Online meetings are now a fixture in all our lives. They enable colleagues working together in different places to collaborate and work easily together.
However, it is often hard to be open, to disagree, or propose new ideas that may sound flaky, to people you have never met. This is where virtual team building icebreakers play a crucial role. They enable people to actually become comfortable with one another quickly online.
There are many virtual team building icebreakers that we find very effective. Some are things a team can run for itself. Some require an external organiser and facilitator. Let us look at the things you can do yourselves first.
Change your virtual wallpaper and make your colleagues guess the location is one simple, popular game. Whoever is facilitating it must also ask some questions about why the choice of this place, whether it is on the person’s bucket list or is a place that holds special memories, that sort of thing.
Among the other virtual games for remote teams is virtual dumb charades. You divide people into teams. Then, one person in the team has to act out the words on camera while the rest have to guess. Virtual team building icebreakers like this one are both popular and effective.
Another good game for virtual team building could be to ask everyone to bring some object of personal value to their desk, and to show and explain that object to their colleagues. These objects generally reveal some interesting dimension of the shower’s personality and sometimes even their value system.
However, the best virtual games for remote teams are those that are run by external facilitators who are pro at running such activities. One such activity that we at Mileage Global and RMG Mileage use is the virtual escape room While this may not make everyone share a lot of information about themselves, this program quickly immerses everyone into an activity that makes them engage intensely with one another.
Here, participants are divided into teams and find themselves virtually locked into an office space that they must break out of. Or perhaps they are locked out of a party that they want to break into! Virtual games for remote teams, like this one, work best when all participants actually see something interesting on their screens.
One of the early challenges that we faced in my company was getting people who had never met in person to actually share information about themselves in an interesting manner. The tedium of many people talking about themselves one by one on a video call just was not working. Most of such introduction sessions saw a majority of participants with their cameras off. People only became mildly animated when it was time for them to actually speak up, and that was such a brief patch of time.
We broke this jinx by co-creating a platform especially for virtual team-building icebreakers. Here, we could accommodate about 30 players per batch. Each player would get a question to answer, and would enter that answer online. Our game software would jumble up the answers. Other teams would have to guess which colleague of theirs had given a particular answer!
Needless to say, this is virtual ice-breaking at its best as each interesting answer would lead in turn to people learning interesting information about other players. And all of that presented in a colourful and visually fun manner.
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