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Six Great Icebreakers for Remote Meetings & Workshops

We’ve all participated in some cringe-worthy icebreakers before. A good meeting/workshop icebreaker should do three things:

  1. Bring people together
  2. Teach them something new about each other
  3. Get their minds in the right headspace for the task ahead

Here are a few great non-traditional icebreakers for your next remote meeting or workshop.

Superhero

Imagine yourself as a superhero. What superpowers do you possess that make you great at your job?

How to Facilitate

  1. Each person draws themselves as a superhero.
  2. Participants take turns explaining which special traits they have as this superhero, like “statistics guru” or “great communicator.”
  3. If the team knows each other, have people add to each others’ superhero character.

Remote Meeting?

Have each person do their superhero sketch and share it over the webcam. This can be a great way to make introductions and learn more about those we work with every day.

Grouping Game

This quick game will get participants out of their seats as they join the teams they most identify with.

How to Facilitate

  1. Create about a dozen categories that the group can use to organize themselves, e.g., cat or dog person, Mac or PC user, hamburger or hotdog, asks for permission or forgiveness.
  2. Call the categories out one-by-one.
  3. Have people form groups based on how they identify. By the end of the exercise, they will have been part of a dozen or so different “communities,” each composed of a different group of people.

Remote Meeting?

Have participants quickly sketch their answers. On the count of three, have participants share their answers on the webcam. This can be great for ensuring everyone has video turned on, and it gets everyone sketching!

Whose Life Is it Anyway?

With just one clue into someone’s life, can your team solve the mystery of who is who?

How to Facilitate

  1. Each participant brings a photo of their life that they do not appear in and gives it to the facilitator.
  2. Participants guess whom each photo belongs to.
  3. After each person is revealed, they can share a few things from their lives that are represented in the photographs.

Remote Meeting?

Gather the photos electronically ahead of the workshop and add them to your presentation deck. This is a great way to make introductions of everyone participating.

Into the Matrix

See what you may have in common with other participants with a grid of favorites or interests. Get creative!

How to Facilitate

  1. Build a matrix or grid with names of participants across the top and characteristics down the side. If you’re pressed for time, start with two or three characteristics.
  2. Characteristics can be anything, e.g., your favorite band in 1990 or your secret skill.
  3. As participants enter the workshop, have them fill in the column under their name.
  4. Allow time for participants to connect on what they have in common.

Remote Meeting?

Great! Use an online collaboration tool like Mural or Miro. This is a great way for participants to get to know the tool before diving into the work.

Icebreaker Polls

Turn your icebreaker into stats the whole team can interact with.

How to Facilitate

  1. Create six to eight multiple-choice questions to poll everyone participating. For example: How energized are you feeling? What do you expect to get out of this workshop? What’s one area of the business that has the most opportunity for innovation? How well do you understand [topic]?
  2. Have each person vote via sticky note.
  3. Allow some time for each question to be discussed as a group.

Remote Meeting?

Use an online polling tool like slido.com or Google Forms to capture responses and share results with the group. To speed up the process, share the questions ahead of time.

The Foodie

Food brings everyone together. Lighten the mood by having everyone share their favorites.

How to Facilitate

  1. Ask each person what they would make for the team or what their signature dish is — MasterChef style!
  2. As each person shares, ask them how they learned to make it and why it’s so meaningful to them.

Remote Meeting?

Keep the activity the same or ask people to bring one recipe they’d willing to share with the group, secret sauce and all. Provide links to the recipes in the chat or in a follow-up email.


These are some of my favorites. But there are so many icebreakers out there — many geared toward remote workshops. Have a favorite yourself? Share it in the comments below!