1. "Rondje" Anything
One of our long-lasting Bit rituals (coined by our founder Marco), is starting every meeting with a “rondje goed nieuws” — a round of good news. Over time, we’ve created many variations of this “rondje” around anything. Some of our favorites: What’s the last thing that inspired you? What’s the first thing you’ve ever built / designed / sold? What was your favorite toy / thing to do as a kid? What’s your favorite day of the week? What is your favorite / most used emoji? It’s easy to think of many more, and there are some great ones here.
Make sure you have a virtual whiteboard open for all the participants to draw on. Then, set the stage: “Aliens have landed on earth, and arrived straight at your meeting. You have to explain to them what problem you’re looking to solve / what your company does / what this meeting is about. Without speaking. Each person is allowed to draw one thing / for 10 seconds to make an addition to the whiteboard.” Give turns and watch a masterpiece evolve.
Though not as an official icebreaker, we’ve done tours of our workstations, living rooms, balconies, and rooftops (MTV welcome to my crib style). As your home is something quite personal, showing someone around (even virtually) can be a bonding experience. For the same reason, this would work best for teams who know each other and come together regularly (also so you can take turns). A simpler version of this could be to ask “What is your favorite thing within arm’s reach right now?”.
Ask your team members to make a drawing or visual personifying themselves as superheroes. Try to illustrate what is your superpower? What is your kryptonite? Who is your nemesis? Besides producing fun drawings and a few good giggles, it’s a powerful way to open up about your talents, your weaknesses, and your (in)visible battles. Characterizing oneself requires honest self-reflection and adopting humor brings the necessary lightness to make this exercise as silly or vulnerable as each person feels comfortable with.
If you have Zoom or any other program that allows for custom backgrounds, use it! Ask participants to set their backgrounds to answer “If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?”, their favorite color, or the last picture in their downloads folder (caution: potentially NSFW).
A classic. Some of our favorite physical icebreakers that revolve around drawing (like blind portrait drawing, and the object + verb brainstorm) don’t translate very well to virtual calls. Thankfully there’s always Pictionary. Pick a web app like Drawize where no installs are needed, and take turns drawing and guessing your doodles. Drawful is definitely amongst our favorites, but be aware that this icebreaker takes a bit more time and effort to set up than others.
This being our favorites for now, we are always experimenting with new (virtual) icebreakers. If you’ve used an amazing icebreaker that’s not on this list, we’d love to hear about it. Or if we’ve just presented you with your new favorite way to start your meetings, let us know which one is your favorite and which variations you and your teams come up with!