We have all been there – an event, training session, or meeting where you don’t know anyone.

It can be awkward.

Some people fidget, others look around, people aren’t sure what to say, or if they should introduce themselves.

This also happens online. 

Shoving people together in a virtual space doesn’t automatically make things happen.

As a community manager, you need to find ways to encourage introductions, connect your members, and get to know them better.

This is where icebreakers come into play.

The Purpose of an Icebreaker

An icebreaker is a broad term for an activity designed to help people get to know each other and build trust. Icebreakers should have an element of playfulness to help people loosen up and feel comfortable.

This article will take a closer look at different icebreakers you can employ in your community to help foster meaningful relationships and drive participation.

#1 A Scavenger Hunt

A virtual scavenger hunt is a great way to build connections and trust while having fun!

In a scavenger hunt, participants are sent to find and take a photo of a series of common, outlandish, or humorous objects. This game can be played individually or in teams.

Top Tip: Ask participants to post their photos in a dedicated space within your online community platform so everyone can see and comment on the action!

 

The winner is the person or team to post photos of all the items first. 

Decide on the prize for the winners. You could offer branded community swag, tickets to your next community event, a membership upgrade, access to exclusive content, or a one-to-one with the community creator.

Here are some ideas of what you could ask your members to find:

  • A photo of them in front of their favorite attraction in their town
  • A photo of their most 90s’ (or another era) quintessential item
  • A photo from their childhood
  • A photo recreating a childhood photo
  • A photo of their favorite book
  • A photo of a homemade dessert
  • A photo of the view from their office
  • A photo of their home office setup
  • A selfie with a pet

#2 Virtual Coffee Club With Conversation Cards

virtual_coffee

Organize a virtual coffee every quarter to introduce new members.

Depending on the number of new people, you could organize virtual coffee breaks for the whole group or smaller groups.

Create conversation cards to help the conversation flow. Conversation cards provide open-ended sentence starters or questions that encourage meaningful conversations.

These days, many social situations are filled with small talk, be it the weather or upcoming weekend plans. 

Small talk can be great (and necessary). We can’t be chatting about the “deeper stuff” all the time. 

But we do eventually want to go beyond small talk and have richer and more meaningful conversations, and this is where conversation cards can help!

Try some of the following:

  • What do you like most about [topic]?
  • How did you get into [topic]?
  • What do you struggle with as an adult that came easy as a child?
  • What do you find most challenging about [topic]?
  • What would you like to learn more about?
  • What is the hardest part of your job?
  • What is your favorite memory/ book/ movie/ series/ game?
  • Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Top Tip: Upload your conversation cards into your community resource center so everyone can have access to them.

 

The goal is to encourage people to talk and share something meaningful that helps others get to know them and forge connections.

You could also start a thread called “I would like to have a coffee with …” and encourage members to tag members with whom they would like to have a virtual coffee.

#3 Time Machine

The time machine icebreaker is helpful to understand members and their interests better.

Start a discussion in your community’s forum or within a dedicated group on the platform, asking people where they would go if they had a time machine. Ask people to share pictures to illustrate their answers. Encourage others to ask further questions such as “would you like to meet anyone specific from this period?”.

Once someone has answered the question, ask them to tag someone else in the community that they would like to answer.

Knowing Your Audience

When combined with a great community onboarding strategy, icebreakers can help to facilitate meaningful connections and drive engagement within your community!

When you are thinking of an icebreaker, consider your audience and appreciate how you can extend them to try something a little new and different.

An icebreaker you do with a group of people from a passion-based community might be different from an icebreaker you do for a corporate alumni community. Or maybe not!

Hivebrite is an all-in-one community engagement platform. It empowers organizations of all sizes and sectors to launch, manage, and grow fully branded private communities. Schedule a demo today! 

Written by Hivebrite
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