Trust and effective communication are essential factors for building the productivity of any online team. As such, you must find effective strategies to develop them among your team members to ensure your success and growth.
Virtual icebreakers offer a way for remote teams to build trust and understanding, thus bolstering their productivity. The goal of any virtual icebreaker is primarily to bring a team together and improve collaboration.
For a virtual icebreaker to be effective, it must be engaging and involve the participation of all team members. That way, each teammate will know more about their colleagues and create a stronger bond with them.
This article will explain what virtual icebreakers are, why they are so important, and when to use them – and as a bonus, we’ll give you eight of the best short virtual icebreakers you can use to boost your team’s productivity.
Table of contents
- What are virtual icebreakers?
- Why do you need virtual icebreakers for your online team?
- When should you use a virtual icebreaker?
- 8 best short virtual icebreakers for your online team
- Additional tips to boost team efficiency
- ✅ Use skills assessments to build your online team
What are virtual icebreakers?
Virtual icebreakers are quick online games and activities that help members of remote teams connect with each other on a personal level. They are effective for bringing teammates together or removing tension during online meetings.
Typically, teams introduce virtual icebreakers during online meetings, which can be used at the beginning, middle, or end of a session. Icebreakers usually consist of activities that allow each member to discover more about their teammates.
Although virtual icebreakers are highly beneficial to online teams, it is important to note that the time in which you carry out the activity determines the effect it will have on your team.
For example, holding a virtual icebreaker at the start of your online meeting builds a good rapport to begin the meeting’s main business. Holding the icebreaker in the middle of the meeting will encourage teammates to relax and think up new ideas.
Why do you need virtual icebreakers for your online team?
The fundamental importance of virtual icebreakers is to bring online teammates together and boost their rapport with one another. Given that, between 2019 and 2021, the population of remote workers more than tripled, icebreakers should have become widespread.
However, although a significant portion of the world’s population now works remotely, few organizations have tapped into the benefits of virtual icebreakers.
Remote teams that understand the benefits of virtual icebreakers are generally more productive and don’t see distance as a barrier. Managers can boost efficiency by applying icebreakers while supervising their remote teams.
In addition to building a connection between team members, incorporating virtual icebreakers in your team meetings helps boost creativity, as they ease tension and provide room for teammates to think up new ideas.
Additionally, virtual icebreakers foster team building and interaction, encouraging team members who didn’t feel comfortable speaking up during the meeting to do so more easily. This makes the team more productive and speeds up the rate at which issues can be resolved.
With a good virtual icebreaker, you don’t have to worry about distance being a barrier to your team’s productivity.
When should you use a short virtual icebreaker?
You can use virtual icebreakers at the beginning of an online meeting, in the middle, or right before it ends. As we’ve already mentioned, the time you carry out a virtual icebreaker affects its impact.
So when is the right time to use a virtual icebreaker? The answer is simple: There is no right time to use a virtual icebreaker. But some rules govern the way you should use them.
The most important rule is to use icebreaker activities sparingly. Virtual icebreakers are fun activities meant to unite your team, but constantly adding them to your meetings might make your team members dread them.
You can also add a virtual icebreaker to your meeting when it feels like the atmosphere is dull, tense, or unproductive. By doing so, you can increase your teammates’ motivation when engagement drops.
8 best short virtual icebreakers for your online team
Now you know what virtual icebreakers are and why they are so important, here are eight of the best short virtual icebreakers for your online team meetings:
1. Two truths and a lie
This is an activity that requires each member to tell two truths about themselves and one lie, and the other members have to guess which is the lie. This game is an excellent way for the team to find out more about each other and develop a stronger bond.
2. Would you rather
“Would you rather” is a fun team-building activity in which you present each teammate with a dilemma. In this game, each teammate has to choose between options that are equally or unequally essential.
This activity is great for building team spirit as it helps colleagues know more about each other’s preferences and personalities.
3. Quick questions
Here, you have to ask each team member a set of pre-planned questions either about themselves or a decision they’d need to make. Quick questions is the perfect game for teams that want to find common interests between colleagues.
4. Guess who
This game is best suited for online teams of between three and eight members who have met at least once in the real world. Here, you will provide the team with a character or quality of one of the teammates, and they need to identify who it is.
Guess who helps teams know more about each other’s traits and grow a tighter bond.
5. Riddle icebreakers
Applying a riddle to your online meetings is a great way to engage teammates and improve their problem-solving. In this activity, you will read out various riddles to each candidate in succession, and they must solve each one to gain points.
6. Group Mad Libs
Group Mad Libs is a fill-in-the-story activity in which you group your teammates in pairs and assign them a short story with blank spaces. One of each pair will then read the story to their teammate and ask them to fill in the blank spaces.
Although this game may be tricky, it is an effective way to lose tension as the stories created usually end up entirely different from and more entertaining than the original.
7. Trivia icebreakers
In trivia icebreakers, you need to write down several questions – at least as many as the number of members of your online team. Each question should have a minimum of four options.
As the game progresses, teammates must pick the option that best answers the question. Trivia icebreakers are a fun way to boost the creativity of your online team by allowing them to think critically to provide solutions to problems.
8. This or That
“This or that” is similar to “would you rather”. However, instead of asking the questions out loud, you write them down instead, and the teammate chooses which option they would prefer.
Additional tips to boost team efficiency
Working with others online can be daunting since it requires you to relate with people from different backgrounds and personalities. For your team to work efficiently, teammates need to develop mutual understanding.
Besides virtual icebreakers, there are other ways to get to know the individuals you’re working with, like personality tests. Personality assessments show you how your teammates would react to and handle different situations.
TestGorilla has various personality tests that can help you find out more about your teammates and grow a stronger bond with them. To access these tests, all you have to do is create a free account with us and get started.