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Ice breakers

HI I am looking for suggestions for some ice breaker for a large group of zoom attendees that do not know one another. We will be discussing mental health so it needs to be light. Intro and break ideas please or ones you have already found successful. Thanks in advance. 

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  • Sometimes the obvious ones are the best, 
    - where did you last go on holiday and what was great about it?
    - where would you most like to go on holiday?
    - what has been the best bit of 2020 for you so far?
    - what is your favorite food - and do you make it or buy it?
    - what do you like to do away from work?


  • Good question Laura.

    For break ideas:

    • Word search / Crossword using annotation tools
      • Gets the group working together, potentially communicating, competition between them and more familiarity with the annotiation tools and tech

    • Post your questions on the whiteboard
      • Could help with your facilitation and or follow up resources after the session

    • Post some reflections from the session so far
      • Always a good idea to have some kind of summary or recap after a period of delivery and a break, this can do that or help you go into your own quick recap

    • Complete this poll about XYZ
      • Might provide additional information and insight

    For Ice breakers:

    Depending how large your group is it might not be possible to comment or speak to everyone. My suggestions are for groups of over 30

    • Whiteboard with quadrants/pictures/stories that represent a type of personality/like/dislike - They use the text tool to put their name in what represents them the most
      • This way you can quickly summarise. "Wow, Jane, Bob, Sammy, Sean and Joan are all morning people! yet I can see Jesse, Alice, Dave are night owls!" This also gets them using the annotation tools early but you will need to teach it

    • A simple what is the weather like or what can you see out your window or on your desk, type your answer in chat
      • You will generally end up with some people saying something that is funny or interesting and starts to get attendees communicating in chat with you and potentially each other.
      • Bob in chat - "My cat on my desk sleeping!" Facilitator on mic "Bob's cat is on his desk, not sure if this will be a hinderence or a benefit, anyone have pets around?" Alice in chat - "Bob what type of cat is it?"

    • As people enter the room have on the whiteboard a list of words. You will go down the attendees list in order and get each person in turn to unmute and combine two words that best describe them and then mute
      • This can be time consuming based on the number of attendees but can have the additional benefit of making sure the audio is working and they know how to mute and unmute
      • Additional option is that you simply use chat for people to type the combination and then you comment and perhaps invite some people on the microphone to comment further

    Hope this gives you some ideas of where to start!

  • Hi Laura, great question and Mike has shared some good options for you. Do consider teaching the Zoom tools you want to use (e.g. text on the whiteboard) as part of your icebreakers too, so that you are being efficient with your time. 

    This article isn't specifically about ice breakers, but it is about self directed learning and the power of knowing your question before attending any kind of learning, so it might be useful to encourage your attendees with this before the session, as they login or maybe as part of your icebreaker:

    Let us know what you go for and how it works out! 

    How To Get The Most Out Of Virtual Learning
    By Emily Reynolds. Virtual learning seems likely to be the norm for the near future. Here’s our digest of psychologically-informed tips to get the mo…
    • Brilliant thanks for all the suggestions! Excellent help x

  • A couple of my favourites:

    Ice-breaker: play on the fact that people can rename themselves in the participants list. Ask them to change it to their nickname and maybe add their location (Paul from Peterborough).  Or ask them to put their name plus favourite food, colour, animal, etc etc. Simple but makes it personal. 

    Breaks: This is my current fave. Virtual boat race.
    Set the timer (I'm normally pretty stingy - 5 mins per hour). Share via portion of your screen (cuts out the adverts!) and share sound too. Ask people to vote in chat who's going to win? Point out if they are not back in time they won't see the winner. Crafty, I know. Good icebreaker too.

    Canoe Race Timer!
    A cool Canoe Boat Race Timer! Set a time and watch the Canoes Race to the finish line to see who wins!
  • Great bite sized ideas thank you 

  • Are you the oldest or the youngest;Name a fun fact from were you're from; What is your favorite clean joke; What makes you laugh; What is the farthest you've traveled; What is your cure for hiccups; What is your comfort food/culinary specialty

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