Over the last few years, we’ve seen a surge in remote networking and team-building. It’s made it easier for individuals to connect with more people and more diverse people than ever before. It’s easier than ever before to get to know your colleagues with features like Coffee Chats or Team Facetimes (Venue makes this super simple!). But technology isn’t the only variable.
Let’s face it – connecting with new people (virtually or otherwise) can be challenging. Icebreakers and conversation starters are a great way to get the remote networking flow going.
Icebreakers give your networking participants some easy onramps to interact, so how can you plan an icebreaker activity that’s actually fun? We’ve put together some of our top tips for choosing an icebreaker and rounded up some of our favorites for your next event.
Picking the right icebreaker
Your choice of icebreaker will be one of the attendees’ first impressions of each other, so make sure to pick one that’s the right fit for your team. Here are some tips for picking an icebreaker that people are actually genuinely excited to join, or to use in their one-on-one convos.
One of the biggest factors in choosing an icebreaker activity is the size of your audience.
If you choose a more time-consuming icebreaker for a group of 50-100 people, it could be too time-consuming! You want people to get to know each other, not spend the entire time running through your to-dos. On the other hand, with a more intimate group (especially one-on-ones!), you probably don’t want to end up with an icebreaker that only lasts two seconds.
Sometimes icebreakers can feel completely out of left field. The best icebreakers are relevant to the event, team, or business at hand.
If you’re running networking with your team, consider icebreakers that highlight some of the characteristics of who’s attending. For example, if you’re running a networking event for your marketing team, the icebreaker could revolve around marketing.
If you’re running a company team-building exercise, perhaps your icebreaker is geared towards your company’s bigger-picture goals, or team-specific interests.
While you want to keep your icebreaker relevant to your business, you also want it to be relevant for the individuals attending.
Let’s just say an older audience might not be as excited about sharing their first TikTok experience the same way a younger audience might. But: any audience might be excited for an icebreaker about their first concert or favorite hobbies.
As well, it’s important to pick an icebreaker activity that’s inclusive. This ensures that everyone in your audience can comfortably participate.
While an icebreaker is an important warm-up, it’s quite possibly not the core of your virtual event. You need to make sure the activity you choose complements the rest of your meeting, if networking is just one item on your agenda. Here are some logistical things to consider when choosing your icebreaker.
- Time – how long do you have to run the icebreaker activity (and networking in general)?
- Platform – what interactive options are available to you on your platform? (ie. breakout rooms, polls, Q&As)
Icebreakers can often take on a different role depending on the event or meeting. In some situations, such as networking, the icebreaker is designed to help people get to know one another. In others, it’s designed to be a warm-up for the main event.
Before choosing your icebreaker activity, take some time to evaluate your goals. This way, you know that the icebreaker will serve your event in the best way possible!
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Effective (and fun) ice breakers for remote networking
There are a million and one icebreaker ideas out there – some amazing and some not so much. At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced those icebreakers that are boring or even straight-up uncomfortable.
To avoid those groan-worthy activities, we’ve put together a list of our favorite ice breakers that your team will look forward to.
Questions of the day
Simple but effective, asking an interesting question (or questions) of the day is a great way to kick off a networking or team-building event.
Questions are a fantastic way to engage with virtual crowds of any size. If you’re running your event on Venue, you can use the polling function to facilitate a “question of the day” icebreaker!
Feel free to get creative! Your questions can be thought-provoking or straight-up silly and fun. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- What are you looking forward to about today’s event?
- Would you rather be an elephant or a goldfish?
- What is your favorite book or movie?
Looking for a fun digital twist? Consider having attendees respond to questions with emojis or even drawing them out on a virtual whiteboard!
A great way to commemorate an event, take a team picture together! While you can keep it simple with a smiling photo of everyone on the screen, you can also make it more fun.
Some ways to get creative with pictures include:
- Question and answers – Have everyone write an answer to a question on a piece of paper and hold it up.
- Themed photo scavenger hunt – Set a one minute timer for everyone to find an item or prop in their house to match your theme.
While not a game like a traditional icebreaker, team photos are a quick and easy way to kick off an event. Try suggesting a format for Venue’s built-in profile photo feature, like “visiting the beach” or “your best selfie face”. Mix it up from meeting to meeting!
Two truths and a lie
Two truths and a lie is a classic icebreaker that translates beautifully to a virtual setting, especially in smaller groups.
Go around the virtual breakout room and ask everyone to share 3 facts about themselves. Two of the facts should be true, and one will be a lie. Then the rest of the team is tasked with guessing which fact is the lie!
This is a great activity for smaller teams since it can take some time to get around to everyone.
Always a crowd favorite, trivia is a great way to get the team excited for the day ahead. Choose a fun topic that’s relevant to the day’s events and get ready for everyone to unleash their competitive side!
Pre-seed some trivia at your next meeting with Venue’s Poll feature – it’s a fun way to get the entire team involved in a quick and engaging activity that’s super-easy to set up! If you want to turn up the heat during your icebreaker, add a prize for the trivia winner!
Run the best icebreakers ever
Icebreakers are the underdog of every remote networking or team-building event. They aren’t the star of the show but can make or break the experience.
Try out some of the icebreaker tips and activities above, and your networking sessions will be – if you’ll forgive the pun – cool as ice in no time!