I’ll let you in on a secret.
To make any online team building session successful, follow 2 tried-and-true rules:
- Always start with an icebreaker.
- Make it visible.
The first thing Tess and I do in any team building session with remote, virtual or blended teams, is to engage the participants in a way that recreates the informal conversations that appear naturally in the physical workplace. An icebreaker can be really useful in this situation.
Icebreakers are exercises or games designed to casually introduce members of a team and/or warm up the group for the task they are about to embark on.
Second, visualisation is key. When you’re team building virtually, it’s especially important to have visual artefacts to allow participants to express themselves.
In remote teams, opportunities for new staff and team members to ‘meet’ and get to know colleagues in a less formal environment are few and far between. Icebreakers and visualisation allow everyone to feel comfortable and start the session on an equal footing.
Not only do icebreakers and visualisation help participants relax, engage and feel safe, but in remote team building sessions, they provide an opportunity for participants to feel comfortable with the technology.
Following are some tips and basic icebreakers for remote team sessions, whether you’re using the whiteboard function of Microsoft Teams or stand-alone tools like mural.co, miro.com or Trello.
For practising technology
- Type the words of your favourite song OR what you had for breakfast OR even The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
- What is your favourite story? Title, author and why in 30 words or less.
- Trivia competition – break into teams if the technology allows.
- Upload a photo of something in your home of significance and tell a story about it.
For getting to know you
- What is your favourite saying and how does it affect your life?
- Who is your hero or heroine and why are they so important to you?
- If you could be a fairy tale, cartoon or movie character who would you be and what would you be like to live with?
- What could you do to become very famous?
- You are now your country’s leader. What is the first thing you will do?
- What have you achieved that you are most proud of?
- What is your worst kept secret?
- If you could be a fly on a wall, whose wall would you like to be on and why?
- What was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? Who did it and why?
For creating a vision
- If you became the boss for one day only, what would you do?
- What captures your imagination and why?
- What image captures your hopes for you? Your team? Your company? (use online images to choose from if you can).
- Explain a beautiful spring day to a blind person.
- If you could live to 1,000 what would you do differently?
- How would you catch a falling star?
- What is at the end of your rainbow?
- If you could make a momentous discovery, what would it be?