Let’s admit it. Video conferences are awkward. Not only are people less inclined to speak up, but we also miss the visual cues and warmth of in-person interaction. When we do speak, it’s often at the same time as someone else: “no you first…”, “no you first…”

The only true and universally-appreciated benefit—the ability to wear comfy pants—simply doesn’t outweigh the awkwardness.

The somewhat good news is that icebreakers are a way we can make those dreaded Zoom gatherings a bit better. The benefits of using them include increased community building and team spirit, the calming of nerves, and greater creativity and participation for the ‘meat’ of the meeting.

The following simple activities can be used as icebreakers, whether for business meetings, classes, seminars, youth groups, or small groups. They can also be the games you play with family and friends for your socially-distanced virtual get-togethers and parties.

So without further ado, here are some simple icebreakers for your next Zoom meeting.


POPULARLIOUS

Synopsis: The host poses opinion-style questions (example, what is the best season), and participants write down, not necessarily their own opinion, but their guess as to the group’s most popular answer. Points are awarded for those whose answers match with others.

Download full game rules here.


HOGWASH

Synopsis: Three participants are selected to answer a question posed by the host that is personal, but not private in nature (example, “where is an interesting place you have travelled?”). To one of the three participants, the host will privately message the word “Hogwash”. This person must tell a lie while the other two answer truthfully. The remaining group works together to determine who is being untruthful by asking follow-up questions and ultimately putting it to a vote, before the ‘Hogwasher’ is revealed.

Download full game rules here.


DO YOU KNOW J. DOE?

Synopsis: In this getting to know you activity, one participant is selected to be ‘it’. The host asks the group questions about the person (aka, “J. Doe”). Participants guess the answers in writing. At the end of the round, J. Doe reveals the true answers about him or herself and points are awarded for correct answers.

Download full game rules here.


ZOOM-AROUND-MY-ROOM (ALPHABET HUNT)

Synopsis: In this team-building exercise, with participants divided into breakout groups, teams must race to complete the alphabet with objects they have present in their current environment (example, A is for armchair, B is for bookshelf, etc.)

Download full game rules here.


PERFECTLY AVERAGE

Synopsis: Participants are split into pairs. Host asks questions that have numerical answers. Individually, all participants write their guesses down and then present them. The pair whose averaged answer is closest to the actual answer gets the point.

Download full game rules here.


Have you tried any of these games? Maybe you have tips for others on how to make them run seamlessly. Have you participated in any other fun Zoom-friendly games and activities that you’d like to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.