The Best Icebreaker Questions and Quizzes for Meetings
Did you know that 58% of workers value happiness in the workplace even more than they value a high salary? Fostering relationships between colleagues can help bolster workplace morale, improve workplace satisfaction, and increase productivity. In fact, 63% of workers agree that having friends at work makes their job more enjoyable.
While there are a number of ways to improve office relations, integrating fun activities like icebreakers into otherwise-monotonous meetings can increase audience engagement while also showing that you value strong interpersonal relationships. By creating a relaxed environment and empowering employees to speak their truths, you can help foster connections and collaboration that may not have developed otherwise. VPOLL makes icebreaker questions accessible, both to in-person and remote employees, by creating polls that employees can answer in real time, and everyone can view the results immediately.
What Are Icebreaker Questions?
An icebreaker is a question you ask in a group setting to break down barriers between people. The goal of good icebreaker questions is to celebrate the things that make colleagues and team members unique while also highlighting similarities — even among colleagues who believe they could not be more different from one another.
Benefits of Using Icebreaker Questions
Icebreakers are meant to make it easier for colleagues to connect with one another. By seeing questions from someone else’s perspective, colleagues can learn how other people in the workplace think and feel. This can help them develop empathy and improve intra-office relationships down the road.
Icebreakers also put everyone on a level playing field. By setting clear boundaries, icebreakers give shy or timid coworkers an easy in, allowing them to form connections they might struggle to develop otherwise while simultaneously tempering the input of more outspoken colleagues. Keeping icebreaker activities fun and lighthearted can help foster creativity, improve the community, and encourage information sharing between peers.
How Can You Use Icebreaker Questions in Team Meetings?
While some team members may welcome the surprise of sudden icebreaker questions, others may prefer to know ahead of time that icebreakers will be part of their upcoming meetings. One way to handle this is to include “icebreakers” as a line in your meeting agenda but then wait until everyone has arrived at the meeting to explain what the icebreaker activities will entail.
Using Icebreaker Questions at In-Person Meetings
In-person meetings benefit from everyone being in the same physical space. As a result, you can incorporate body movements into these icebreaker activities. One common way to do this is to ask a question and have people move to different parts of the room depending on their answers.
Using Icebreaker Questions in Online and Hybrid Meetings
In our post-pandemic world, it’s normal in many offices for a percentage of team members to work remotely. Incorporating these team members into icebreakers means moving the activities to an online format.
For example, using real-time online polls and surveys for ice-breaker activities with web-based software like VPOLLcan provide increased engagement and collaboration results similar to in-person ice-breaker activities during meetings, but without requiring everyone to be in the same physical space. And there is a bonus of being able to display results visually via a word cloud or other visualization analysis tools available with this online software.
The 5 Best Icebreakers for Meetings
The best icebreaker questions have a sense of excitement and surprise mixed in. Since one of the main goals is to foster connections between team members, your icebreakers should include a mix of fun, lighthearted questions and deeper questions that aim to bridge differences and encourage understanding.
Remember that some team members may be more reserved than others. You can encourage openness by allowing participants to answer questions anonymously. This may not be necessary for more lighthearted questions, but if you’re asking more personal or deep-diving questions, providing anonymity can make the icebreaker feel safer.
1. Never Have I Ever …
This popular drinking game works well as an icebreaker because it invites participants to revel in shared experiences. For this icebreaker, all you have to do is name a scenario. Participants respond by saying, “This experience has happened to me,” or, “Never have I ever experienced this thing.”
Examples of great “never have I ever” icebreakers for the workplace include:
- Never have I ever hung up on a customer.
- Never have I ever eaten lunch at my desk.
- Never have I ever turned a report in late.
“Never have I ever questions” are great for normalizing the types of experiences that employees often beat themselves up about. And by normalizing these experiences, you give team members permission to make mistakes, take ownership of those mistakes, and pick themselves back up afterward.
2. What’s Your Favorite …
If you’re looking for a lighthearted icebreaker, asking about favorites is a great way to go. For example, you might ask what someone’s favorite sport or book is. If you use an online polling system, you can even display the responses as a word cloud. Popular responses will show up in larger letters, while more unique responses will be smaller but still visible — so your team can talk about commonalities and differences.
Examples of great "What's your favorite" questions for the workplace include:
- What's your favorite workplace snack?
- What's your favorite music to listen to while working?
- What's your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
3. Would You Rather …
“Would you rather” questions challenge participants to choose between two less-than-ideal options. These icebreakers can provide valuable insight into how participants’ minds work and what they find most important. Some great workplace “would you rather” examples include:
- Would you rather answer phones all day or answer emails all day?
- Would you rather participate in a meeting online or in person?
- Would you rather deal with an angry customer or an angry supervisor?
- Would you rather stay late every workday or come in to work on a Saturday?
4. What’s the Weirdest …
If you have time for storytelling, this can be a fun way to get colleagues to open up to one another about their lives. This can also be a great activity when you’re welcoming a new team member into the fold, as it can provide them with insights into your office while providing current team members with information about their new peer.
You can either ask different questions to each participant or ask everyone the same question and then follow up with the most interesting answer. Examples of “what’s the weirdest” questions include:
- What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
- What’s the weirdest complaint you’ve ever received from a customer?
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever brought to lunch?
- What’s the weirdest reason you’ve ever had to stay late?
5. If You Were to Choose …
If you’re looking to engage in longer conversations, another great icebreaker is an “if you were to choose” question.
Once again, you can make this game work by asking each participant a different question. Another way to make this format work is to pair team members up (in an online meeting you can break or assign members into different rooms), have them ask the questions to one another, and listen to the responses.
Some examples include:
- If you were to choose three items to bring with you to a deserted island, which items would you choose and why?
- If you were to choose one superpower, which power would you choose and why?
- If you were to choose one famous person — alive or dead — to have a cup of coffee with, whom would you choose and why?
Use Icebreaker Questions to Foster Curiosity and Collaboration Among Colleagues and Team Members
Icebreaker questions are a great way to start or end team meetings. They allow team members to develop connections with one another while also driving active meeting participation. VPOLL can help you ask the icebreaker questions, elicit responses, and display those responses in real time. Learn more about how VPOLL can benefit your team today.
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