However, as you will learn on any project manager course the key to working well as a team is communication and one of the best ways in which you can foster an environment where this is easy is to get to know your team. Whether you use video apps to chat, or have an internal messaging system, virtual team icebreakers can be the perfect way of getting to know everybody, especially when you can’t all get together in the one place.
Why should you consider icebreakers?
There are a number of reasons that any project manager should consider icebreakers with their team.
- They offer everyone an opportunity to talk at the beginning of a meeting. Research has shown that this in fact leads to a greater chance that people will actually speak up during a meeting, and this allows them to make suggestions other team members may not have considered.
- They offer the project manager an idea of the personalities of the team members and also their moods.
- Over a longer period of time, they allow team members to get to know each other and they can help everyone to bond. You don’t just know everyone by their job title or the role they play in the team, you know a little bit about the person as well.
Virtual icebreakers should be fun and quick questions that can help by starting conversation, lightening the mood and making sure that everyone is talking and taking part. It is worth noting that they are not suitable for every occasion, however.
Types of icebreakers
Check in protocol
This allows team members to say how they are feeling. This can be done either as a traffic light system; I am feeling red / yellow / green or with team members indicating whether they are mad, sad, glad, happy etc.
There are a number of different personality tests you could use that would give you a clue how the members of your teamwork.
- Myers and Briggs – which uses psychological preference to look at personality.
- Workstyle – this online tool measures the personalities of your team members and uses this to create a profile, not only for each individual but also for the whole team.
These can be a great way of using your project management skills to get the best out of your team later.
These are a great way to start a meeting, you don’t need to ask lots of questions, just one per team member will do. Here are a few to get you started:
- What was your first job?
- Where is your favourite holiday destination?
- Do you have any pets?
- What is your favourite band / music group?
- What is your favourite colour?
- What is the view from your window? (this is a great one when you have people working all over the world, or in different parts of the country)
- What is your favourite food?
However you choose to break the ice with your new remote team, getting to know them and allowing them to get to know eachother could help improve your project.