Virtual events are helping us stay in touch and engage socially, while maintaining physical distance from people. Whether it’s the regular organization-wide town halls or virtual summits, these digital meet-ups are sustaining our relationships and helping us to network.
The only catch with virtual meet-ups is that they often become awkward or mundane. Participants find it difficult to gauge the crowd and hence, sometimes choose to stay on the sidelines when interacting through a screen.
Ice-breaker activities can ease this tension and help to enliven the spirit of the participants. Check out a few such ice-breaker activities to make virtual interactions less awkward and more engaging.
1. Quick ice-breaker questions
Ice-breaker questions are the easiest way to break the silence in the room. These questions can kick-start the conversations and help the attendees to participate by simply responding to the question, saving your attendees from clueless first introductions!
You can start with asking everyone how they are feeling today. However, the classic “how are you feeling today” often gets only a few reluctant and vague answers. The best way to gauge the energy in the room is to give a reference point for this question. Show expressions of emojis indicating different feelings, or ask the audience to rate their feelings on a scale from 1-10.
You can then dive into some interesting questions to know the audience. Here are some questions that will help you to get the conversation flowing.
- If you could learn any one skill right now, what would it be?
- What is your favorite website or blog to visit in your free time?
- What is something that you feel proud of this week?
- What is your typical morning routine?
- What is something you want to focus on this week?
- What motivates you?
- Do you have any exciting plans coming up?
- What book had the most significance on you?
These questions provide participants an anchor to hold on to as they dive into virtual conversations and get to know the crowd.
Pro-tip: One of the best ways to get the attendees to participate in a virtual setting is to give them reference points for the conversation. Open-ended questions will often give you vague responses.
2. The Work-From-Home Tour
Virtual events and work-from-home setups go hand-in-hand. Hence, it’s no surprise that the easiest way to start a conversation is to ask your audience about their work-from-home space.
Often, people create a home office to sustain their productivity and eliminate distractions.
Ask people about their WFH workspaces and what inspired them to add specific objects to their surroundings. You can also ask your audience to give a tour of their home office space.
This exercise will help the participants share their WFH stories and help other attendees get some inspiration for their workspaces.
3. Discuss Bucket Lists
Most of us have things we want to do at some point in our lives – things that are adventurous and fulfilling. A bucket list helps a lot in understanding a person. Asking your attendees about their bucket lists will help them remember activities that bring them joy – making this an instant formula to light the room.
You can ask the audience about their bucket list in multiple ways. Start with asking what is on everyone’s bucket list, or specify the most exciting thing they have crossed off their list.
This question will help the audience to gain a nuanced understanding of the crowd and help them to connect with people who have similar interests.
4. Extended Introductions – Asking where are you joining from?
This simple question helps to break the ice quickly. Asking the audience where they are located makes the introduction more personal.
This simple yet effective virtual ice-breaker question is your savior when the audience is large and the time is limited. You can also add questions such as current reads, one skill they are working on or would like to improve. Platforms like Onlive allow you to drop multiple social media handles and access them at any point during the event without going into the chats rabbit hole.
5. Make a jam-board
Jamboards are virtual boards where all your attendees can put down their answers at the same time. It gives your audience a way to interact without speaking and is the best way to get the silent attendees in the room to participate.
To start, you can ask the audience to describe their day in one word and ask them to put it on the jam board. You can also use word clouds to pick up your team’s thoughts and feelings. Leave some words on the jam board to give your audience a starting point.
6. Host a trivia or quiz challenge
This activity will definitely bring up the competitive spirit in the room. You can choose a trivia topic on the spot or let your audience know the topic in advance so they can come prepared. Make it fun by adding additional twists and turns, such as bonus rounds or rewards.
Many facilitators hold quiz challenges at the end of the event to ask questions about the topics covered during the event. This way, you can ensure that the audience remains attentive.
Creative icebreakers can make any event lively and engaging. Some additional fun activities that can be used as ice-breakers are dividing the audience into breakout rooms for small intimate introductions or discussions, running a poll, and a virtual story-building session. On Onlive, you can do all this simultaneously and get your audience engagement insights with real-time analytics.
You can even try it for free and experience a whole new way of managing virtual events.