142 Networking & Icebreaker Ideas for Virtual or In-Person Events

The Ultimate List of Icebreakers, Games, & Group Exercises

Chit-chat can get awkward, and it’s often difficult to facilitate networking through idle chatter and small talk. That’s why there’s no shortage of icebreakers, conversation-starters, games, and group exercises on the internet.

To save you from sifting through an endless stream of search results, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of these get-to-know-you games.

Adjective Adventure

Have everyone pick an adjective that describes themselves and starts with the same letter as their name. Like “Awesome Allison” or “Pretty Percy.” You can also have people append it to their name in the Zoom call.

AI-Generated Connection Recommendations

It’s hard to talk to people online when you don’t know what you have in common, and that’s where AI-generated connection recommendations come in. Before the event, have registered attendees fill out a questionnaire about their interests, career, and other relevant information. Then plug their answers into software to connect attendees based on commonalities.

There are various ways you can share the results of these recommendations. For our event clients at We & Goliath, our enterprise event platform will automatically recommend users based on one or more shared topics, within a tab of the Attendees page. Other possibilities could be to show a list of common interests whenever one attendee hovers over another’s name in the chat, or to show when someone has a certain percentage match across multiple interests.

Alternatives

Get a small item—something easily tossable and common—then begin tossing it amongst the group. Whoever catches the item must shout their name, something interesting about themselves, and an alternate and/or unconventional use for the item. For example, a plastic cup could also be used to hold pens or act as a table marker.

Audience Polling

To help break the ice in an auditorium setting, you can utilize audience polling. All you need to do is ask some lighthearted questions and have the audience raise their hands or stand in response. You can stick to classic getting-to-know-you questions about preferences (like “Are you a cat person or dog person?” or “Do you prefer tea or coffee?”), or you can keep things on-brand or on-topic. Either way, try to keep things light and easy; you want to start a conversation, not a fistfight over political differences.

If you’d prefer, you can also use polling technology for a more high-tech experience. In conjunction with this technology, you might encourage your audience to discuss the responses amongst themselves.

Audio-Only Discussions

Zoom fatigue has become an increasing issue over the course of the pandemic. To help alleviate this issue, make some of your virtual panels, roundtables, workshops, or thematic breakout sessions audio-only. This also allows people to network and participate in discussions while multitasking.

Virtual Networking Lounge

Utilize social media or another online medium to encourage people to get to know each other online before the event even kicks off . Using private Facebook groups and Twitter chats, or certain chat platforms like Slack, you can utilize this option for free. If you want a little more convenience and/or privacy, you can utilize paid platforms to the same effect. Ask if your event host can build this right into your event platform!

Allowing people to connect virtually before the event will help bold and shy attendees alike form longer-lasting connections.

“Big Talk” Virtual Icebreaker

Start the meeting with a few minutes of organized “Big Talk” about global events and news. Before the meeting, send out a news story for the team to read, and give everyone a chance to share their thoughts without interruption or commentary. Set aside 5 minutes afterward for open group discussion.

Birds of a Feather Breakout Sessions

Before your event, send out questionnaires asking your attendees about their preferences. These can be related to the event, careers in general, or topics specific to the industry you’re working with. Then create breakout rooms based on the responses to the question.

For easy matchups, you can employ the use of AI software to find commonalities between attendees.

Birthday Lineup

Give attendees five minutes to arrange themselves by birthday from January 1st to December 31st. The catch? They cannot speak or write out dates.

Build Something Together

Simply organize your attendees into groups and tell them to build something with limited or unconventional materials. For example, you could tell them to build a bridge with marshmallows and dry spaghetti or build a structure entirely out of straws.

This will encourage collaborative discussion and help people figure out who they work well with.

Build Unique Immersive Environments

By designing your virtual space to look like an actual space, you’re not only providing an interesting and immersive experience, but you’re also giving your attendees something to talk about.

Though you don’t have to take a full leap into VR, allowing attendees to feel familiar aspects of event spaces will help attendees feel more at ease with your virtual space.

Builder, Looker, Runner

You and your team get to play with Legos in this fun Game of Bricks activity. You and your team have specific roles: one is the builder, one is the looker, and one is the runner. Try to recreate a model. Build something amazing with groups from 10-100+.

Building a Hive

Randomly split your audience into groups of 3-10 people. Have them talk amongst themselves until they find a personality trait, hobby, or specific experience they have in common. Once they find that common denominator, they become a team. For example, they might be the “we all enjoy rock climbing” group or the “we’ve all volunteered at animal shelters” team.

Once every team has been formed, they circulate the room looking for other people they have that trait in common with and invite them to join the group. After mingling for a while, there should be a few large groups and attendees can see what they have in common with many of the other participants.

Business Card Collection

Suggest attendees bring a specific number of business cards, but don’t tell them the reason. Once they’ve arrived, give them a set amount of time for fast networking. At the end of the time limit, whoever’s collected the most business cards wins a prize.

You can announce the contest beforehand, but it’s recommended you keep it secret until the end. If you want to announce the game beforehand, you need to institute additional rules. If you have more time and an even greater challenge, you might institute a rule that participants can’t collect the business cards until they’ve learned the person’s job, company they work for, or et cetera.

Charades

This fun event is great for large and small groups in person (10-100+) and small groups of 20 or fewer participants for a virtual event. The best thing about this game is that nearly everyone knows how to play it (those who don’t can pick it up quickly) and it’s free!

City Brew Tours

City Brew Tours allow your team to roam the city, sampling local brews, culture, and history. These are great for up to 500 participants. Many local breweries & distilleries have added non-alcoholic choices to their menus, too, so everyone can partake.

Coffee Talk

“Let’s grab a coffee,” is a classic phrase for anyone trying to get to know someone. Now, this traditional gathering has a virtual equivalent. Though there are paid versions of this event, you can also organize one with little to no cost to you.

The paid versions have people register in advance, then services send attendees a box of artisanal coffees and brewing accessories. For a low-cost version, you can simply encourage attendees to bring their own coffee.

Once you have your method of coffee distribution settled, you simply pick a time and platform for people to sip coffee and chat. You can either set the coffee time to follow a formal event (such as a panel, speech, or discussion), or you can simply open up coffee time for the space between events.

Collaborative Craft Project

Choose a collaborative craft project to work on (paper quilt, a mosaic of painted rocks, etc) and ask everyone to independently create one piece of it. When you can get together to assemble the larger project, you’ll love seeing how all the individual displays of creativity come together.

Collaborative Post-Its

Use an online whiteboard and post-it note platform that allows you to collaborate with your team. You can ask questions of your participants to get a discussion going, or even turn it into a game where you ask questions.

Competitive Networking

Set up competitions that encourage your team to network. Consider what type of attendees you’ll have and set up competitions that cater to them. You can do this in a number of ways, one of which is to give each participant a “bingo board” filled in with different prompts (“find someone who can play guitar”) and having them sign the bingo square. This is a fun way to help your team get to know each other better!

Corporate Wine Tasting

An educational wine tasting is a great way to encourage networking. Send your registered wine-tasters some carefully-packaged bottles of wine and suggested food pairings. With the help of a trained sommelier, you can educate wine-lovers about their favorite drink while also connecting them to other professionals with a shared interest.

Create a Bouquet

For a fun and floral networking option, check out the company Zoom & Bloom. The company sends hand-selected, seasonal flowers overnight with instructions for preparing them, along with floral arranging tools (including a vase). Then they can tune into a Zoom class with a live expert florist for a fun class on flower arranging. You can even customize the presentation to an event theme or organization.

Create a Clubhouse

In this context, we’re using “clubhouse” to refer to a designated area where people with common interests can chat freely. You could have clubhouses for working moms, social media marketers, people who’ve made a major career change, or anything else.

Critical Thinking Virtual Icebreaker

Start an online meeting by asking this question: “If you were alone in a dark cabin with only one match and a lamp, a fireplace, and a candle to choose from, which would you light first?” Give everyone 30 seconds to choose and have everyone share their answer in the chat. Spend one minute talking about the differences in the answers and what you learned from each other.

Daily Gratitude Commitments

Have everyone on your team commit to daily gratitude journaling for a month. If someone on your team finds themselves expressing gratitude for a team member, encourage them to share it with that person. It’ll help foster a culture of respect, gratitude, and wellness in the workplace.

Daily Writing Prompts

Give everyone a daily writing prompt for the entire month. (If you’ve got the budget, consider mailing out nice journals for them to keep track of their prompts.) Later, get together (in person or online) to discuss what you created.

Dance Party Virtual Icebreaker

This game will take as long as your song does! First, tell everyone about the dance party, then do a quick sound check to ensure everyone can hear the music. (If you can’t decide, try a random list like this one.) Start the jam and dance!

Dancing Contest

Dancing has an incredible way of bringing people together, but people often feel shy about hopping onto a dancefloor amongst strangers. To mitigate this problem, have an MC host a formal dancing competition and have competitors sign up in advance.

To encourage more participants, you might also have a “Bad Dancing Competition” or “Silly Dancing Competition,” where the less rhythmically inclined can ham it up in an attempt to make the audience laugh.

Be sure to include prizes for the top dancers.

“Do You REALLY Know Your Team?” Virtual Icebreaker

Before your meeting, ask your teammates to answer three “About Me” questions. At the meeting, share the answers and have your teammates try to pair the answers with the right person. Once everyone’s guessed, reveal who gave the answer. If the results are interesting/surprising, have the teammates explain – you’ll learn more about each other!

Drawing Snap

Give everyone a category. Using either online drawing apps, notepad apps, or classic pen-and-paper, they must draw something in that category in 30-60 seconds. When time’s up, they must find a partner with a similar drawing (a “snap”).

Egg Drop Challenge

This is a great event with a scientific spin. The egg drop challenge isn’t just for high school students: you and your team can do it too! Work with your group to create the safest landing possible for your raw egg. This fun exercise in engineering is awesome with groups from 10-100+ participants.

Escape Room Virtual Icebreaker

Using a virtual escape room client, you can choose from themed puzzles like underwater adventure, ancient temple, space escape, meme game, or undercover jewel heist theme. Log onto zoom and help your team through the adventure. Your Game Guide will be the eyes, ears, hands, and feet inside of the online team game. With your Game Guide and the digital dashboard, find clues, solve puzzles and complete the mission. Go over what went well and what didn’t go so well.

Fact Recall Mission Virtual Icebreaker

Each team member introduces themselves and gives a “fact” about themselves using a prompt. Each player must try and recall who said what during introductions. A recommended show is a great option because it helps you learn about the person while giving you a new set of shows to watch. Vacation memories and concert bucket lists are also fun. Even if your team knows each other too well, it’s fun to play and use as a warm-up.

Find Your Match

Place one half of a well-known duo—like “peanut butter” and “jelly” or “Tom” and “Jerry”—on every attendee’s nametag and instruct them to find the other half of their pair. You could make this even more challenging by adding things with multiple potential partners and tell them to find the best partner.

Fishbowls

Use a fishbowl session to lighten up dull panels. The guest speakers sit in the “fishbowl” and the audience sits around them. The speakers are directed to speak on a topic, and an audience member rotates in and out to add their take.

Fortune Cookie Fun

Give everyone a fortune cookie. Now they must share something about themselves that illustrates the fortune. If you don’t have access to fortune cookies, you can also use post-its.

Game Show Extravaganza

Using an online client, remote teams can go head-to-head. Tackle photo and trivia challenges covering everything from pop culture to politics and race against the clock in this virtual gameshow competition!

GIF Wars

Invite everyone to find and post their best GIF on a subject and then vote on who added the best GIF. Give each person 1-2 minutes to make their post and another 1-2 min to vote. Use your event platform’s chat or messaging area if it includes GIFs and upvoting. Otherwise, invite them to post in a reply to a Facebook or Twitter post which has GIF search built-in. If

☑ Team Building Version: have everyone send a shoutout to someone who’s helped them or gone above and beyond for the team

☑ Event Icebreaker Version: come up with a funny or emotional prompt around your event hashtag, theme. For example, a news story where someone really failed at your theme, or demonstrated the need for what you do. Or, simply ask them to find the best gif/meme that represents your cause. Beyond just being a fun activity, this has the benefit of arming your community with a whole collection of memes to upgrade their social posts for greater engagement.

Graffiti Wall

A graffiti wall is a simple and fun concept. All you need to do is set up an area where people can draw on the walls. This will allow people to get creative and express themselves, while also giving them an opportunity to leave contact information.

There are also numerous ways you can implement this idea. For a budget option, just tape up a large sheet of paper and allow people to draw on it. You can also get a large chalkboard, or use a digital option.

Guess My Name

Encourage guests to get to know each other without telling each other their names. They can give clues about their name as long as they don’t say the name itself. For example, they can describe songs or books with their names in them, describe celebrities with the same first name, or using words that sound like their name.

Hand Holding Circle

First, tell all your attendees to stand in a large circle. Then instruct them to join hands with two other people, but not the two standing on either side of them. Once everyone’s followed this instruction, you should have a chaotic, tangled mess. The goal is to get into one orderly circle. The catch? The participants can only release one hand at a time.

Happier Hour

This funny event helps you feel like you stepped into a comedy club – and your very own team are the comedians that step up to the mic. Prompts and icebreaker games help your coworkers become utterly hilarious in this fun virtual event.

Hashtag Donation

Encourage your participants to make donations then share their donation amount to a specific hashtag. You may even turn it into a challenge by encouraging them to give something up for the day and donate the amount they’d spend on it. For example, if they go to Starbucks every day and order a grande latte for $3.65, they might abstain and donate the $3.65.

Head Shaves and Other Dares

In classic Twitch Charity Stream fashion, you can set up donation milestones, committing to zany dares if your audience can raise a certain amount of money. Get creative, utilize in-jokes among your fanbase (if you have a large one), and have fun!

Helium Stick

This is a simple but surprisingly difficult team-building exercise. Have everyone form two rows facing each other. Have everyone hold out their index fingers so they’re lined up. Then place a long, thin piece of PVC pipe (or other long, thin pole) along with the index fingers. The group must then keep the pipe horizontal while lowering it to the ground. Keep in mind that they cannot remove their fingers or grab the stick—that’s part of the challenge!

Hula Hoop Island

Lay several jumbo hula hoops around the room (or draw/tape circles on the floor). Have four volunteers stand in each hoop, then tell them they’re not allowed to leave until they find something they all have in common.

Hula Hoop Race

Divide the audience into multiple groups and have them all stand in a circle, facing inwards. Have everyone introduce themselves, then invite them to join hands. Afterward, place a hula hoop around someone’s arm and instruct them to circulate the hula hoop without letting go of anyone’s hand. If they drop the hoop, they have to start over. The first team to get the hoop all the way around the circle wins.

Human Bingo

This is a fun, flexible idea for anyone with access to a printer. Simply make a series of bingo cards with possible personality traits or physical features. For example:

☑ Someone who can list every astrological sign
☑ A blue-eyed woman
☑ Someone younger than 30
☑ Someone from Europe
☑ Someone who plays piano

If you want, you can theme these questions after your event or brand. You can also scale the game up or down depending on the event’s size. Generally, you want the bingo cards to have more spaces for higher attendance, and fewer for lower.

Icebreaker Box

Create an icebreaker swag box to allow groups to enjoy tasty snacks, party favors, and a make-your-own cocktail, right before your virtual team-building event. It’s the perfect thing to get your team loosened up and excited about your virtual event!

Ice Cream Float Virtual Icebreaker

Use a private virtual event planner to arrange for kits to be sent to all your guests. On event day, a virtual guide will show everyone how to make ice cream in a bag, and guests will dance around to popular songs as they shake their ice cream ingredients until everything is frozen. Guests will get to make their own root beer, orange soda, or cherry float to sip on as you move to the next session. (If your workplace is big on work/family balance, this is a fantastic virtual team event that employees can get their families involved in!)

If You Had a Magic Wand

For a quick icebreaker, ask each person in a group or a few volunteers what they’d change about your event “if they had a magic wand.” This also works as a fun way of doing market research, so make sure you write down the responses!

Interactive Mixology Lesson

Whether virtual or in-person, interactive mixology lessons are a great happy hour activity. Hire a mixologist to guide attendees through a themed cocktail-making session. You’ll need to make sure the instructor encourages participants to actually participate. When done well, this can create a fun and casual vibe which encourages attendees to network.

International Treasures: A Museum Scavenger Hunt

A trip to a museum on a rainy day can be a beautiful treat, but racing against the clock through Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum, together with your 4-7 teammates, trying to interpret clues to unlock 14 treasures of the art world will get everyone’s blood pumping, no matter where in the world they are!

Jackbox Games

As soon as someone purchases a Jackbox Game Pack, your team can choose any screen-sharing platform and start playing games. Test your wits with Quiplash, ask crazy hypothetical questions with Split the Room, create Wacky Word Clouds with Wordspud, or explain things badly with Blather Round.

Karaoke

As a fun bonding experience, set up a karaoke room for people to sing their hearts out. Certain software will even allow you to bring this experience to online circles.

Learning Circles from Atlassian

Learning Circles make it easy to plan virtual education activities about a topic relevant to your work. Use this to reinforce fundamentals that your team learned during training, or help your team understand one another better.

Let’s Make a Deal

Named for a particular segment of the popular game show, this simple game makes for a fun icebreaker. Simply have the MC ask the audience to produce a specific strange item (e.g. can opener, screwdriver, et cetera) or show a specific unusual photo (like a selfie with a quokka or a picture of a wine bottle). The first person to show the item or photo wins a prize.

Live Chat

Run a continuous text chat throughout the entire event, visible to all attendees. This allows people to chat throughout the event, across different rooms or activities that may be running concurrently. If like-minded attendees hit it off in the general chat, they may arrange meetings in networking rooms or decide to attend an activity together.

Live Homebrew Experience

Your employees can become brewers for the day from the comfort of their own homes with City Brew Tour’s Live Homebrew Experience. It requires no prior knowledge and comes with everything you need to brew a full case of beer. They can even work with you to create a custom label and team beer recipe.

Mad Libs

For a great spin on the classic game, make an event-themed Mad Libs. There’s a couple of different ways you can go about encouraging people to use these Mad Libs. You can either call them out for the whole group or distribute them to small groups/tables. You can set aside a specific time for Mad Libs, or simply leave them out for people to play with at will.

Marshmallow Catapult Challenge

Get marshmallows flying with this fun icebreaker that encourages teams to work together to build the best marshmallow catapult. The team with the farthest marshmallow trajectory wins. Show your team the power of a common goal and turn the conference room into a war zone! Teams from 50 people to over 500 can build a marshmallow catapult! This challenge takes at least 18 minutes to complete.

Mastermind Group

Creating a mastermind group is a great way to help people who struggle with networking. It’s a peer-to-peer mentoring group that helps members solve their problems with input and advice from other group members. This will help attendees share ideas, get feedback and build connections.

Masterpiece

Give each group a large piece of foam board, poster board, or similar surface. One at a time, each group member must draw some sort of line (straight, curvy, curly, et cetera). Have them keep going either until they lift the pen off the page or until an emcee tells them to stop. The goal is to make a recognizable drawing as a group.

Murder Mystery or Jewel Thief

Plan a fake crime and have your attendees solve it by finding clues. You should have some volunteers or pre-designated actors play each of the witnesses and suspects. If you use volunteers, be sure to compile all the information they know into a format they can easily and quickly read, and give them time to read and digest all that information.

Music Mayhem

Ask four random attendees to choose a song they like, then play a snippet of each song through the event’s speakers. Afterward, instruct the attendees to head towards a corner of the room that corresponds with which song they prefer. This not only allows people to meet others with similar music tastes, but you can use it to determine the soundtrack for the rest of the event.

This is also a great way to divide people into groups (assuming the groups are about equal).

Musical Chairs

This classic children’s game can help encourage conversation and give your event a spark of fun. To use this game as an icebreaker, simply add a rule where each time someone goes out, they have to share a fact about themselves.

Name Tag Switcheroo

To help break the ice for smaller groups and events, start by giving everyone the wrong name tag. Instruct them to find the person with their name tag. Before they can get it back, they must correctly answer three questions about themselves.

This not only creates a fun way for attendees to introduce themselves, but it also encourages them to learn more about each other and start conversations.

“Name that Emoji Song Title” Virtual Icebreaker

Start a group messaging chain through phone or your Employee Recognition Software of choice. Decide who goes first and set a timer for 3 minutes. The first person looks at their last played song and tries to use only emojis to give hints of the title, and everyone takes turns guessing the name until time runs out. After three minutes, reveal the song if no one guessed it, and share why it was your last played song.

Offline Book Club

Start a book club and have everyone do the reading independently and offline. Have them keep a log of their thoughts and impressions as they go. Have a final discussion by exchanging snail mail letters, hopping on a conference call, or meeting in person. This event is paid if you want to put up the dough for everyone to get the book, or close to free if each participant will be purchasing the book themselves.

Offline Employee Wellness/Fitness Challenge

Have everyone on the team complete a fitness challenge (it can be to complete a certain workout every day or achieve a specific fitness goal). As you complete challenges independently, you know you’re not alone. You can even incentivize this with a platform like Fond. You can even customize the rewards catalog with exclusive rewards to recognize their progress when they hit major milestones.

One-Word Icebreaker

Ask attendees to think of one word to describe a specific object or topic. This topic can be related to the conference or industry, and will give a variety of responses to spark conversations. You can encourage attendees to discuss the responses with their group or table. A few volunteers can then share with the wider group.

“One Word and I’m In” Virtual Icebreaker

Start your event with a Work-From-Home-Wellness Box and have everyone pick one word to fill in the sentence “I’m ___ and I’m in.” Examples: “I’m caffeinated and I’m in,” “I’m tired-but-ready and I’m in.” This is free if you choose to forgo the wellness box – but it won’t be as tasty!

Online Quiz Virtual Icebreaker

Each team member can answer up to 100 questions, skipping questions they don’t want to answer. Using the answers from your team, Quizbreaker generates “Who said what?” quizzes for each team member. They’re sent via email and can be scheduled according to your desired timing, volume, and frequency. Every round brings your team closer and facilitates a fun virtual team-building experience. You can even activate the Leaderboard feature to congratulate winners. Try it out for free!

Open Mic Virtual Icebreaker

Let everyone know they’ll have a minute at the beginning of the meeting to take the stage. Have them find or write an icebreaker joke, read a poem, sing a song, play the mandolin, show off their beloved pet – anything they want. Start your meeting with these awesome performances and allow ten seconds in between each performance for applause.

Open-Ended Instructions Challenge

Challenge your team to create something useful for the office using only items from their recycling bins and kitchen pantries. Have people share photos and descriptions of their completed items online or in person.

Pandemic The Board Game Tournament

Play Pandemic the collaborative board game where you get to help stop a global pandemic. While the physical game costs $45 and takes a lot of time to setup and learn, you can play free online. Split your team into small groups to play the game. This is great for groups of any size.

Paper Airplanes

Give everyone a crash course on how to make a paper airplane. Then tell them to write a funny introduction about themselves on a piece of paper and fold it into a paper airplane. Then have everyone launch their airplane at the same time. Everyone should pick up a plane other than their own and read off the introduction. At the end of the introduction, the person who wrote it should claim their airplane.

Pen Pal Program

Match everyone on your team with a pen pal. If the activity feels old-fashioned, own it. You can pretend you’re writing in Victorian England or during the American Revolution: even more fun for groups that are history buffs!

People Organizer

Have the attendees group or order themselves according to certain criteria like job role, favorite music genre, degree, preferred type of pet, or et cetera. This can get people talking and asking questions, connecting faces to important qualities like career or company.

Perfect Square

If you’ve already got a rope and enough blindfolds for everyone on your team, this is a free event! If not, you’re gonna need some for this event that works well in small groups of 10 to groups of 500+. If you’d like, you can split into teams to make this activity more manageable, but don’t forget to get extra ropes. You can either direct your team (sans-blindfold, and without touching the rope) on how to make the square or have everyone try to figure it out for themselves. Either way, you’re bound to have fun!

Personalized Name Tags

For a low-cost icebreaker, simply add a box to attendee name tags for them to add a small fact about themselves. For example…

☑ Myself in three words:
☑ Ask me about…
☑ My most interesting quality is…
☑ My favorite thing is…

You could also opt for something related to your event. These will help break the ice and take the edge off introductions.

Playingcards.io

Get on Playingcards.io with colleagues to play card games with your team for game night.

Playing Card Meet-Up

Hand a playing card to each attendee, then tell the attendees to group themselves first by the card’s number (or face—Jack, Queen, or King). Give them a limited amount of time to find similarities or complete another simple task. Then, shuffle the groups by telling them to rearrange themselves by a different quality of the card (by suit, color, odd numbers, even numbers, face cards, et cetera) and repeat the process.

For a free option, you can make your own cards. Instead of using the suits, you could substitute other shapes, colors, and numbers. You might even get creative and use something themed for your event. For example, if you’re hosting a geology conference, you could substitute the symbols for stones and tell people to group themselves based on the different qualities of their rock.

Portable Karaoke

Be a star and enjoy this fun singing event alongside your team. Feel free to throw some fun choreography into your performance, if you feel up to it! This event works for small groups but can be even more fun with a group of 100 or more!

Pre-Event Chat Rooms

Enable your platform’s chat function before the event begins. This way, attendees can begin networking before the event even starts. This will allow you to get the maximum value out of your event’s virtual nature. This will also encourage building a sense of community amongst the attendees.

Pre-Event Photo Contest

Challenge your attendees to bring their best photograph to the event and encourage them to share the context of the photo, relevant information about themselves, and/or something about their company. For an extra challenge, you can add themed categories like “Best Selfie” or “Best Marketing Image.” You could even have the attendees vote for their favorite image.

Pre-Event “Open House”

For attendees who’ve never attended a virtual event before, you could provide an open house to help familiarize themselves with how it works. Allow people to experiment with the platform before the event. Make sure you let them know who else is attending, how the UI works, and what they can expect.

Allow the open house attendees to chat with each other, helping them form connections before the event begins.

Put On a Concert or a Comedy Show

Live entertainment is a great way to engage with your audience and give them something to talk about. Whether you hire a stand-up comic or a live band, these shows can be a huge draw to your event as a whole, and give everyone some time to rest between networking.

Quickfire Questions

Tell your attendees to pair up and give them sixty seconds to ask each other quick questions. You could display them on large screens for the audience or through the event’s website/mobile app. Include interesting questions, fun questions, and event-related questions, but make sure they’re short.

Quizbreaker

With Quizbreaker, your team can answer up to 100 curated icebreaker questions. (They can skip questions they don’t want to answer.) Quizbreaker generates “Who Said What?” quizzes for each member of your team, sending them out automatically via email. This five-minute quiz is a nice, no-pressure icebreaker that your team can take part in as they’re available. There’s even a Leaderboard feature you can use to congratulate new winners each week!

Randomized Chats

Chat Roulette pairs participants for a conversation. You can dedicate one session or multiple sessions on the platform for this.

Real-Time Illustrations During Sessions

To keep your audience engaged and give them something to discuss, you could have an artist create a real-time illustration during your event. Having talented and quick-working illustrators create artwork during a live panel emphasizes what the speakers are discussing in an informative and entertaining manner.

If your company already has talented illustrators and/or graphic designers, you might have one of them show off their skills—giving them an opportunity to network while showing off your employee’s skills.

Remote Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of subjective, goal-based items (ie: find something that makes you feel happy, find an item attached to a powerful memory, find your favorite way to connect with others). Have your teammates log and photograph their answers, and share them via email or snail mail.

Rose/Thorn Virtual Icebreaker

This super-quick icebreaker allows you to get to know participants without requiring a lot of effort. Set up a Zoom meeting and give each participant a chance to list their “rose” (a positive thing that’s made them feel grateful/happy), and then their “thorn” (a challenge). The roses and thorns can be work-related or not… it just gives you an idea of what they’re like and what matters to them.

Rotating One-on-Ones

This event is relatively easy to set up, and free. All you need to do is set up a Zoom call and arrange breakout rooms where people can talk one-on-one with a random stranger. You could do this totally randomly or with the help of AI designed to pair people with similar qualities.

Roundtables

A conference classic, you can make roundtables even more effective with strategic targeting. Using AI, you can group your attendees based on certain categories—job title, interests, career goals, et cetera—and schedule them to attend a roundtable together.

Once they’re all together, you can give them prompts to help guide the conversation, or an activity to complete together.

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are a great way to encourage friendly competition. You can include clues or just a simple list. If you want, you can jazz things up by having the competitors search for QR codes or pieces of a URL instead of just objects. You can do this as a team exercise or have everyone compete individually. Be sure to offer prizes for the first few competitors to complete the hunt!

Selfie Games

With Selfie Games, players upload selfies and add sketches and captions. The goal is to guess which were made up and which ones the person pictured added themselves.

Sharing Expectations

Assign someone to write on a whiteboard, then ask attendees what they want to get out of your event. Have your scribe write their answers on the whiteboard. Not only is this a fun icebreaker, but also good market research.

Shark Attack

Secretly choose a “shark” from the crowd. Have them pick a trait to look for—like someone who enjoys going to the movies, someone who’s had martial arts training, anything as long as it’s not something you can see. The shark must talk to people throughout the room and try to find someone who has that trait. Once they do, they quietly inform that person they’ve been “bitten.”

The “bite victim” becomes a shark, and now they, too, must pick a trait and try to find people who have the chosen trait. The game keeps going until there’s only one person left in a room full of sharks.

Shoe Game

Invite participants to remove one shoe and toss it into a pile. Then ask everyone to draw a random shoe (other than their own). The objective of the game is to find the shoe’s match without speaking.

Simon Says

This classic children’s game works as a great bonding exercise. You can also sweeten the pot by adding some small prizes for winners, or add a twist where everyone who goes out has to share a fact about themselves.

Sing for Your Supper

You can either divide the group into smaller teams or have each person work as an individual, depending on your audience’s size. Start the first group or person by singing a line or verse from a popular song. The first group or person must sing a line or verse from a different song that shares a word or phrase from your song. The next group or person must do the same with the previous song.

For example, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog” might become “Nothing really matters to me, anyone can see” (from “Bohemian Rhapsody”) which might become “But that’s okay, see if I care” (from “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” by Pat Benetar).

Smart Badges

Thanks to technological advancements, smart badges utilize a special badge and mobile device to help pinpoint people of similar interests. When the badge-wearer approaches someone they have something in common with, the badge lights up and/or their smartphone gets an alert. This gives the wearers something to discuss right away.

The wearers can also choose to prioritize the kinds of people they wish to speak with.

Snowball Fight

Divide the group into two and place each team on opposite sides of the room. Give everyone a piece of a paper and instruct them to write a question on it. Then tell them to throw the papers at the opposite team. If a player gets hit, they have to pick up the paper, read the question, and answer it to the person on their right.

Social Media Challenge

If you were on the internet circa 2014, you probably heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge. This viral challenge dramatically increased awareness about ALS as influencers and average people alike drenched themselves in freezing water. The result was a tremendous influx of donations towards ALS research, accelerating the pace of scientific investment to an unprecedented degree.

Though it’d be difficult to recreate the Ice Bucket Challenge’s degree of success, there’s no denying the power of challenges when it comes to raising awareness and collecting donations. To create your own, simply come up with a fun and creative challenge and a corresponding hashtag.

Solve a Riddle

Look up some riddles and have people solve them as a group. The discussion and collaboration will make for a fun bonding activity. Do your best to make sure groups are separated. You may even choose to hand out small prizes to the first group who answers correctly.

Specialized Breakouts

Specialized breakout can help break attendees into smaller groups about topics they’re more interested in. Create multiple specialized breakout rooms at one time to ensure that your audience is spread out. Once you’ve got everyone in a specialized breakout room, have open forum ideas for people to comment on.

Speed Networking

This plays off the idea of speed dating. Pair up the attendees at two-person tables and invite them to get to know each other as much as possible during a two-minute span.

Splash Like Jackson Pollock

This is a great activity for large and small groups and can be relatively inexpensive if you purchase the supplies yourself or have them lying around. You can also offer acrylic painting classes for groups and pair it with some wine. Get your team out of their comfort zones by encouraging them to create a masterpiece!

Squad Squabble Virtual Icebreaker

To prep: find team-building software to host the online game, like Go Remote or Virtual Coworker Feud. Build teams and determine your questions (funny inside jokes are great)! Get answers from colleagues via email or a survey.

Play: After the online team game is set up, determine a host. The first team to buzz in gets to answer each question, and for every answer, they collect points. If they get three strikes (wrong answers), the other team gets to try and answer. Repeat until you have a winner: the team with the most points wins.

Snapshot Virtual Icebreaker

Ask everyone to use their phones to take a picture of something. It can be pets, kids, desk space, the refrigerator, an outfit, or their closet. Have everyone upload their pictures on a shared online whiteboard or a doc to create a digital collage of everyone’s snapshot. Compliment the pics and ask questions.

Switch Sides If…

Divide the room into two sides. One side will be a yes and the other will be no. Ask a series of yes or no questions, and tell people to move to the side which corresponds with their answer.

Table-Based Virtual Networking

Using tools like wonder.me, you can host a variety of virtual “tables” people can freely enter and leave. Though users can only hear when they join the table, they can still see everyone’s name and profile picture regardless of which table they’ve joined.

You can assign specific topics to tables, leave them open for general chatter, or have some of each. This will allow people to connect based on common interests.

Table Top Quiz

To encourage people to talk across the whole table instead of just side-to-side, provide each table with a small quiz. These quizzes can consist of event-themed trivia, pop-culture-themed trivia, quizzes about the event itself, or et cetera.

Get everyone to work together, offering a prize to the first table to finish their quiz with all answers correct. You can also set a time limit to increase the need for collaboration.

Team Movie Night

The classic team-building movie night is now available through an online medium. Though there are several streaming platforms that will allow you to play movies and TV shows, you can also just screen share Netflix or have everyone start the movie at the same time while hosting a chat room.

Either way, have a text chat available so people can talk about what they’re seeing on screen.

The Deserted Island Scenario

Join your virtual meeting and tell your team they’ve been stranded on a deserted island. Tell them they can choose three items from a list of survival tools. Give them a list (the longer the list, the more interesting the team game will be). Put the meeting on hold while each person gets 10 minutes for their three items. Resume the meeting and have everyone share what items they chose and why. Give everyone an additional 5 minutes to decide if they want to change their items, and ask those who changed items why they did it. This scenario should help everyone be more open to new ideas, and thankful for new perspectives.

The Drone Racing League Simulator

Race your teammates in this sophisticated simulator. Purchase the game and use Steam’s Remote Play Function to begin playing with your team over the internet.

Think of…

Give everyone a small item or toy (like a jack, a bouncy ball, coin, et cetera), and tell them to share a fact about themselves that the object brings to mind.

Throwable Microphones

Acquire foam balls or cube microphones that are easy to throw and catch, and durable enough to survive falling. To encourage audience participation and ease awkwardness, you can tell audiences to throw and catch microphones instead of passing them along.

Toilet Roll Challenge

This simple, whimsical icebreaker is great for breaking the ice amongst a small group. Provide the small group or table with a roll of toilet paper, then tell each person to take some without explaining why. Once they’ve taken their toilet tissue, tell them they must share one fact about themselves for each square of toilet paper.

Topic-Based Networking Rooms

Many platforms will allow you to create rooms people can enter and leave at will. Create a couple of these rooms to remain open for the duration of your event, making it clear they’re for discussion on a specific topic.

Travels

Give everyone a map of the country your event takes place in (or continent, if it’s a smaller country), then have your attendees tally up the number of towns, national parks, and other notable locations they’ve visited. You can choose to make each location count as a point, or value different types of places worth more points (one point for towns, two for national parks, et cetera). The person with the most points wins.

Treasure Mountain

Treasure Mountain was developed by expert online game developers. Race against the clock to compete against teams. Split your company into small teams of 4-5 people with a team captain for each. Provide the team captains with an access code to Treasure Mountain, and watch as they race through the riddles and challenges to be the fastest group to escape!

Trip to Paris Virtual Icebreaker

Choose from a variety of fun French activities: wine and cheese tastings, bike rides, French trivia and questions, getting-to-know-you activities, French vocabulary, and more. Experience the magic of Paris from your desk!

Trivia on Houseparty

Invite your team to join you on Houseparty, choose a trivia category and start testing your knowledge. The app provides immediate feedback and shares the results live so everyone can participate in real-time.

Truth or Lie

Have each person write either a true or false statement about themselves and attach it to their badge. Then invite minglers to guess whether the statement is true or false. Whoever can trick the most people wins.

Two Tweets and A Lie

This game is just like “Two Truths and a Lie,” except that you are using Twitter instead of truths. Everyone on the team heads to Twitter to find two ridiculous, but real tweets, from real people. Then they fabricate a tweet that’s just as outrageous as the others, and it’s up to everyone else to guess which Tweet is the fake. This works best with large groups (100+) but can work with smaller groups as well. If you’d like, you can even break your team up into smaller groups to make it a quieter game.

Video Game Challenge

Organize an online video game tournament with an entry fee, splitting the pot 50/50 between the winner and a charitable organization of your choice. You can invite amateur hardcore gamers or eSports players to compete, drawing a lot of attention either way. Be sure to broadcast the tournament and encourage virtual audience members to donate to your selected cause.

Virtual Activity-a-Thon

Similar to the classic charity marathon, you can encourage people to stream a physical activity using a specific hashtag. You can have people pledge a certain amount for how long the streamer lasts, and collect the donations once they’ve finished.

Alternatively, you can have people complete the activity on their own and have them donate based on how far along in the activity they got.

Virtual Awards Ceremony

If your event involves giving out awards, think outside the box to revamp your virtual awards ceremony. Make use of performers, hosts, great script-writing, and creativity.

Virtual Casino

Have your team dress to the nines and host a virtual casino night. They can play blackjack, roulette, craps, and more. Incentivize the night by giving the winner a gift card, cash, or company swag!

Virtual Dinner Party

There’s a reason this idea became an instant classic during quarantine. Dinner parties have long been a key tool for socialization, and they’re relatively easy to transfer into the virtual space. There’s various companies that will send meals or meal kits right to your attendee’s doorsteps. During the pre-determined mealtime, the diners can discuss everything from their personal lives to career advice.

Virtual Escape Quest

This is a “digital mash-up between an escape room and a scavenger hunt.” The game organizer starts by introducing the quest instructions and back story, and then (unlimited) teams of 2-5 people set off to complete their quest. For each puzzle, submit the correct answer to proceed to the next clue and solve the mystery. Try to complete the quest in the least amount of time, and stick around for the winner reveal at the end!

Virtual Gala

Though you might not think of a charity gala as an online event, there are ways to pull one off. Invite guests to join a Zoom call or other meeting call while sharing a virtual meal with each other. Give a keynote presentation or special remarks during the dinner.

Be sure to encourage your virtual attendees to dress for the event. If you want to go the extra mile, send registered attendees a bottle of while or a special snack ahead of time. You can also hold certain activities that you would normally see during a gala, such as a silent auction or a virtual raffle.

Virtual House Band

Live music helps set the mood in any setting, virtual spaces included. Your online event can benefit from house musicians who can take requests, host “guess the song,” and/or create original songs for an event.

Music brings people together, and providing music gives people something to talk about.

Virtual Receptions

To simulate a reception, break attendees into random groups of 4-6 people to create a “table.” Allow them to talk amongst themselves in the lead-up to some opening statements or a keynote presentation. You can also allow people to move to tables with empty seats in order to network with other people.

Virtual Water Cooler

Utilize a host (MC and/or DJ) to make sure that your event’s energy and engagement stay high. You can easily convert this to a great online experience, and include activities and games like Buzz-In Pub Trivia, the Giphy Challenge, Live Polling and Voting, Karaoke Battles, and more!

Vision Boards

Break the group into teams and have each team construct a collage of what they’d like to get out of either your event or from their careers within a year. Encourage them to draw, write, or cut and paste pictures onto the vision board. Then you can hang them up around the event.

You can easily recreate this for virtual events by giving everyone access to a collaborative document.

Water Cooler Trivia

This starts with a free 4-week trial and afterward charges about $1 per participant per month. Water Cooler Trivia is an online platform that generates automated weekly trivia quizzes. Offices are emailed a Monday morning trivia quiz with responses due that night, and results are sent the next morning. The schedule is customizable, and this is a source of weekly fun and conversation for the team without needing to invest in ongoing setup or maintenance. You can decide the categories, difficulty, timing, and region. They give you a leaderboard and you can vote for “funniest wrong answer.” You even get a bobblehead trophy to move to the winner’s desk each week (if/when you go back to the office).

Where Were You…

Put a large map on a wall or a big table, or the virtual equivalent. Give them three markers in three different colors. Here we’ll use red, blue, and green, but any colors will work. Invite people to put a red marker where they were born, a blue marker where they currently live, and a green marker on the place they’d most like to visit.

Whodunnit

Split your team into two groups. Each person anonymously submits something they’ve done (use Google Forms or Survey Monkey). The other group has to match the submission to the person they think has done it in another group. The facilitator can set up a simple PowerPoint (or Google Slide) of submissions and group members so you can drag the submission to the images of the people in the group. Quizlet is a good resource for this too. Here are more game details to get you started.

Word Clouds

This word cloud tool can be used to create a lot of excitement during company events. Use it for brainstorming new ideas or to get the ball rolling on a new project.

Would You Rather…?

This classic game works great as an icebreaker. You can structure this as an organized event or simply leave suggested prompts on tables. This is a fun way to encourage conversation and facilitate networking.

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