throughout a meeting.

8. Bon Appétit

Give participants 30-60 seconds to determine the most interesting yet useful app on their phone. Then, have each participant share their app with the rest of the group. This can be done verbally if you have a smaller team or in the group chat if you have a larger team. Make sure someone is tracking responses, and the facilitator can 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!

Get Your Personal Copy Plus Two Bonus Icebreakers and Facilitator Tips

Get a PDF version of these Zoom icebreakers plus two more along with tips on how to facilitate virtual team meetings

We’re Here to Help

At Summit, even though we haven’t been able to be with teams in person for a while due to public health restrictions, we are able to support teams virtually with various team and leadership development modules and a few of our team building programs. If you just want to plan to have a fun break with your team and contribute to the care of your team’s well-being or grow the self and team awareness and capacity, we’re here to support you! Contact us to learn more. We’ll hop on a Zoom session with you and try out a couple of these icebreakers!