How to Avoid Awkward Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

All of us have dealt with awkward situations. Whether it’s a job interview, a first date, or a school presentation, awkwardness is a fundamental aspect of our lives. When you incorporate icebreaker activities into a virtual gathering, you run the risk of increasing the level of awkwardness, where you might do more harm than good.

However, when executed properly, icebreakers for virtual meetings can help improve team communication, build relationships, and facilitate collaboration in the workplace. In this guide, we will show you how to combine the two, so you can enjoy the benefits of virtual icebreaking activities while minimizing the awkwardness. 

Benefits of Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

In case you need a refresher, an icebreaker is an activity conducted for the purpose of initiating social interactions between co-workers. Think of them as conversation starters that help you connect with other employees on a personal level. According to a Team Bonding report, 65% of remote employees have never participated in a team-building session activity.

When you manage a company of remote workers, employee engagement may be a challenge, and you have to find ways to strengthen company culture through interactive activities. Fortunately, icebreakers for virtual meetings offer several benefits, including:

  • Introduce new members to their co-workers
  • Help employees learn more about each other personally
  • Establish a level of fun in team activities
  • Mitigate any feelings of isolation
  • Ensure your workers feel relaxed

When employees develop lighthearted connections with each other through icebreakers or team-building activities, the result is a level of closeness that opens up an opportunity for improved productivity and collaboration.   

Avoiding Awkwardness during Icebreakers

With all that said, virtual icebreakers can backfire on you, especially when your employees feel forced to participate in something they don’t enjoy. Consider the following tips when conducting icebreakers for virtual meetings for the best results:

Keep it simple

The goal of an icebreaker is to initiate a fun exercise that fosters employee communication. Don’t fall into the trap of turning virtual activities into an unsolvable maze with no enjoyment whatsoever. If you start with complex instructions and unclear guidelines, the results won’t be as positive as they could be.

Try something simple. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of 100+ icebreakers for inspiration. Some of our favorites are:

  • If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be?
  • What’s your plan for the zombie apocalypse?
  • What’s your go-to karaoke song?
  • What’s your drink of choice?
  • Beach or mountains?
  • What’s your favorite vacation spot?
  • What have you learned recently?

The good news is, an icebreaker can be virtually any question. Just keep it simple and fun.

Keep it short

Just because you want your employees to interact with each other doesn’t mean you need to drag out a simple exercise. Sometimes, a quick one-minute introduction from each of your workers is all you need to set the tone for the rest of the day. Since you’ll be conducting virtual sessions, you should take into account the different time zones your participants are in.

Rather than taking over a meeting with social time, try adding in social bookends more frequently to one of your daily meetings. Just five minutes a day with your team can go a long way to getting to know each other more personally to improve your relationships.

Use the right networking platform

Zoom and Teams are great for information sharing and presentations, but they aren’t great for building relationships. Participants can’t move around actively from one conversation to the next or break into small groups at will. Consider using an alternative.

Remember the purpose

This tip is a no-brainer. Determine what you hope to accomplish by starting your virtual gatherings with an icebreaker. Are you trying to bring your workers together? Help them learn some trivia about the company? Perhaps you want to lighten the mood by having everyone name their favorite tune. Whatever the case, determining a clear purpose will help you facilitate successful events. 

Keep the topics light

There is an unwritten rule in the world of icebreaker games: Never ask participants to share uncomfortable personal information about themselves or reveal any embarrassing secrets. The last thing you want to do is make someone uncomfortable by pressuring them to answer a question that seems downright inappropriate for work. Be considerate when selecting icebreaker questions. 

Here are a few more icebreaker questions for work you could consider:

  1. Who was your favorite childhood teacher and why?
  2. If you won the lottery, what would you do with it? 
  3. What is your favorite animal and why?
  4. What shows are you watching currently?
  5. Did you have any pets growing up

For more icebreaker questions, read our blog post with 100+ creative icebreakers

Now that you have a good understanding of how to keep ice breakers for virtual meetings fun instead of awkward, let’s talk about the best platform for virtual meetings — Scoot.

Host Better Virtual Icebreakers with Scoot

Icebreakers for virtual meetings can be just as enjoyable as in-person activities. They can foster collaborative relationships, incorporate new workers into the company mix, and establish a workplace culture that values personal engagement. If you’ve decided to test our innovative meeting platform, request a demo today. 

Contact us to see how Scoot can help you promote employee engagement and improve productivity.