12 Cringe-Free Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

  • 2024-01-02
  • Serra Ardem
12 Cringe-Free Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think of icebreakers for virtual meetings? Most people will probably say “cheesy” or “cringe” and they have valid reasons to do so.

When done wrong, icebreakers for virtual meetings can lead to awkward silences, forced enthusiasm or worst of all, inappropriate jokes. Yet with careful planning, you can turn the icebreaker cliché into a useful and fun tool. You must consider the needs and preferences of the group members as well as the meeting type and purpose.

In this blog, we will first highlight what you should be mindful of when planning icebreakers for virtual meetings no matter the type of activity. Then we will share 12 virtual icebreaker activities and games categorized according to 4 different purposes.

Let’s start.

What is an icebreaker?

An icebreaker is a social activity, game or conversation starter that helps people feel more comfortable in group settings. 

Coming in various shapes and sizes, icebreakers are generally associated with strangers. However, they can be equally valuable for people who know each other well. The right icebreaker allows strangers to make connections and strengthens bonds between the closest people.

We recommend you to consider the following factors before designing icebreakers for virtual team meetings.

3 Things to Consider Before Planning Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

Always remember these while planning virtual ice breakers:

Not Everyone Likes Icebreakers

Even hearing the word “icebreaker” can make certain people shiver. I’m an introvert myself and I know that immense pressure when someone says “Tell me a fun fact about yourself”. Yet with careful consideration, it is possible to design an icebreaker that benefits everyone. 

You can offer alternatives and allow participants to select an activity that aligns with their comfort levels and strengths. Some excel at deep listening and thoughtful reflection while others love to speak up and share personal information. By enabling group members to choose between icebreaker activities, you can create a more comfortable atmosphere for everyone.

Tip: In the case of icebreakers for virtual meetings on Zoom, you can have different breakout rooms for different activities.

A laptop screen showing a Zoom meeting.

Not Every Meeting Needs an Icebreaker

You must consider the meeting purpose and type, time constraints, group dynamics and technical limitations before planning icebreakers for virtual meetings.

On the other hand, some virtual meetings are perfect for icebreaker games and activities. Remote workers can bond through these even if they are located in different parts of the world.

  • Team building sessions: Interactive icebreakers for virtual meetings can encourage team spirit as they foster trust and communication between participants. 
  • Welcoming new team members: The right icebreaker can reduce the tension for newcomers. 
  • Workshops: Having an icebreaker activity before a workshop can set a positive and encouraging tone for the rest of the session.
  • Virtual parties: Online happy hours or holiday parties are ideal for fun icebreakers.

Tip: Regular meetings can also benefit from occasional icebreakers. Keep them brief (approx. 5-10 minutes ) to avoid a meeting from dragging on.

Keep Icebreakers Short and Sweet

The icebreaker is not the headliner; it is the opening band. Its purpose is to warm up the participants and pave the way for a productive meeting.

Avoid disrupting the flow of the meeting with prolonged icebreakers. An extended icebreaker can also drain the energy of the participants and make them feel disengaged. Worst of all, members can entirely lose their focus, which will turn the meeting into a waste of time.

Tip: End the icebreaker on a high note so everyone can feel energized for what’s next.

12 Engaging Virtual Icebreakers for Online Meetings

As we’ve highlighted before; you must take the meeting purpose, participants and length into account before planning icebreakers for virtual meetings. We categorized our 12 suggestions based on concept so you can choose the one that fits your team and goals.

Quick Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

These quick icebreakers for virtual meetings are saviors when you are short on time. 

This or That

We can’t think of a list without “This or That”. Injecting a sense of excitement, the classic game will energize your virtual meeting and encourage active participation from everyone. 

Start by choosing a theme or mix them up: personal preferences (a beach house or a cabin in the woods), work-related choices (email or instant messaging) or funny options (your picture appears on money or you have a holiday named after you). Then use a polling website or app for participants to cast their votes.

Average duration: 2-3 minutes

Tools: Mentimeter’s This or That template

A blue question mark on pink surface.

Riddle Icebreakers

Riddle icebreakers for virtual meetings foster problem solving skills in a playful way. You can use them before a meeting to promote critical thinking and curiosity.

First, choose a preselected riddle or use an AI riddle generator. Then ask the riddle via chat, screen share or audio. Give a time limit for individuals to think and share their guesses. Finally, reveal the answer and have a fast discussion about the solution together. 

Average duration: 3-5 minutes

Tools: Google Bard or ChatGPT’s Riddle Resolver (paid) to generate riddles


Easy to set up, polls come in various shapes and sizes. Having a quick poll as an icebreaker can add fun to the meeting and give you ideas about your team’s preferences.

You can create multiple choice trivia questions, personality questions or prediction polls and relate them to your industry if you wish. Feel free to use emojis and visuals to make your polls more engaging. You can also encourage participants to explain their choices in the chat.

Average duration: 2-3 minutes

Tools: Google Meet’s polling feature or Mentimeter’s interactive live polling

Virtual Icebreakers for New Team Members

Try these virtual icebreakers to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for your new team member.

Where in the World Are You?

Such a simple yet encouraging question. In this icebreaker, new team members share their current locations. They can also tell their favorite local traditions or hidden gems, which will contribute to a more diverse work environment.

“Where in the World Are You?” is known as one of the best icebreakers for virtual meetings because it sparks curiosity and provides an opportunity to learn more about different cultures. In the world of remote working, this humble question can be the first step for team bonding and inclusivity.

Average duration: 3-5 minutes

Tools: none

A hand holding a small globe.

Share Your Favorite

People love to talk about what matters to them. You can ask new team members their favorite TV series, films, books, etc. to ignite conversations around shared passions. Just imagine two Star Wars fans reminiscing about their favorite scenes and exchanging fan theories. This newfound connection can lead to better collaborations in the long run, fueled by the power of the Force.

As one of the classic get-to-know-you activities, “Share Your Favorite” requires minimal preparation. It will minimize the pressure of formal introductions and enable new team members to showcase their personalities.

Average duration: 5-10 minutes

Tools: none

Tip: It’s difficult to remember every point made in a meeting. You can get meeting transcripts to make sure everything is on record to be recalled.

Bucket List

This one is also considered as one of the best icebreakers for virtual meetings. Rather than focusing on the ordinary, the “What is on your bucket list?” question invites everyone to share their dreams and aspirations.

The bucket list items can provide valuable insights into a team member’s personality and values. By understanding their new colleagues better, existing team members can tailor their communication styles accordingly. Plus, hearing others’ dreams can be really inspiring and foster mutual encouragement within the team.

Average duration: 5-10 minutes

Tools: none

Virtual Icebreakers for Large Groups

These icebreakers for virtual meetings will bring your large team together no matter where they are.

Scavenger Hunt

Combining teamwork, creativity and fun, virtual scavenger hunts are better with more participants. You can divide your large group into smaller teams (4-6 people) and decide on team captains.

As the first step, share the scavenger hunt list (specific items participants need to find in their homes) through chat. Then set a time limit and explain the pointing system for the items. Encourage collaboration when teams get to work. Celebrate the team with the most points and use the positive energy to make a smooth transition to the main content of the virtual meeting.

Average duration: 15-20 minutes

Tools: Asana or Google Workspace to track teams, tasks and points

Dress Up

This one is perfect for weekly or monthly virtual meetings. You can select a different theme for each meeting and team members can dress accordingly, which can turn that regular meeting into a mini costume party.

Make sure you share the next meeting’s theme at the end of the icebreaker to provide enough time for preparation. Also choose a theme that will encourage everyone to participate regardless of their budget.

Average duration: 7-10 minutes

Tools: none

Tip: Record your themed meetings and make a compilation to emphasize important moments. Add auto subtitles to make sure everyone understands every point made during meetings.

Bring Your Furry Friend

Bringing pets on camera is one of the most fun icebreakers for virtual meetings. Just like in the “Dress Up” icebreaker, you can choose a theme for this one and have a costume pawty!

Get ready for some heartwarming chaos as pets will probably interact with each other through the screen. Also mention that the icebreaker is optional as not everyone has pets or wants to share them on screen. You can offer alternative ways like showing a pet photo or telling a funny pet story.

Average duration: 7-10 minutes

Tools: none

A happy dog looking at its owner who is working on a laptop.

Virtual Icebreakers for Established Teams

You can try one of these icebreakers for virtual meetings if your team members know each other and the company for a long time.

Company Trivia

A trivia game does not only promote company culture; it also strengthens team spirit. Go creative with various formats including multiple choice, true/false, open-ended and image-based questions.

Read each question clearly and give enough time for participants to answer. You can ask about company history, inside jokes, milestones, etc. and offer bonus points for less obvious questions. Add prizes for the top 3 to spice up the contest.

Average duration: 10-15 minutes

Tools: Kahoot!

Guess Who?

Playing “Guess Who?” with your team can reveal very interesting facts. Don’t be too surprised when you learn that your quiet, reserved colleague is actually an accomplished offshore racer.

Ask team members to send unknown facts about themselves beforehand. During the game, you can allow participants to ask clarifying, open-ended questions to narrow down guesses. Set a time limit to keep the game moving and reveal the person once everyone submits their answer.

Average duration: 5-10 minutes

Tools: Miro’s Guess Who? Template

A man on a virtual meeting with 4 colleagues.

Throwback Photos

Throwback photos are delightful icebreakers for virtual meetings as they encourage team members to share their memories and anecdotes. Childhood photos with quirky clothes can especially lead into bursts of laughter. (We were all fashion icons back then!)

Tell everyone to submit a childhood photo in advance and decide how you’ll display the photos. Show each photo one by one. Afterwards participants can share their guesses via chat and then you can reveal the name of the mystery person. You can also ask participants to vote for the biggest transformation or best fashion choice.

Average duration: 10-15 minutes

Tools: Mural for interactive options

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some good icebreakers for virtual meetings?

Some of the best icebreakers for virtual meetings are Two Truths and a Lie, mood check-in, random compliment round, scavenger hunt, virtual Pictionary, emoji introductions, company trivia, background challenge, throwback photos and Show Your Workspace.

What are 3 fun ice breaker questions?

The fun icebreaker questions are endless but here are three of them to give you more icebreaker ideas: If you had the chance to take any prop from a movie set, what would it be? What would be your entrance theme song if you were a wrestler? Which fictional family would you like to join?

How can I do an icebreaker on Zoom?

First consider the size of the group and goal of the meeting when doing icebreakers for virtual meetings on Zoom. You can utilize Zoom’s breakout rooms, built-in polling, screen sharing and whiteboard features to enhance the experience of participants.

How can I do icebreakers on Teams?

You can take advantage of the platform’s interactive features and built-in tools while doing icebreakers for virtual meetings on Teams. Feel free to create polls, draw on the whiteboard, use Microsoft Forms integration to share quizzes and have virtual coffee chats in breakout rooms. You can also integrate Microsoft Teams with other apps like Kahoot.

What are good team bonding questions?

If you have a small team, you can ask open-ended questions to foster conversations. Some good questions are “What do you do to manage stress?” and “What are you excited and worried about this week?”. For larger teams, you can ask rapid-fire questions like “Are you more productive in the evening or the morning?” or “What is a weird fact that you know?”


This blog post shares 12 icebreakers for virtual meetings that are categorized by 4 different purposes: quick icebreakers, icebreakers for new team members, icebreakers for large groups and icebreakers for established teams. It also highlights that you must take the group members, meeting type and duration into account when planning icebreakers for online meetings.

So try these tips and activities to welcome new employees, foster team spirit or simply to add some fun to your next web meeting. Remember, a well-planned virtual icebreaker can transform your online meeting from a cold call to a warm connection.

Serra Ardem

About Serra Ardem

Serra Ardem is a freelance writer and editor based in Istanbul. For the last 8 years, she has been collaborating with brands and businesses to tell their unique story and develop their verbal identity.