49 Icebreakers For Work, Virtual Meetings, Large And Small Groups

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Ben Aflalo

Head of Product at Gloww

ice breaking games

Are your virtual meetings falling flat? If you’re struggling to keep everyone engaged during those all-hands meetings or interdepartmental get-togethers, think about spicing things up with ice breaker games

From yes and no games to drawing competitions, there are plenty of ice breaker activities you can work into your next corporate event. 

What Is an Ice Breaker Game?

Ice breaker games have been used in team-building sessions and corporate get-togethers for decades. These activities are designed to thaw tension and encourage collaboration. They’re ideal if you’re bringing new hires into the mix, ensuring wallflowers don’t spend months avoiding colleagues. 

Ice breaker activities come in many varieties. Some are as simple as asking leading questions, while others see groups tasked with challenging puzzles that need to be solved. The end result is that everyone’s put on an even keel, improving communication and fostering a culture of connection and teamwork. 

Why Your Team Should Play Ice Breaker Games

No matter whether your employees are based in a single location or scattered across the globe, ice breaker games are the way to go if you’re looking to keep everyone connected and boost productivity. They’re particularly useful for companies that rely on remote workers, bridging the distance between employees who’d rarely, if ever, interact in the real world. 

You can incorporate ice breaker activities into online team-building sessions, or kick off all-hands meetings with a few rounds of classic trivia games. 

They’re also valuable if you’re bringing new talent into your teams.  Ice breaker games make it easier to get to know the people you’re working with, establish common ground, and improve communication. 

With Gloww, it’s easier than ever to liven up those virtual get-togethers. Add music and video to spice up online meetings, engage your audience with quirky live polls, or test everyone’s knowledge with trivia quizzes. You can even use digital sticky notes or whiteboards to get everyone interacting.

Ice Breaker Games to Get to Know Each Other

Looking for fun ice breakers to get everyone talking? Whether it’s a game of tic-tac-toe or a personality quiz, there are plenty of activities you can use to establish common ground. 

Diversity Bingo

An interesting twist on a classic game, diversity bingo lets colleagues get to know each other. First, create a bingo sheet with interesting facts and trivia tidbits on each square. Your employees then need to actively engage with each other to find out which information applies to which person. 

Statements can be specific to a single person or more general. If you are taking a more general approach, limit the number of times players can use the same person to tick off boxes on their bingo sheet. 

Speed Dating

Many people turn to speed dating to find romance. 

However, you can use the same basic approach to get remote employees talking to each other. Split remote workers into pairs, provide them with a conversation starter and let them talk. Speed networking works best if you limit conversations to a couple of minutes before pairings are reshuffled.

Whose Story Is It?

Great for breaking the ice and guaranteed to raise a few smiles, this game sees participants write down an amusing anecdote from their past. Whoever is chairing the meeting then reads out one story at a time, with everyone else having to guess who the tale applies to. 

The Toilet Paper Game

To put this ice breaker game into practice, make sure every attendee has a roll of toilet paper to hand. Then, ask everyone to rip off how many sheets they’d normally use during a trip to the bathroom. While this game might seem a little embarrassing, it’s more likely to put people at ease than lead to red faces. 

You make things more interesting by using the number of sheets as a guideline for how many facts the worst offender should reveal about themselves. 

Word Pairs

This icebreaker game requires a little preparation. Before you start your meeting, draw up a list of common word pairs. Think hot and cold, light and dark, sweet and sour, and so on. Then, assign a single word to each participant. Meeting attendees then need to talk with everyone else in the group to find their pair. 

To make things more difficult, establish a rule that players can only ask closed questions. 

Human Knot

If you’ve ever participated in a team-building session before, you’ve probably encountered the human knot game. Traditionally, this game involves several participants twisting themselves together before joining hands. 

The group then needs to untangle themselves, without breaking their grip. Unsurprisingly, this icebreaker activity is hard to put into practice online. However, you can substitute the human knot for virtual untangling games. 

The Great Egg Drop

The egg drop is one of the most team-building activities of all time. If you’re hosting a virtual team meeting, you can still make the egg drop a staple of your sessions. However, you’ll need to be pretty strict when it comes to rules. Draw up a list of materials that players can use to keep their eggs protected as they fall. 

You’ll also need to determine the height of the drop. To ensure nobody’s cheating with a hardboiled egg, get them to shine a flashlight through the shell to see if it’s translucent. 

The Marshmallow Building Challenge

This activity is one of the more fun icebreaker games around and can be held virtually. Make sure everyone’s stocked up on marshmallows before your meeting gets underway, then task them with building the tallest structure possible. 

You can be as generous as you like with the time limit. Watching everyone try, and often fail, to stop those marshmallows from tumbling down is guaranteed to raise some laughs and break the ice. 

The Barter Challenge

The barter challenge involves taking a few jigsaw puzzles, mixing up the pieces, then asking several groups to do their best to put together a complete puzzle. Naturally, no team is going to have a full set of jigsaw pieces, which is where the bartering angle comes into play. To complete a team jigsaw puzzle, players need to use their negotiating skills to make trades. 

It works well in the real world but can be a little tricky to pull off virtually. To make this one of your online ice breaker activities, think about setting everyone the same digital puzzle and see who solves it first.

Team Drawing Challenge

This virtual icebreaker always goes down well. Split everyone into teams of two, then get one player to describe something to the other person so they can draw it. It can be a thing, place, or person. If you’re describing people, assemble digital copies of the finished results in an online portrait gallery. 

The Perfect Square Challenge

Otherwise known as the blind square or the rope challenge. Assign attendees into groups of four, then provide them with blindfolds and a long piece of rope or string. Groups then need to do their best to form a perfect square without peeking. If you want to use this game as a virtual icebreaker, ask participants to blindfold themselves and attempt to create a perfect square with a piece of twine at their desks. 

The Spaghetti Tower Challenge

This is similar to the marshmallow building game, only now players need to use sticks of pasta to build the tallest structure possible. In most variations of the game, players are only allowed to use masking tape to keep all those strands of spaghetti together, before crowning their structure with a single marshmallow. 

Name That Song

This is one of the easiest virtual icebreakers to pull off online. You can play a short snippet of a track and see who guesses first. Alternatively, get players to hum their own take on a popular song to see if coworkers can guess the melody. 

The Emoji Game

Emojis are a great way of mixing up popular games. Get players to describe the titles of famous novels or popular movies in emoji form. Some people will have a real talent for this, while others will leave you scratching your head. 

Movie Trivia Challenge

Trivia challenges are one of the most accessible group games around. Avoid topics that are too specific and frame your icebreaker questions around blockbuster movies and Hollywood franchises instead. 

Large Team Icebreakers

Searching for quick ice breaker games for a larger group? We’ve picked some of the best games you can play if you’re hosting a particularly big online get-together. 

Who Am I?

Most people can pull off at least one great impersonation. Get your teams to show what amazing mimics they are and see how quickly everyone else can guess which famous face they’re trying to initiate. 

Grandma’s Footsteps

Nowadays, this game is more commonly known as Red Light, Green Light. It might not seem like a practical choice for online meetings, but it can work incredibly well virtually. Pick one person to play as grandma, then have them turn away from the screen. 

Next, get everyone else to take 10 steps back from their screens. The person playing as grandma stays turned away while everyone else slowly creeps back towards their desk. If anybody is caught moving when grandma snaps their head around, they’re eliminated from the game. 

Charades

Charades is a popular parlor game, but there’s no reason why you can’t bring the fun to your online meetings. In fact, this classic guess-the-word game works incredibly well virtually. You can keep things broad to make it easy for everyone, or stick to categories that tie in closely with your company culture. 

If you’re hosting a big meeting, think about assigning players to smaller groups and assigning points to the most successful teams. 

The Name Game

Perfect for larger groups, this activity allows everyone to introduce themselves but also makes for a challenging game. 

The first person introduces themselves, while the second person introduces themselves and repeats the name of the person before them. The third person in the chain has to introduce themselves and repeat the name of the previous two people, and so on. 

Best Background Contest

Virtual backgrounds have become a staple of remote working. 

Why not use them as the basis for an ice breaker game? Let people know in advance so they’ve got plenty of time to create a captivating background. You can even put a twist on it. Ask attendees to select backdrops from their favorite sitcoms and award points to whoever correctly guesses the set.

Heads Up!

You’ve probably played this one before with sticky notes stuck to your forehead. You can also play it online, and it’s actually a great virtual training idea too. Share the name of a historical figure or famous face with the group, keeping one person out of the loop. That person then needs to guess who they are by asking closed questions. 

20 Questions

This classic game works very well with bigger groups. You can make it as simple or as complex as you want. However, it tends to be more enjoyable if you pick obscure places or little-known celebrities. 

Trivia Game

With trivia games, you’ll never struggle to find new questions and fun facts to give your teams a mental workout. Use a quickfire round of trivia as the perfect ice breaker. You can also make them a staple of every virtual meeting, using online leaderboards to bring in some friendly competition. 

Group Storytelling

Kids love this game, but adults will also enjoy it. Essentially, you’re telling a story, one word at a time. The first person kicks things off with a single world, with the next one adding another, and so on. Get someone to keep track of what’s being said so you can read out the finished tale at the end. 

Scavenger Hunt

You have a couple of options here. A virtual scavenger hunt is a great idea if you want people to work together, sending them off to scour the internet for obscure facts and hard-to-find images. However, you can also put together a list of common items most people should have laying around the house. Call these out randomly to send your teams scouring their home. The first one back at their desk with the item you’ve requested wins. 

Ice Breaker Games for Small Groups

Planning a smaller meeting? You’ll need to rethink your approach to ice breaker activities. Need some suggestions? We’ve selected some of the best ice breaker games you can play with smaller groups. 

Personality Quiz

A go-to ice breaker that’s bound to thaw a tense room, personality quizzes are a good way of bringing some interactivity to your meetings. You can get people to complete a quiz before the meeting gets going, then discuss the results once you’re all together.

The No Smiling Game

This activity works just as well as online as it does in a traditional office setting. Basically, one person has to keep a straight face while everyone else in the group tries to make them laugh. Jokes, weird noses, and funny faces are all fair game here. 

This Is Better Than That

Use this activity to liven things up if a meeting is getting a little stale. Get everyone to put together a random assortment of objects, then split participants into small teams. Ask people what they’d use to survive as a castaway on a desert island. The one who makes the case for the most useful item wins. 

Just Like Me

This game’s great for bringing wallflowers out of their shells. Get everyone to stand or raise their hand, then reel off a list of random questions. 

You’ve plenty of options here: Who’s a dog person and who prefers cats? Who’s an early bird and who’s a night owl?

It’s an effective way of establishing the similarities between individuals. Once you’ve finished this game and the ice has been broken, build in a break so people can socialize. 

Never Have I Ever

You’ve probably played this as a drinking game in the past. However, it’s also a good way to break the ice at the start of a meeting. Everyone needs to hold up their hand and take turns making the “Never have I ever…” statement. If other players have shared the experience, they put a finger down. If they haven’t, they keep those digits pointing upwards. The first person to end up with a balled fist wins the game. 

Word Association

Stick to the classics with a game of word association. If you’re hosting a corporate get-together, try and tie the theme to your line of work. This activity encourages creative thinking, but it’s amazing how random some of the responses will be. 

Pictionary

When in doubt, use a drawing game to spice up your meetings and break the ice. Pictionary can be played in person or online. Each player takes turns trying to draw something, while the first person to correctly guess what it is, wins. 

Bucket List Brainstorming

It can be hard to get people to open up and talk about their dreams and passions. However, you can make life easier for shy and retiring types by bringing brainstorming into the mix. Use virtual brainstorming tools to get people to reveal more about themselves. Some encouragement is usually required, so frame this activity around bucket list goals. 

Would You Rather Ice Breakers

Everyone loves the “Would You Rather” game. The rules are simple. One person asks a leading question while everybody else takes turns giving their answer. Need some help putting together some killer questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Travel Questions

Framing your questions around travel is a great way of learning about your coworkers. Think about asking them whether they’d prefer a sun-soaked vacation in the Maldives or a weekend stay in a city. 

Food Questions

You don’t have to be a gourmand to get competitive about food. When it comes to talking about favorite dishes, people get surprisingly animated. Try asking your teams whether they’d rather stick to sweet snacks or savory dishes for the rest of their life. 

Want to gross out the group? Ask them whether they’d rather eat a bowl of bug once or have to stick with curdled milk for a year. 

Fashion Questions

As with food, people are particularly particular about their fashion. Find out what brands your teams are loyal to by asking them which labels they’d rather wear. As a rule, try and keep things simple. Think gold or silver, hoops or drops, and stripes or spots. 

Technology Questions

Most of us are glued to one screen or another at some point during the day. This makes the world of technology a rich source of questions. Ask coworkers which social media platform they’d rather use, which smartphone manufacturer they’d rather stick with, or which everyday essential they’d rather save above all others. 

Entertainment Questions

When it comes to entertainment, we all have our guilty pleasures. 

Ask your coworkers which streaming service they’d rather choose above all others. Alternatively, take your inspiration from pop culture and the world of celebrity. Ask people which Kardashian they’d rather be stuck in an elevator with, which long-gone celeb they’d bring back from the dead, and so on. 

Relationship Questions

Working on some relationship questions is a good way of learning more about what makes your coworkers tick. Ask people whether they’d rather stay at home on the couch for date night or burn through a monthly paycheck during one dinner at a five-star restaurant. Try and keep things very loose here, as not everyone participating is going to be in a relationship. 

Career Questions

Career questions not only break the ice but make this game far more valuable for corporate settings. Ask participants whether they’d rather be in a high-paying job they hate or spend decades working a low-paid role in an industry they love.

Ice breaker questions for virtual meetings

Sometimes, the only ice breaker you need is a simple question. If you’re hosting a virtual meeting, have a list of go-to favorites ready and waiting to reel off. 

Where Are You Based?

If your company employs a lot of remote workers, your talent is likely to be distributed across the world. For first-time meetings, getting everyone to share where they’re calling in from is a great way to break the ice. 

Each person can take turns sharing their location as they introduce themselves. Alternatively, use an online poll or interactive elements to create a group map, with each participant pinpointing their exact location. 

If You Could Be Any Animal, What Would You Be?

This question seems rather innocuous, but it can tell you a lot about a person. Ask everyone to pick out the critter that they think best represents them. You can keep it light and ask for nothing else, or probe participants to explain why exactly they’ve chosen their answer as their spirit animal. 

What’s Your Favorite Dish?

Revealing a favorite dish says a great deal about a person. More confident people will go into detail about why they love a particular recipe so much. They might have a fascinating story go along with a family favorite or an anecdote from their travels. 

Not only does this question help thaw an awkward gathering, but it can also establish common ground and get remote workers talking to each other. 

What Was The First Job You Ever Had?

For corporate meetings, this question helps get the ball rolling nicely. Make sure everyone’s participating in this game, no matter how senior their current position is now. 

It reinforces the idea that everyone has to start somewhere and career progression is possible. Once again, it can help spotlight similarities between people, helping build rapport and encouraging teams to communicate beyond an email exchange. For more ideas on managing remote teams, check out this article here.

Got A Cure For Hiccups?

If you want to mix things up, think about asking a question that doesn’t really have a proper answer. Everyone knows how infuriating a case of hiccups can be and most people have at least one unusual remedy to tackle them. 

Some solutions might actually work, but you’ll find most remedies fall squarely in the strange category. 

Icebreaker games for new hires

The onboarding process can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with remote workers. It’s even more difficult if those new hires aren’t particularly confident. The good news is that ice breaker games can once again be used to make everyone feel at ease. 

Got a Good Joke?

Sometimes, it pays to put someone on the spot. Instead of asking someone to reveal their life story, ask them to share a joke with the team. While not every joke is going to land, you’ll find that most people are fairly generous when it comes to offering a laugh to make those new hires feel more welcome. 

The “I Agree” Game

This game’s a great way of testing the waters with a new starter. Draw up a list of statements and ask the new hire whether they agree or disagree. You can keep it corporate with statements about leadership or teamwork, or bring some out-of-the-box topics into the mix. If you’re hosting a meeting with multiple new hires, use polls to get everyone’s input. 

Make Them Mingle

If your schedule allows, it’s always worth freeing up some time at the start of a virtual meeting for a mingling session. As long as everyone’s been sent an agenda, they can discuss the topic of the meeting and plan contributions ahead of time. It also lets fresh hires break the ice with their new colleagues. 

Here’s how to create a seamless remote onboarding experience for a successful onboarding of new hires.

Need Help Hosting a Virtual Meeting?

If you’ve made the switch to the remote work model, you might be finding it hard to keep your colleagues engaged with virtual meetings. Whether it’s a quarterly or monthly online get-together, an all-hands meeting or a team-building session, ice breaker games are perfect for getting everyone talking and putting new hires at ease. 

Looking for an all-in-one platform to elevate your online meetings? 

Think about giving Gloww a try. Our browser-based solution makes it easy to host engaging online sessions. You can use the Gloww presentation templates to make your life easy, or personalize your own with unique branding. 

You can also incorporate a wealth of interactive elements, including quizzes, polls, word clouds, and more. Perfect for all those icebreaker activities you’ve got lined up. 

For more inspiration on team-building-related articles, check out how to boost morale with team music activities, how to have a fun virtual lunch, virtual team building activities, and how to host a great virtual holiday party.

Get started with Gloww today or check out our pricing plans to see which service is right for you. 

Do you have more questions about Gloww? Send us a query via the online contact form.

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ben aflalo

Ben Aflalo heads Gloww's product team with over two decades of leadership experience. Passionate about leveraging innovative technology, he is committed to building products for the greater good.

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