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109 icebreaker questions for virtual meetings

Georgina Guthrie

Georgina Guthrie

May 22, 2024

The start of a meeting can be awkward, especially if it’s full of new faces. Enter: the icebreaker question. It’s a prompt (or series of them) designed to get people relaxed and talking freely. 

Virtual meetings are no different, in that they benefit from the same groundwork as a regular meeting. Planning, structure, icebreaker questions — all must-haves, especially when there’s geographical distance between the attendees, who might need a little help to a) get to know each other; and b) get over the slight awkwardness of the screen format, with its lags, freezing moments, and accidental filters

So without further ado, here are 109 questions designed to get the conversational ball rolling. 

Brilliant icebreaker in disguise? The moment a lawyer forgot to turn off his cat filter in a virtual court session during the 2020 pandemic.

What is an icebreaker question?

Imagine entering a room full of strangers. All eyes turn to you. You feel that awkward tension, wondering how to start a conversation and what to say next. The horror! 

Then, someone asks, “If you could be any kind of soup, what would you be?” Suddenly, the room brightens. Everyone’s laughing and sharing ideas. That’s the magic of an icebreaker question!

An icebreaker question is a small but mightly technique designed to dissolve barriers, kick-start conversations, and help everyone feel more at-ease around each other. They can be funny, silly, thought provoking, deep, or completely random — but the goal is always the same: to get people chatting and feeling connected.

When should you use icebreaker questions?

The short answer: any group situation where you need to promote a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. 

Whether you’re meeting new colleagues, hopping on to a virtual call, at a social gathering, or joining a virtual event, icebreaker questions serve as the perfect opening gambit to lighten the mood and spark further conversation. And they’re just as well suited to dynamic young startups as they are established global corporations. 

Do you really need icebreaker questions?

Never underestimate the power of a good icebreaker — it can turn a meh meeting into a productive pow-wow, easing tension and fostering a warm atmosphere that’s conducive to good work. Here are nine reasons why they’re so useful:

1. Easing anxiety

Meeting new people is intimidating, let alone being the one to spark up a group conversation. Icebreaker questions help you get over that initial hurdle, making the first few moments a little bit less awkward. Everyone can breathe easy and start chatting more naturally.

2. Building connections

Icebreaker questions are a quick and easy way for people to share a bit about themselves—not just about their role in the company—their true personalities. Because icebreaker questions are designed to be non-work-related, they give people the opportunity to reveal things like their values and sense of humor, as well as uncover interests and experiences, which can lead to stronger connections. It’s essentially like finding a shortcut to getting to know each other better.

3. Encouraging participation

Not everyone is comfortable speaking up in a group. Icebreakers provide a low-pressure opportunity for everyone to add their two cents while giving the quieter voices a chance to shine. This inclusivity plays an important role in having an interactive session.

4. Creating a positive atmosphere

Starting with a light-hearted or interesting question sets a friendly tone for the rest of the meeting. The atmosphere is relaxed, so people are more inclined to engage, collaborate, and generally have more fun. 

5. Bridging the digital divide

Without face-to-face interaction, virtual meetings can feel a bit impersonal. Icebreaker questions add a sprinkling of humanity, helping participants feel more connected despite the screen. 

6. Combating isolation

It can be lonely working remotely. Because icebreakers offer a shortcut to fun and creativity, they add a much-needed sense of community among team members that extends beyond the usual deadlines and work requests. Icebreakers keep the team spirit alive, even when everyone’s geographically dispersed. 

7. Boosting engagement

With less movement and less of the human touch, virtual meetings can feel a bit lacking in energy. Starting with an icebreaker question spices things up, adding a sprinkling of novelty and stimulation that gets people’s brains in gear for a productive get-together. 

8. Creating space for everyone 

With voice delays, interruptions, and the occasional screen freeze, speaking up in virtual meetings can feel like hard work. Icebreakers create a safe space for sharing, fostering a more relaxed environment. Now that accidental interruption doesn’t feel so awkward.

9. Highlighting personalities

It’s tough to get a sense of who your colleagues are without a little IRL time. Icebreaker questions often reveal hidden quirks, values, and preferences, helping team members understand and relate to each other better. 

Icebreaker questions for virtual teams

Without further ado — let’s get into the questions! We’ve split them up into 5 groups: 

  1. Thought-provoking icebreaker questions
  2. Fun icebreaker questions 
  3. Work-based icebreaker questions
  4. WFH icebreaker questions
  5. Food and drink icebreaker questions

Many of these double up as icebreakers for in-person meetings, as well as check-in questions for managers to ask during catch-ups or one-on-one feedback sessions. They’re also ideal for kicking off remote (and in-person) team building events, as well as happy hour with the team.

Thought-provoking icebreaker questions

1. If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why?

2. What’s one book or movie that changed your perspective on something?

3. If you could solve one world problem, what would it be?

4. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

5. If you could travel to any point in the future, what would you want to see?

6. What’s a personal goal you hope to achieve in the next five years?

7. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why?

8. What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

9. If you could witness any event in history, what would it be?

10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?

11. What’s something you’ve done recently to improve your health?

12. Who inspires you, and why?

13. What’s your biggest fear?

14. What motivates you to get up in the morning?

15. What’s the one skill you think people should work hard on?

16. How do you channel your creative side?

17. What do you do when you’re stuck?

18. When was the last time you helped someone, and how?

19. What is one of your most special childhood memories?

20. If you had a million dollars to give to a charity, which one would you choose, and why?

21. If you could ask one question and be guaranteed to receive the absolute truth, what would you ask and why?

22. If you could experience someone else’s life for a day, whose life would you choose, and what would you hope to learn?

23. If you had the chance to rename yourself, what name would you choose and why?

24. If you could erase one event from history, which one would you remove, and what do you think the impact would be?

25. If you could create a new human sense that doesn’t exist, what would it be, and how would it change our perception of the world?

26. If you were tasked with redesigning the human body, what one improvement would you make and why?

27. If you could change one law of nature, what would it be, and what do you think the consequences would be?

Fun virtual icebreaker questions

1. If you could have any fictional character as your friend, who would it be?

2. What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

3. If you were a superhero, what would your name and superpower be?

4. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently?

5. If you had to sing karaoke right now, what song would you pick, and why?

6. What’s your favorite joke?

7. If you could switch lives with any animal for a day, which one would you choose?

8. What’s your most quoted meme?

9. If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

10. What’s the most unusual talent you have?

11. If you could be a soup, which would you be and why?

12. What’s a song you always get stuck in your head?

13. What’s a movie quote you say often?

14. If you could only communicate with animal sounds, which animal would you choose and why?

15. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done on a dare?

16. If you could turn any mundane activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance of winning a medal in?

17. If you could invent a holiday, what would it be called, and how would people celebrate it?

18.. If you had to live in a fictional world, which one would you choose and why?

19. What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?

20. What’s the silliest nickname you’ve ever been given, and how did you get it?

21. If you had to wear a costume every day for the rest of your life, what would you be?

22. If you could make a cameo in any TV show or movie, which one would it be, and what would you do?

23. If you could combine any two animals to create the ultimate pet, which two would you choose, and what would it look like?

24. If you could have a conversation with any object in your home, which one would you choose, and what would you talk about?

25. If you were a ghost, how would you haunt people?

26. What’s the most absurd thing you’ve ever believed as a child?

27. If you could create a new flavor of ice cream, what would it be and what would you call it?

Work-focused icebreaker questions for virtual teams

1. If you could work from anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

2. If you could swap jobs with anyone for a week, who would it be and why?

3. Do you have a favorite productivity hack?

4. If you could have any superpower for a workday, what would it be?

5. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?

6. If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?

7. What’s one goal you’re currently working towards?

8. If our team could work on any project, what would it be?

9. What’s something you’re currently working on that you’re proud of?

10. What’s one thing our team could improve on?

11. If you could describe our team in one word, what would it be?

12. What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had?

13. What’s the best team activity you’ve ever participated in?

14. What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled or seen at work?

15. If you had to teach a class on any topic, what would it be?

16. What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created or built?

17. What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?

18. What’s one skill you bring to the team that you’re particularly proud of?

19. If our team had a mascot, what would it be?

20. What’s one team tradition you’d like to start?

21. If our team had to survive a zombie apocalypse, what unique skill would you bring to the table?

22. If our team was a band, what instrument would each member play, and what genre of music would we perform?

23. If you could give our team an unusual superpower (e.g., the ability to teleport objects), what would it be, and how would it help us in our work?

24. If our team were to compete in an unconventional competition, what would it be and why?

25. What’s one positive thing that happened to you this week?

WFH icebreaker questions

1. What’s your favorite thing about working from home?

2. How do you stay productive throughout the day?

3. Do you have any pets that keep you company while you work?

4. What’s your go-to work-from-home outfit?

5. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while working remotely?

6. How do you separate work life from home life?

7. What’s your favorite home office accessory?

8. Do you have a favorite spot in your house where you like to work?

9. What’s your favorite work-from-home snack?

10. How do you take breaks and recharge during the day?

11. How do you usually start your workday when working from home?

12. What’s your number-one working-from-home tip?

13. If you could redesign your home office any way you wanted, what would it look like?

Food and drink icebreaker questions 

1. What’s your favorite comfort food?

2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

3. What’s the strangest food combination you enjoy?

4. Do you have a favorite restaurant or cafe? What makes it special?

5. What’s the best dish you’ve ever cooked?

6. If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?

7. What’s your go-to breakfast on a busy morning?

8. Have you ever tried to recreate a restaurant dish at home? How did it turn out?

9. What’s your signature dish?

10. Tell us about a cooking disaster.

11. If you had to eat one type of candy for the rest of your life, which one would you choose and why?

12. If you could only eat food that is a single color for a month, which color would you choose and why?

13. If you could only use one utensil to eat for the rest of your life, which one would you choose and why?

14. If you could design the ultimate dessert, what would it be called, and what ingredients would it have?

15. If you had to create a cocktail based on your personality, what would it be called, and what ingredients would it include?

16. If you could make a food trend go viral, what would it be and why?

17. If you could create an unusual ice cream flavor that represents your childhood, what would it be and why?

18. If you had to eat a dish from a fictional universe, which one would you choose and why?

Don’t let outdated tools hold your team back

Employees who feel good about their work environment tend to have fewer communication issues and do better work. Icebreaker questions might not seem like a big deal, but they’re as important to team meetings as foundations are to a house. Invest a little time upfront, and you’ll have a solid meeting — and a solid team — to follow. 

Once you’ve got the ball rolling with some inspiring icebreakers, hit the ground running with teamwork tools built for virtual teams. Think beyond email: Project management software and virtual whiteboards are both must-haves for any workplace that wants to stay connected. Take Cacoo and Backlog for a spin to see what they can do for you! 



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