Let’s face it: when you’re thrown into a room (or virtual meeting) with a big group of new colleagues, the awkward silence can be excruciating. But these activities are some of the quickest ways to get people laughing, talking, or creating something together.
Here are 21 simple icebreakers to initiate group conversations amongst employees, including large group virtual icebreakers for remote teams.
What are Large Group Icebreakers?
An icebreaker is an organized activity, game, or series of questions designed to make people feel more comfortable in new social settings. Think of icebreakers like the pre-workout warm-up: they help kick your team’s collaboration muscles into gear and prevent awkward cramps or discomfort in the workplace.
In workplaces with teams of 10 or more people, icebreakers are especially useful for starting conversations, creating new bonds, and evoking laughter.
21 Large Group Icebreakers for Work and Icebreaker Games
“Get to know you” games don’t have to be cliche, awkward, or childish. When done correctly, they can inspire some intriguing conversations or at least some tension-relieving laughter.
Whether you’re gathering virtually or IRL, one of these simple icebreakers can help your team feel more comfortable around each other and get them excited about new collaborations.
#1 Remote Scavenger Hunt
This remote game requires everyone on the team to find an item or take a photo in a rush against the clock.
Include simple yet fun assignments that you can share in a group chat or on video:
- A pet selfie
- Your favorite coffee mug
- Nearest book
- Your window view
- Home office work setup
- What you’re eating/drinking right now
- Take a photo of your favorite yoga pose
- Do your favorite TikTok dance
Share a virtual checklist and set a countdown timer on the screen for 5-10 minutes during the virtual call. See who can check off the most scavenger hunt items and share them. Name the winner who completed the most things with the funniest or most intriguing submissions.
#2 Great Conversation
Believe it or not, having great conversation can be one of the best icebreakers and connect with others. Knowing what to say is important, but it is equally important to know and utilize your self-improvement skills. Here’s a free goodie for that!
Communicate With Confidence
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#3 Foodie Icebreaker
Who doesn’t love to eat? Food brings people together and gives managers ideas for thoughtful employee appreciation prizes (like a catered lunch or gift card for employee of the month). It also sparks up intriguing conversations about similar taste buds or radically different food experiences.
Go around a table or virtual call and ask participants to answer one or more of these food questions:
- What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Crickets in Thailand?
- What’s the weirdest food pairing that you love? Pineapple on pizza? Milkshakes and french fries?
- What was your favorite childhood food memory?
- If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What’s your signature dish to cook for yourself?
#4 Who’s Your Office Hero?
Peer-to-peer recognition is one of the most effective ways to motivate your team. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated and acknowledged for their efforts?
In a meeting or team call, try this 5-minute icebreaker game by going around to each employee and asking them, “who’s your office hero this week and why?” Encourage everyone to think about small or significant ways they have noticed their coworkers rocking their job in the past week.
To keep the game going, create a shoutout board where employees can regularly post signed sticky notes recognizing their coworkers’ achievements.
#5 Most Likely To…
Test how well your team knows each other (or think they do) with this straightforward game. It strikes up fun conversations. First, create a list of “most likely to…” phrases. Try to match the number of words with the number of people in your group:
- Most likely to be a movie star
- Most likely to run a marathon
- Most likely to go skydiving
- Most likely to win a cook-off
- Most likely to win American Idol
- Most likely to write a book
- Most likely to travel the world
- Most likely to play an office prank
- Most likely to start a small business
- Most likely to be a morning person
Then, gather everyone in a large circle (or virtual meeting) and have one person read the first item on the list. Coworkers can vote on who best fits the description and explain why. The process repeats as the list passes, allowing everyone to participate equally.
#6 Two Truths and a Lie
Challenge your assumptions and learn random facts about your team with the classic “two truths and a lie.”
Go around the room and have each person tell the group three random statements about themselves– two should be accurate, and one should be a lie. Everyone then guesses which one was a fib. Sometimes the best surprises come from a lie that is a bit believable.
For example, “I backpacked the world in my twenties. I love watching the sunrise. My first job was working at a movie theater.”
#7 Icebreaker Bingo
One of the best large group icebreaker games is Conference Call Bingo. It’s familiar, helps people get to know each other, and offers a chance to award prizes. The basic premise is finding a coworker whose name can fit the statement on the Bingo board.
To create the Bingo cards, simply use Excel or Word to create a 5 x 5 cell table. Then, fill it with statements that your team may identify with:
|Grew up in the country||Has been on television||Ran a marathon||Has a garden||Prefers working in the office|
|Does yoga||Has more than 3 pets||Free space||Certified notary public||Prefers working remotely|
|Has a side hustle||Loves Mexican food||Has a bucket list||Rides horses||Spends a lot of time on the water|
|Has worked here for more than 10 years||Is left-handed||Loves to cook at home||Wakes up before 5 AM||Knows how to whistle bird calls|
Print out or share the Bingo board, and then set a time limit for how long you’d like the game to last. IRL meetings may opt for a 15-20 minute group play, whereas remote teams may prefer a few days or a week for coworkers to chat with virtually each other.
Then, they search for someone who matches a statement and gets their initials or name on that box. The first 3 people to win a full BINGO get a prize.
#8 Bowl of Questions
Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Asking questions is scientifically proven to make people like each other more.
Whether you’re gathering with an established team or have several new employees, breaking the ice with random questions is quick and to the point.
Simply type them up, throw them in a bowl, and pass the bowl around to let people choose a strip of paper to answer.
Here are 450 fun questions to ask to help you get started. Don’t forget to customize your question bowl with relevant things to your industry or location.
#9 Caption This
Print or download 3-5 goofy or odd photos (this Caption This! Flickr album has some great ones). Then, number the images and show them to your team. Everyone comes up with a funny caption and votes who wrote the hilarious one.
#10 Virtual (or IRL) Show and Tell
This is one of the simplest meeting icebreakers. It gives everyone a fun peek into the immediate surroundings of colleagues, potentially igniting future conversations about their personal lives. The “show and tell” is as simple as:
- Go around to each person in the group call or meeting and have them share a random item in their immediate surroundings. They could also share a photo in the group chat.
- Share out loud! Each team member can quickly describe the item and its significance.
For example, if you recently went on a trip to Italy, you may show a souvenir bottle of wine and tell a bit about your visit to the vineyard.
#11 Community Mural
Getting together in a large group at work can be intimidating at first. But, creating art reduces stress and helps people feel more relaxed to socializing. And you don’t have to be Picasso to do it!
This cooperative drawing icebreaker is an excellent way to mellow out and connect over creativity. While you need a bit more time than other icebreakers, it is a super calming activity that can also help beautify your office.
First, divide into small groups of 5-8 people. Provide each team with a poster board, canvas, markers, paints, or other creative mediums. You can also hang a giant paper roll over an office wall to create a larger-scale ongoing collaboration.
Assign a theme or prompt, for example:
- Create a mural with an inspirational message
- Design a poster with motivational words or quotes
- Draw your ideal workplace
- Envision a dreamy landscape
Then, give teams 20-30 minutes to get drawing. You can also display each team’s mural and revisit the drawing/painting activity for 5-10 minutes before each group meeting.
#12 This or That
With this question game, large groups can easily divide into conversation pairs and have the opportunity to interact with everyone on the team quickly. They can learn about each other’s preferences and share a little bit about their favorite things.
First, print a list of “this or that” prompts on pieces of paper:
- Pepperoni or cheese pizza?
- Sun or moon?
- Dogs or cats?
- Cheesecake or chocolate cake?
- Breakfast or dinner?
- Yoga or weightlifting?
Create two lines of people facing each other. Then, have them prompt their conversation partner with 3-5 “this or that” questions from the paper. In each round, the players choose their favorite thing and say why. Then, the first person of one line can circle to the other end so the partners can shift.
#13 Business Card Swap
Introductions don’t have to be boring, and business cards aren’t obsolete. Instead of shaking hands and stashing them in your wallet or throwing them in the recycle bin, large groups can use business cards to learn about each other.
Before this icebreaker exercise, remind your team to bring their business cards to the meeting. If someone doesn’t have a business card, provide an index card where they can quickly write their name, position, and contact info on one side. They will be doing a “speed networking” style game where the goal is to collect as many business cards as possible.
But, there’s a caveat: With every card exchange, they need to write 3 fun details about the person on the back of the card. Start the timer (15-30 minutes, depending on the group size) and send everyone off to shake hands and swap cards. The person with the most cards at the end of the period wins a prize and gets to read through their coworker’s fun facts from the back of the cards.
#14 Business Brainstorm Game
This is one of the most innovative icebreaker activities for video calls or in-person. It inspires creativity and entrepreneurial thinking by asking participants to develop unique business ideas.
Send out a link to these cards from ThinkLinks. Divide group members into groups of 10 or less. Each smaller group clicks the link and must develop a new business idea that incorporates all three cards displayed on the page. Set a timer for 20-30 minutes, and then share the product, service, or concept that each team comes up with.
#15 Guess Who?
It’s no surprise that people love to talk about themselves. Why not give your team a chance to share a random, funny, and memorable fact anonymously? Then, see how well their teammates know them. This can be incredibly humorous for teams who don’t know each other; they can see how people perceive (or misperceive) them.
On each index card, have team members write down a random fact about themselves. For example:
- My favorite movie is Titanic.
- I was the lead cheerleader in high school.
- I have an identical twin.
- My favorite color is periwinkle blue.
Then, gather all of the cards in a basket, shuffle them around, and have each person pick a card. Go around the table and have each person read the card they pulled aloud. The team can work together to guess who wrote the card and share some laughs about their reasoning behind their guess.
#16 Giant Jenga Icebreaker Questions
Perfect for a large group, a happy hour, or a teambuilding exercise, this is the classic Jenga party game with a “get-to-know-you” twist.
Take a normal Jenga tower game and write icebreaker questions on the back. Stack them up and begin the game. As each person pulls the block, they read the question and answer it aloud to the group. If someone makes the tower fall, they have to answer 10 questions.
Choose from one of these 450 interesting questions or create your own! Better yet, pass out a block or two to everyone in the group and let them write their question ideas ahead of the icebreaker exercise!
#17 Achievements Under 18
This is a fun icebreaker for learning about your colleagues’ pasts. Whether online or in-person, go around the group and have each person share the achievement they’re most proud of from before age 18. Leave a little time for elaboration and questions so you can sneak a peek into where your employees come from and what they most valued at the time.
#18 Dream Celebrity Dinner Guest
Learn more about who people admire by asking their dream celebrity dinner guest. Pose the question, “If you could have anyone (dead or alive) over as a dinner guest, who would it be, and what would you cook for them?”
Use this as a virtual meeting opener or the beginning of an in-person meeting, then give everyone a moment to think about it while the leader provides an example:
- “My dream dinner guest would be Maya Angelou because she is the most inspirational writer, poet, and wise woman I’ve ever read about. I would make her a classic southern comfort meal with a healthy twist.”
- “I would invite Nelson Mandela and prepare him the classic South African corn dish called ‘samp.'”
Go around and let each team member share their answer.
#19 The Endless Story
For another fun way to engage everyone’s creativity, this large group icebreaker brings out the imaginative (or goofy) side of your team as they write a collaborative mini-story wherein each person adds their flair.
Begin by choosing from a list of story starting prompts, such as:
- I opened my eyes and had no idea where I was…
- Suddenly, a giant lightning bolt struck in the distance.
- She opened the letter, and it said she’d won $1,000,000.
The first person adds a sentence to the prompt. The following person elaborates on the story and adds their sentence, and so on. Optionally, you can have someone type up the story to read back to the group or just enjoy listening at the moment.
#20 Never Have I Ever
You might remember this game from childhood, but it is equally as interesting for adult professionals. “Never Have I Ever” can be played virtually or in person. You get to reveal weird or secret facts about your coworkers while understanding a bit more about their personalities.
To play the game, everyone begins with ten fingers up. As you go around to each person in the group, participants say something they have never done, for example:
- Never have I ever missed a flight.
- Never have I ever gone skydiving.
- Never have I ever lost a bet.
- Never have I ever gotten a tattoo.
- Never have I ever gotten lost in the woods.
If a player has done the activity, they put one finger down—the first player to put all their fingers down wins.
#21 Group Trivia
Teams that trivia together stay. Something is endearing about letting people show off their knowledge on specific topics. This game allows pairs to work together to guess the answers in a friendly competition with other groups.
Try incorporating some unique trivia topics that your team might be interested in or knowledgeable about, such as:
- Music: Create a “guess that song” game from an oldies playlist on Spotify
- Sports: Post these sports trivia questions on a video call or projector screen
- Business: Try this business celebrity trivia game to see who knows the most about big business in the spotlight
Keep a simple tally of who gets the most answers and offer a gift card for the winner.
#22 The High-Five Challenge
When you have a large group at an event or conference, you probably want to captivate the audience and kick things off with a bang. This large group icebreaker invigorates everyone with energy, positivity, and a sense of community by honing into the bonding and motivational effects of high-fives.
To play the game, explain to the group that they have a certain amount of time to give several high-fives:
- For small groups (30 people or less), 15 high-fives in 15 seconds
- For mid-to large-size groups, 30 high-fives in 30 seconds
- For extra-large groups, icebreakers (50-100+ people), give at least 45 seconds
To engage everyone to move around the room, each high-five has to be a new person. For an exciting twist, use a loud countdown timer or a “ready, set, go…”.
In the end, ask who got the highest fives and celebrate the wins. Watch this video to learn more about how and why this icebreaker works so well:
Key Takeaways: Keep Icebreaker Games Short and Simple
Icebreakers are one of the easiest ways to break down social barriers in the workplace. But if they get too complicated or go on for too long, people might get bored or impatient waiting to get to work.
The best icebreaker games are:
- Easy to explain
- Under 20 minutes
- Replicable in a virtual or IRL meeting
- Team-oriented (everyone gets a chance to talk or participate)
- Conversation-starting (the game should help colleagues get to know each other)
Don’t forget to motivate your team to participate with simple prizes like $5 gift cards, a lunch surprise, a team shoutout, or front-of-office parking for the week.
Whether big or small, if you want to take your team’s collaboration and communication to the next level during meetings and team retreats, innovative meeting icebreakers can be the secret to warming people up and helping them connect. Watch this video to learn more: