35 Icebreakers Perfect for Virtual and Hybrid Meetings

Katy Mrvova
slido blog icebreaker meeting

We’ve all been there – the start of a virtual or hybrid meeting where there’s an awkward silence. But this can be a thing of the past when you introduce the humble icebreaker to get people talking and loosen them up.

Our list of 35 different virtual icebreakers and team-building activities for 2023 have all been tried, tested, and enjoyed by team Slido – even by the introverts among us.

We’ll enlighten you first on what exactly a virtual icebreaker is, and why it’s good to have one on hand for your next meeting. Breaking the ice has never been this easy!

What are virtual icebreakers?

Virtual icebreakers are small interactive activities that are used to lighten the mood, typically at the start of a meeting.

They are great conversation starters – they help energize people, drive lively discussions, and encourage the participants to be more active throughout the meeting.

With online and hybrid meetings, virtual icebreakers can help make your video conference call more personal and allow your colleagues to get to know each other better and enjoy some social time.

From quick icebreaker questions to longer ice-breaking games – pick your favorite ones!

  1. Quick icebreaker questions
  2. Short virtual icebreaker activities
  3. Icebreaker games & Team building activities

1. Quick virtual icebreaker questions

These are great rapid-fire questions to energize your participants and kick-start a conversation.

Read also: List of 200 Icebreaker Questions For Meetings and Tips On How to Use Them

#1. Mood barometer: How are you feeling today?

The classic “So, how are you folks doing?” usually gets you only a couple of reluctant answers. Ask your team how they are in a different way this time – try it with a poll.

For example, check the overall energy in the room by running a rating poll such as: “On a scale of 1-7, how are you feeling today?” Or, “What’s your energy level today?”

Slido virtual icebreakers rating poll

Everyone can contribute and so you’ll take an instant pulse check on how everyone is feeling before the meeting.

Use the poll results as a discussion starter: “I can see that not everyone is feeling at their best. Does anyone want to share their thoughts?”

Create your own poll in Slido and engage your audience.
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#2. Would you rather…?

A would you rather virtual icebreaker question is guaranteed to spark a lively discussion at the start of your meeting and help with breaking the ice.

Simply ask your participants a thought-provoking ‘this or that’ poll question with two options to choose from. Then, drive a discussion around how people voted and why.

Here are some of our favorite would you rather questions:

  • Would you live in the Arctic or in the Sahara Desert?
  • Would you rather be always overdressed or underdressed?
  • Have 2 meter long legs or 2 meter long arms?
  • Time travel back to the past or to the future?

Read also: 101 Would You Rather Questions to Cheer Up Your Meetings

#3. Quiz question of the day

Or, why don’t you start with a little guessing game? Everyone loves quizzes as ice breakers and so a little brain teaser at the beginning of your meeting will perk your colleagues up.

This is an ideal virtual icebreaker for recurring meetings. If you and your team meet regularly, you can turn this into a tradition and run one quiz question at the start of every one of your meetings.

How to pull this off?

Simply create a quiz poll question in Slido and mark one option as correct. You can use our integrations with Google Slides and PowerPoint to insert the poll directly into your slides.

What’s more, you don’t even have to think up quiz questions. Our ‘magic cube’ random question generator will do that for you.

#4. Where are you joining from?

If your teammates are scattered around the world, kick off your meeting by sending a virtual hi to each one of them.

At the beginning of your conference call, run a word cloud with the question: “Where are you joining from?”

This is one of the best virtual icebreakers for large meetings or virtual events – the more locations, the better the word cloud will look.

virtual icebreakers word cloud

As your colleagues post their locations, give them a special shout-out.

You’ll even be able to see if participants are still typing or not with Slido’s typing indicator feature when you’re in present mode – so that everyone gets their chance to participate before you move on.

Read also: 35+ Word Cloud Examples for Your Meetings and Events

#5. In one word, how would you describe…?

You can also use word clouds to pick up your team’s thoughts and feelings. Open your meeting with a question such as: “In one word, how would you describe the past week/month?”

Slido virtual icebreakers word cloud

This is one of the virtual ice breakers that will help you take a pulse check of the overall atmosphere in the team and detect possible downturns – especially handy in a virtual setup.

Or, you can even try something different like: “If you were to describe our company in one word, what would it be?”

#6. Good old times

If you need a guaranteed conversation starter, try a question that brings back childhood or teenage years memories – they provide an inexhaustible source of amusement.

You can use word clouds here as well.

  • Which was your favorite candy you were hoping to get when trick-or-treating? (A perfect icebreaker to use before Halloween.)
  • Which music band was your favorite growing up?

After people submit their answers, ask volunteers to share how they voted and why.

There will be a lot to talk about, maybe even some arguments about which candy or which movie is the best. You’ll start a meeting with some laughs and get your colleagues in a good mood before a meeting.

Read also: The Best 110 Trivia Questions for Team Bonding Quizzes

#7. Rank your favorites

Similar to the previous virtual icebreaker, you can engage people in ranking their favorite things, whether from their childhood or not – the possibilities are endless.

Use a ranking poll question, add as many options as you wish, and let your participants rank them.

Here are some ideas:

  • Rank these 90s movies from your most favorite to your least favorite.
  • Rank these Christmas movies from a must-watch to the most passable one.
  • Rank these Harry Potter movies from the best to your least favorite.

After your participants are done voting, display the chart with the winners and the runner-ups. Expect a lively discussion – people tend to passionately root for their darlings!

#8. Say it with an emoji

Here’s another way to get a sense of how your team members are feeling – let them express it with emojis. For example, at the start of your meeting, ask your colleagues:

“Which emoji best describes your current state of mind?”

You can use a Slido word cloud for that, but instead of words, your participants will submit an emoji. This works best with larger meetings and events when a large number of emojis gets submitted.

Screenshot of a Slido word cloud with emojis

Here are some other ideas for emoji icebreakers:

  • Describe our team with an emoji.
  • Use an emoji to describe your ideal vacation.
  • Which emoji do you use most frequently?

This is an ideal virtual icebreaker if you’re looking for a simple activity that anyone can participate in, for example, as you’re waiting for others to join the meeting.

Read also: 80+ Best Poll Questions To Ask Your Online Audience

2. Short virtual icebreaker activities

These are great if you want to surprise your participants with a fun little activity and enjoy some bonding time.

#9. Draw your mood

Instead of verbally asking your colleagues how they are at the start of your meeting (which often results in a half-baked ‘fine’, or ‘okay’ here and there), ask them to draw how they are. It’s much more fun and you’ll spark creativity among your colleagues.

During our recent Brand Team meeting, our colleague, Sabine, shared a Zoom Whiteboard with us and asked us to draw our current mood on it. So we channeled our inner Basquiat and came up with something that remotely resembles art. But it was so much fun, we swear!

virtual icebreakers doodle away virtual whiteboard

Note: Are you running your meetings in a hybrid setup? Then make sure that each of your on-site team members joins the video conferencing call from their own device so they can participate in the activity.

#10. Highlight of the month

Here’s a great way to lift people’s spirits. Crowdsource your colleagues’ personal or professional highlights from the last week or month.

Thanks to this virtual icebreaker, you can see what other people have been up to and have experienced, and you can celebrate some of your top moments.

As you kick off your meeting, ask your teammates to post their highlights in an open text poll. Then, display the highlights on the screen, and give a shout-out to each one.

virtual icebreaker sharing highlights

It’s good to remind people of all the remarkable work that they’ve done. For example, in our Slido marketing team, we share highlights as part of our monthly all-marketing meeting.

#11. Unsung heroes

This is not only an icebreaker but a morale booster as well. And we all need that now and then, especially when working in isolation.

Give kudos to the heroes in your team. Kick off your meeting with a word cloud poll such as: “Who was your silent hero this month?”

word cloud poll giving kudos to unsung heroes

Acknowledging people for the effort they’re putting in is a wonderful way to start a meeting. Expect lots of hearty “awws”.

💡 Tip
Combine the word cloud with an open text poll, so that people can also leave a heart-warming message for their nominated silent hero.

#12. What are you thankful for?

This ice-breaking activity is ideal, for instance, before Thanksgiving or as a morale booster during special team meetings.

Ask people to submit what they are grateful for or who from the team they would like to thank.

You may open your meeting with this question, either via word cloud or an open text poll, and wait for your team members’ submissions.

Then, display people’s submissions on the screen and ask your colleagues to share what they put in and why.

It’s a nice bonding moment and helps you start the meeting on a positive note.

#13. Team photo

A list of virtual icebreakers wouldn’t be complete without a group photo! This one’s as much fun through a video chat as much as it is in real life. And you can repeat it time and time again by taking a different picture each time — make funny faces, bring in your pets, do a crazy gesture, be creative.

Take inspiration from our Customer Care Team!

team photo as a virtual icebreaker

💡 Tip
These photos also make nice content for your social media, internal newsletters, or Slack channels!

#14. Guess whose desk?

Get to know your colleagues a little better, and take a sneak-peek into their home work stations. This virtual icebreaker is a mixture of ‘Guess who?’ and a house tour.

Collect pictures from your colleagues of their desks at home and add them into Slido multiple choice polls with a question: “Can you guess whose desk this is?” and give several options.

guess whose desk game as virtual icebreaker activity

Then, once at a meeting, let your colleagues guess away!

#15. Weekend photo contest

A slow start after the weekend? Run a quick weekend photo contest to get your teammates talking. Tell them to share a cool photo from their weekend – for example in a Slack channel.

You can then put people’s names in a Slido multiple choice poll and have your colleagues vote for the best shot!

#16. What’s the last picture that you took?

Similar to the previous virtual icebreaker, this one is probably even more fun: Ask your colleagues to go to their phones, and dig out the last photo that they took. Ask them to either post it to your Slack channel or simply show it to the camera. Then, ask them to share a story behind the picture (if it’s not a secret!).

It’s a sweet little activity to make people talk and get to know one another better.

#17. Random question of the week

Here’s another one from the ‘Get to know your colleagues better’ virtual icebreakers. Set up a new tradition and ask your team one random question each week or month.

For example:

  • What’s the most useless thing you have in your home?
  • What would your superpower be if you had one?
  • What one thing should everybody stop doing right now?
  • What’s one song or artist that you’re embarrassed to admit you like?

We actually started doing this as a weekly activity in our #random Slack channel. We’ve since learned so many cool new things about one another!

virtual icebreaker random question

3. Virtual icebreaker games & Team building activities

These are great get-to-know-you games and longer team-building activities that will both entertain and bring the team closer together.

#18. Home scavenger hunt

Begin this team building activity by getting your colleagues out of their chairs. This virtual icebreaker is fun and you’ll all get a chance to move around a little. Give your teammates a little task such as: “You have 25 seconds to fetch something yellow,” or “Get the weirdest thing in your apartment, then bring it back to show us”.

You can even take it a little further and play a full-scale virtual scavenger hunt. We recently played it in our Brand team and it was so much fun. Our colleague, Nadia, gave us 5 minutes to fulfill 20 tasks such as:

  • Take a picture of a view from your window and post it to Slack
  • Find something smaller than your fingernail
  • Bring the softest thing you own
  • Change your background to your favorite movie set
  • Bring an item that’s older than you are

And on a hunt we went.

virtual home treasure hunt

When the time was up, we got back together on the call and shared funny stories behind the objects that we brought. We shared some good laughs together!

#19. Team trivia quiz

Using virtual icebreakers during your meetings also helps you get to know your colleagues better.

Try a fun trivia quiz with questions about your team. Collect interesting facts about each team member, then let other colleagues guess away. We’re sure you’ll dig out plenty of fun stuff!

virtual icebreaker team trivia quiz

We run this type of quiz when we introduce a new team member, or as a holiday fun activity.

Read also: 7 Awesome Quizzes for Your Virtual and Hybrid Meetings

#20. Background challenge

Share some laughs with your teammates on the call. Before your next all-hands or town hall meeting, set a theme and ask your colleagues to pick a virtual background image that, for them, represents it best.

Get creative. Favorite movie scenes, 80’s disco, memes, dream vacation places – the possibilities are endless.

zoom backgrounds as icebreakers

Seeing each other’s backgrounds will break the ice and give you something to talk about during the first minutes of the call.

But virtual backgrounds do more than just entertain. They’re also great for hiding a messy kitchen behind you, or a trespassing family member!

If you need inspiration, visit this huge library of virtual backgrounds by Canva, or get more quirky ones here.

💡 Tip
You can also let your colleagues vote for the best background through a Slido poll.

#21. Two truths & one lie

This fun game is great for introducing new colleagues or getting to know each other better. Collect three statements about each of your colleagues – two of them should be true facts and one should be a lie. Tell your colleagues to provide a lie that’s not so obvious so as to make it harder for others to guess.

Next, put all of the collected statements into Slido multiple choice polls, or you can make it a live quiz.

remote team retrospective slido quiz

💡 Tip
Don’t forget to ask the person who the poll is about to share at least one story behind the statements.

#22. Struggle sharing

Sharing is caring – and that should apply to both the good and the bad. Similar to sharing highlights (see point #10), it’s important to also give our attention to things that didn’t go so well; things that we can learn from, and move forward together.

It makes for a great team bonding experience.

Depending on the setup you’re in, divide your colleagues into smaller groups (if you’re in an online setup, use breakout rooms) and ask them to discuss their struggles. It can be both professional and personal.

Using an open text poll, encourage your team to share their failure or struggle in Slido as well so that people can see that they’re not alone in being imperfect. You can then regroup and open a discussion about lessons that people learned from their failures.

virtual icebreakers and team building activities

As a leader, don’t forget to contribute as well. Showing vulnerability is also a form of strength.

Read also: How Talking About Wins and Struggles Helped Our Team Bond

#23. Show & Tell

Inspired by the classic kindergarten exercise where kids bring an object to school and describe it to their fellow pupils, show and tell is a great activity for getting to know the team better.

Tell your colleagues to bring an object that has special meaning to them or that is tied to an exciting story. Give each group member 3-5 minutes to tell the rest of the group about it.

This virtual icebreaker is ideal for small teams (or done in groups) because people might not be willing to talk in front of larger crowds of people.

💡 Tip
Don’t forget to give people enough time to think about their story and prepare for the short presentation. Not everybody is happy with improvising.

#24. Guess who?

This is another great get-to-know-each-other-better game, inspired by our Head of User Research, Neil Sharman.

In one of the meetings, he asked everyone to anonymously submit into Slido three brands they know they ‘love a bit more than is logical’.

Then, he displayed people’s submissions on the screen and the team guessed who is who just from the three brands. It’s fun to identify people, plus everyone gets to share something about themselves. You’ll definitely learn a lot of interesting stuff about each other.

💡 Tip
It doesn’t necessarily have to be about brands. It can be music, hobbies, movies, etc.

#25. Coffee time

Have you heard of Fika? It’s a Swedish word often interpreted as ‘a coffee and cake break’.

For Swedes, however, it is much more than that. It’s about taking a break from everything for a while and enjoying quality time with friends or colleagues over a cup of coffee or tea.

Take Fika to an online environment. You can call it whatever you like – virtual watercooler talks, virtual happy hour – it’s your choice.

But be sure to schedule an informal team catch-up from time to time just to chat with your teammates about something other than work. In remote times, it will help you feel less isolated.

slido virtual icebreakers coffee time

#26. Visual brainstorming

Good productive idea exchanges make for great virtual icebreakers too. Instead of just shouting ideas at each other, try visual brainstorming.

Take advantage of one of the visual collaboration tools such as Mural. We tried it recently during our Brand team meeting and it was an hour well spent – productive, creative, and fun.

brainstorming with mural as online icebreaker

We set up a virtual whiteboard, and each of us was supposed to write our ideas on little stickers that we then posted on the board. It nicely simulated a real-life brainstorming session.

#27. Meet up in a virtual bar

If remote work or distributed team setup doesn’t allow you to enjoy an after-work beer with your colleagues, why don’t you go for a virtual alternative?

In our Brand team, we recently tried Kumospace – an immersive video chat that allows you to ‘meet’ your colleagues in a virtual bar (or other space), move around, or create smaller chat groups.

Oh, and don’t forget to get a drink. The app will even remind you when it’s time for a refill!

virtual team icebreaker kumospace

There are other apps that provide immersive team experiences, for example, Topia. With this one, you can even design your own virtual world. It’s good to have a change of scenery, isn’t it?

#28. Never Have I Ever

While you’re all hanging out together in this virtual bar (see point above), why don’t you play a game? If you’re familiar with Never Have I Ever, you surely know how much fun it is – especially with more juicy questions. It’s simple: Each of you will hold out your hand so everyone can see your fingers.

One of you will read questions such as: “Never have I ever gone skinny dipping.” Whenever one of you has done it, he or she will put one finger down.

This icebreaker activity is awesome for getting to know your colleagues better and have a good laugh together while sharing funny stories behind each finger down!

If you need inspiration for Never Have I Ever questions, find 250 of them here.

#29. Donut friends

When was the last time you randomly bumped into someone in a hallway in your office and shared a good chat with them? Or, had a deep conversation about life, the universe, and everything with a bunch of colleagues in a kitchenette or by the watercooler? Before we can enjoy this again, try Donut.

Donut is an app for Slack that randomly pairs two or three colleagues together for a scheduled video call. You can make use of that time however you like: Have a virtual coffee, a peer learning session, or a chat about a book that you recently read.

the donut app used for socializing with colleagues
Source: Donut.com

The best thing is that it gets you together with teammates with whom you wouldn’t normally talk or interact on a daily basis. Sounds like a nice way to foster new friendships in the workplace, doesn’t it?

#30. Online escape room

Need a full-scale team-building activity? Try a virtual escape room. If you’ve ever experienced the real thing, you surely know that it’s as much fun as it is nerve-wracking! It involves dealing with various challenges, finding codes, and completing puzzles in order to “get out of the room”.

It’s the ultimate team bonding experience – if your teammates love a good game, they’re going to be fans. There are plenty of escape room platforms out there, for example, Escape Live. You can choose from various different session types or themes.

#31. Virtual wine tasting

Even if you’re remote, you don’t have to give up the good old wine or beer-tasting sessions. Sure, it’s a bit harder to pull off in a virtual setting, but not impossible. Just agree on a brand or type – or buy a different wine each, so you can tell each other about the subtle tones you’re getting!

Our People team has recently done a wine-tasting call and it was a great team bonding experience.

virtual wine tasting icebreaker activity

It lets you enjoy some informal time with your colleagues, which, amid all the meetings is a nice change. Plus, you get to indulge in some fine beverages, what a treat!

#32. Pair & Share

This is a great virtual icebreaker that allows for more intimate conversations among your teammates. If you’re familiar with breakout rooms, you’ll appreciate this one.

Give your colleagues a thought-provoking question to ponder, then pair them randomly using breakout rooms (check whether your video conferencing tool allows for it).

Next, allow all groups a couple of minutes to discuss the topic before coming back to the main room to share what each pair talked about.

This is a great alternative to the ‘turn to your neighbor’ kind of exercise – it’s interactive, and allows for more in-depth discussion between people. Introverts will appreciate this, as it feels more comfortable to share something in a pair, compared to the whole team.

#33. Online games

Online team-building games are fun and social – they encourage interaction among coworkers and help bring back the camaraderie of a physical office.

The depths of the internet is full of options, but to inspire you, we recently discovered Bored – a suite of Slack games for remote teams. You simply add the tool to your company Slack and play fun games with your colleagues right in the Slack channel.

bored online games icebreakers
Source: Bored

Apart from the ever-popular game of trivia, Bored has games in which you roast your colleagues, or play a game of accusations and deception. Recently, they launched ‘Icebreakers’ to help teammates get to know each other better by answering questions that are unconventional and fun.

#34. Name that sound

Looking for a more sophisticated guessing game? How about guessing the sounds? This is one of the most challenging virtual icebreakers, but it’s ultimately very satisfying!

It’s simple. You turn your cameras off, leaving only audio on, and then you make some sort of a sound close to the mic so that your colleagues are able to hear it, and guess where it comes from.

Here are the instructions:

name that sound icebreaker

#35. Group storytelling

Put your improvisation skills to the test. This virtual icebreaker is inspired by my colleague Sabine, who decided that since our team-building trip couldn’t happen this year, at least we’ll make up a cool story of how it went.

She created a slideshow of random travel pictures, started a story, and then called on one of our teammates to follow up on what she had said, based on what picture was currently up.

We took turns in telling crazy things we did during our imaginary trip and let me tell you, it was some ride!

Ready to break the ice at your meetings?

We hope you’ll try one of these virtual icebreakers at your next online meeting. Let Slido help you connect with your teammates, wherever they are.

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