Warm-Up und Ice Breaker Games to Play Remote with an Online Whiteboard
In this article, we write about warm-up games and ice breakers for remote meetings. We highlight our most favourite ice breaker games and explain to you how to perform them on an online whiteboard.
After reading, you will know how to play remote ice breaker games with your team.
- Why warm-ups and ice breakers (before a meeting) are so important?
- What ist a warm-up and an ice breaker game?
- How to do ice breaker games with an online whiteboard?
- 7 ice breaker games for an online whiteboard
- The most popular ice breaker questions for work
- How to do an ice breaker game with a big group?
Three reasons why you should use an online whiteboard for your next ice breaker game and why before the meeting:
- Engagement: Warm-ups and especially ice breakers before longer meetings or workshops help people to get into the right mood and promote concentration.
- Trust: For a stronger bond in your team, it is beneficial if the team members get to know each other before the meeting. This improves communication and trust in the team.
- Productivity: Using virtual warmu-ps creates a more open and trusted environment for more efficient, creative and productive work results.
What are warm-up and an ice breaker games?
A warm-up game is a game that prepares you for an activity, meeting or event. It is a short practice or example of what the activity, meeting or event will involve.
In the time of the COVID 19 crisis, effective and enjoyable remote collaboration is important. Warm-ups are especially helpful for virtual teams that cannot physically interact with each other. They bring a personal touch to online meetings.
You likely know the problem: You are in a workshop or long meeting with people you do not know. The achieve the team's goals, everybody has to work together smoothly.
Physical separation of team members not only slows down many work processes but also the methods of team building.
That’s what the ice breaker games are made for!
Every team is much more effective once "the ice is broken". This kind of warm up games is not only a successful start for team building but also create a positive atmosphere.
How to do ice breaker games with an online whiteboard?
With an online whiteboard, you can adapt many different ice breaker games to the digital world.
Using an online whiteboard helps you to visualize the games and to make the collaboration funnier and more efficient.
Below you will find some examples of the ice breaker games and ideas on how to use an online whiteboard like Collaboard to perform them in your remote meetings.
7 ice breaker games for an online whiteboard
Guess where I come from
This game is about finding out where all the participants come from. To prepare add a map to the whiteboard. Now everybody needs to take a picture of himself or upload a photo.
Now people need to guess from which country, region or city people are coming from. As soon as you found out from where a persons from draw on the whiteboard a line to the destination or move the picture of this person onto the map.
Below you see an idea of how we used the "Guess where I come from" ice breaker exercise in our last meeting with Collaboard.
Find 10 things in common
The Ice breaker game is useful for bigger companies and teams, where the people in the department do not collaborate very often.
To encourage people to get to know each other better, you organize a company-wide virtual meeting.
Divide everyone into separate groups and ensure that the people from the different departments are mixed.
Ask the groups to find 8-10 things that they all have in common and to put the pictures of these commonalities on the online whiteboard.
You may find that an odd number of employees have been to Budapest, even though your office is in London, or many of your team members like the same food or digital tools.
Before starting this ice breaker game, you should prepare an empty canvas with sections. Each team member will add his answers in the sections.
Now you start asking questions about special skills like:
"Do you have special skills/superpowers?
What is the biggest value you bring to the team?"
The participants add pictures, videos, photos or sticky notes on the online whiteboard, which illustrates their special skills.
Afterwards, everyone explains their special skills and how they can help the team achieve its goals. This often leads to discussions, which are very helpful for team building.
Pictures from the past
The game is very popular all over the world, not only for team building or online games but also for weddings and other big celebrations.
Preparation: Before the start, all participants send an old photo of their childhood (from baby age to puberty) to the moderator by email. The moderator sticks all pictures on the online whiteboard.
The moderator sets the timer to 2 minutes (possibly more depending on the participants). The participants have to add sticky notes on the online whiteboard during this time and guess who is shown on each picture.
Afterwards, all participants will reveal one by one who is on which picture and what great memories are associated with it.
You could do it also with the pictures of your tables at works, desktops of the laptops, favourite colours or pets and many other ideas.
Two truths and a lie
This is one of the most creative and fun ice breaker games.
Each participant will find three facts about himself: Two of them are true, and one is a credible lie. Everybody whites the facts on the sticky notes and put them on the whiteboard.
Next, everyone shares their three statements (e.g. on sticky notes) and the group votes or discusses the presumption for the lie. For example here are three statements about John Smith:
Can you guess what the lie is?
This icebreaker is a great way to get to know each other and to laugh a little bit.
Being able to talk about your wishes and dreams is an excellent option for improving the working atmosphere when working remotely.
In this virtual game, the participants are asked to select three wishes and discuss them with the group.
The online whiteboard Collaboard is very well suited for this. You invite people to post a picture or video presenting wishes or dreams of participants.
The most popular ice breaker questions for work
Here are questions to ice breakers game. Some of them are funny, others meaningful and serious.
The answers of the employees can be astonishing and show many characteristics of personalities and value systems of the participants.
The list is of course not exhaustive.
Here is the list of ice breaker questions:
- If you could write a book, what would it be about?
- What is your ideal day?
- What is the best gift you ever gave / received?
- What is the happiest moment in your life? What made it so special?
- What is the most terrible thing you have ever done for fun?
- What was the best advice you ever received?
- Where is a place you would like to go?
- If you had a time machine, what period would you travel to?
- If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you bring with you?
- Which song describes you best?
- If you were a colour, what would it be?
- Which superpower would you choose? Why?
- What was your favourite TV show as a child?
- If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why? (While an amusing ice breaker, this fun question can also lead to discussions about the valuable traits different animals possess and how those traits might relate to people.)
You can put the answers on the online whiteboard, discuss them together with you team members and have so much fun.
How to do an ice breaker game with a big group online?
Almost all effective group activities and also the warm-ups work in a regular group size of 10 - 30 people.
But what if you need to conduct a session where you have many more participants? The warm-ups and ice breakers, which work well with regular small group sizes, will probably not work at all or not very effective with larger groups.
It is often difficult to attract the attention of so many participants, even for an experienced facilitator. But don't worry, there are solutions to the problem!
Many games that are suitable for smaller groups can be played in parallel in sub-groups. Before the game starts, the large group is divided into smaller subgroups.
It is usually recommended that each subgroup includes staff from different departments. This allows the participants to organise themselves and to play the game effectively within their sub-group.
The subdivision into subgroups can be made according to any characteristics: age, favourite food, hometown/-land or hair colour.
For the remote team members, special characteristics can be considered: Size of the flat or house, distance from the main office in kilometres and so on.
The results of a first ice breaker game can also be used for future activities. For example, the results of the "Guess where I come from" can help in the subdivision according to the characteristic origin.