Once upon a time, online meetings belonged to professional use; not solely, but mostly – at least for me. Now, and as we adapt to the new norm of home working and social distancing, almost everything happens online. Work Meetings are all on video, family catch up is on video, friends social gatherings are on video, and when it is time to have a break, the TV gets switched on for more video content. Since covid19 hit out lives, my screen time has increased 100%, and that is for personal stuff.
When the lockdown started, many people jumped onto Zoom, MicrosoftTEAMS, WhatsApp video, FaceTime. But for some reason, Zoom got the entire media coverage and with all the positives, the negatives follow. Zoomedout became a new word (I am sure it will make it to the dictionary at some point) that reflects a person who is exhausted from the constant time spent on video conference calls. Do you recognise with this feeling? Are you Zoomedout?
One of the observations I had, is that work environments, whether used to remote working or not, handled video conferences in a similar patter:
- Lets schedule check ins to make sure every one is safe and maintain social connection.
- People started to get somewhat comfortable and diaries start to fill with meetings after meetings to get work done.
- Work conversations that used to happen over coffee or in the corridor while passing, now happen over video calls in between scheduled meetings
At first, all calls started with couple of minutes courtesy conversation. How are you? How are you coping? Are you keeping well? Have you started exercising? have you taken on baking?
Soon after that, those conversations died, and people became comfortable with the online routine and the little conversations turned into: Right, let’s get productive and dive straight into the agenda.
Arriving to this state is not wrong. This is a mere reminder that it is normal, and if you have hit this state, acknowledging it will help you address your ‘zoomedout’ status. Keep in mind, if you feel it, your teams and colleagues probably feel it too. So it is essential to bring back an element of out true self to these meetings, our true human self. That is why I wanted to share with you 10 icebreakers you can use to bring back fun into your online meetings.
- Guess the movie. Here is a list of emojis, each represent a movie. You do not have to use them all in one meeting, but if you take 2 or 3 and share them with the team, it would be a good energiser, gets the brain to break from work content for few minuts before you dive into productivity.
- Trivia Qustions: you can be the quiz master at every call, or have the role rotating on all team members. This is really fun and in no time, your team will become competative. I certainly paticipate in these trivia questions at work and I enjoy tyem. There are plenty of online resources to create trivia questions from. Here are couple of questions to keep you going. Remember, they dont have to be multiple choice questions, you can play catch phrase, you can send them a 30sec snippet of a song and let them guess.. Be creative!
Miller is a move in which sport:
Adele performed the theme song for which James bond film:
a. Casino Royale
d. Quantum of Solace
What colour is Donald Duck’s bowtie:
- Can you solve this? Share this image and let them solve the equation
- Can you guess wht these 20 images are? You can share the entire grid, or you can share some of it. Make sure you share at least one row with the group, as people can different hints from the grid.
- Add some more linguistic fun to the meeting. whether you have a multilingual team, or a team who speaks only one language, ask each individual to introduce one stenance of their desired language to the group. If your team is already multinlingual, then no prpearation is needed. Just kick off the meeting and go round the group one by one asking them to share how they say ‘xxx’ in their language. Phrases good be anything that would get everyone to smile – go for somthing like ‘Oh no! not another meeting’ or ‘Bad hair day, no camera on’ or the famous ‘can you hear me can you see me?’
I hope you find these useful and playful. I wanted to have them all in one location so you can easily access them.
Disclaimer: None of the above activities are my own creation. I was on the receiving end and enjoyed participating in these games. They were circulated on social media. Kudos to whoever created them, I wanted to pass on the fun.
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