Remote team building activities can be tricky but the same rules still apply as if it were in person – it has to be genuine.
I leave here my go-to ice breakers – and they are GOLD – but they will only work for you if you are generally intrigued. That’s the reason I use them. I am generally intrigued by their outcomes.
These icebreakers are nothing more than conversation starters but it’s not about the answers. It’s about the process by which they are answered that not only tell you about the person and the team but also set the stage for genuine conversation and enjoyment. So here they go…in no particular and phrased as I normally use them…
1) Name your brand!
“My challenge to you…is…to invent a brand of cereal. What is its name? What is it made of? And what is the prize that is in the box?”
Okay, this is not fair because it’s designed for kids – but it’s lots of fun – even with adults. , With adults I like to add something like, “What is your marketing ploy?”
But the aim isn’t just to get the person to answer, it’s to build group excitement as you build on the idea of a person’s brand. You know you are doing well when the group is chiming into someone’s idea with “ooh and you could do this!”
2) Would you rather?
“My question to you is…Would you rather swim through a swimming pool of jello wearing jeans or run through sprinklers in front of the workplace in your pajamas”
The more ridiculous the question the more room there is for a creative answer. You can think of a few stock questions ahead of time or you can pull them from the actual board game “Would You Rather?” My favorite answers are usually quite telling about a person and will naturally spur conversation.
For example, someone might answer, “Well I can’t swim in jello because I’m allergic…” at which point conversation could ensue, “…so I’m going to have to run through the sprinklers.”
Somebody alternatively could answer…”Well…I sleep half-naked so…I’ll swim in the pool!” If that doesn’t spur conversation then I don’t know what will.
3) The Nonsequitur
“You live on a boat. Your best friend is a talking banana. What do you name your pet dog and why?”
These nonsequiturs are just plain old fun, but they can get the team thinking WAY OUTSIDE THE BOX. Because the questions are illogical there is absolutely no right answer, which means a person reveals their personality with how they answer. This is something you would want to have prepared, unless you can come up with these under pressure. Alternatively, and with the right personalities in the remote meeting, you can have individuals come up with their own nonsequiturs for the next person. This is always good for laughter and connection.
So there you have my go-toes for icebreaking! If there is any irony here it’s that I don’t use these for my Sing Your Story workshops because I just go straight into the team’s work, but these are great tools for building longer-term relationships and breaking up the usual workday.
I look forward to hearing how it goes if you try them out!