Webinars are excellent marketing tools. They’re an easy to set up and cost-effective way to connect with your leads. But we’re still very much people and sometimes we need a little something to remove inhibitions and get the conversation going. Both for the participants and the host. Enter the icebreaker. In this short blog post, we share our 5 best ice breaking webinar tips to help you loosen the atmosphere and deliver a great webinar.
- What is an ice breaker in webinars?
- Top 5 ice-breaking webinar tips
- 10 webinar icebreakers for you to try
- Kaltura’s webinar solution
What is an ice breaker in webinars?
Icebreakers are short interactive activities that give people a topic and reason to engage and communicate with each other. After the initial inhibitions to communicate and participate have been removed, it’s easier for participants to get to the meat of the webinar and continue engaging with each other.
Virtual icebreaker activities can vary wildly. You can ask your participants icebreaker questions, show an object and get participants to share their opinions and thoughts, launch polls, or organize games.
Specifically, in the case of webinars, where people sit isolated from the host and each other, webinar icebreakers can help bring down the barriers and show the individual participants that they are part of a temporary group. It helps them feel that the event is not as impersonal as they initially might have thought.
Top 5 ice breaking webinar tips
Icebreakers can have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve if you don’t exercise some sensitivity. But you can avoid any awkwardness if you take into account the following 5 points:
- Choose the right icebreaker for your audience
A webinar for colleagues will call for very different icebreakers than a webinar for total strangers. You can go far more personal with the former, but you should keep things more superficial with the latter. Be sensitive to the relations and cultural backgrounds of your audience.
- Have a plan B ready for everything
If you feel a participant has trouble or reluctance answering a certain question, you should have a backup question to move to before things get awkward. Gauge your participant’s reaction and don’t insist on an answer. Same thing with the activity as a whole. If you feel your icebreaker activity doesn’t resonate with your audience, then smoothly transition to an alternative activity.
- Don’t overdo it
If you feel that the atmosphere among your audience is spot-on from the get-go then maybe you don’t need an icebreaker. Also, if your webinar is organized in several sessions, you don’t need an icebreaker activity for each one. Just the first session will do.
- Use breakout activities for larger audiences
Webinar icebreakers become cumbersome when held with larger audiences. If everyone needs to get a turn in an audience of 10+, the activity will take too long. For those situations, it pays to have a professional-grade webinar solution like Kaltura Webinars that boasts breakout room functionality. Break your audience up into smaller groups of 2-4 participants for your icebreaker activity.
- Keep it short
As soon as your icebreaker activity has fulfilled its purpose, it’s time to move on to the meat of the webinar. No need to linger until it’s no longer fun. To keep your webinar icebreaker short and sweet, set time limits to answer questions or complete tasks. Ideally, the whole activity shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
10 webinar icebreakers for you to try
Here are 10 virtual icebreaker ideas that will help you warm up your participants and get them to interact with each other:
- Icebreaker questions
Ask your participants get-to-know-you questions in quick succession and give short reactions to their answers. Example questions: Where are you joining from? In one word, how would you describe…? Rank your favorites, …
- Group photo
Set the video thumbnails of your participants in grid view so you get everyone on one screen. Make the photo special by having everyone do something like making a funny face, grabbing their pet, making a gesture, or whatever can make for a hilarious or original photo. Do a little countdown and then take a screenshot (mac: command+shift+3 | windows: alt+PrtScn). Share the picture on the group chat and have a quick laugh with the group.
- Trivia quiz
- Background challenge
Ask your participants to choose a virtual background that represents the topic of the webinar, before the session. Have them use it for the webinar, then start the session with a round table to ask participants about their choice. You could also go for an unrelated theme like your next holiday destination, your favorite movie scene, your favorite person on earth, … just for fun.
- Coffee time
Nothing’s more bonding than a free conversation over a coffee or food. You can make your icebreaker just that. A good talk by the virtual coffee machine.
- Collaborative whiteboard session
If you use Kaltura’s Webinars solution, you can use the whiteboard feature to break the ice. Set up a brainstorming session around your webinar’s main topic or a subtopic and have the participants contribute their ideas to the virtual whiteboard. If you don’t have Kaltura, you can use a free online whiteboard tool like Google Jamboard.
- Virtual escape room
This icebreaker will require a webinar solution with a breakout room feature. Do a quick search for “virtual escape room ideas” and choose a few you like. Divide your participants into teams and send them to their virtual breakout rooms. As soon as they solved their puzzle, mystery, or challenge correctly they can call you to unlock the room. After everyone’s freed, you can discuss the experience as a group.
- Never have I ever
A classic! Each participant holds up a hand to the camera. Ask a series of ‘never have I ever’ statements. Anyone who did experience the statement puts one finger down. You can inquire about the stories behind the statements provided it’s not too probing. Keep the statements appropriate for your audience.
- Round robin story
Start an improvised story with a single line (e.g., Once upon a time, a chimpanzee joined a webinar.) and designate participants to add new lines to the story.
- Guess who
Have your participants share fun facts about themselves, before the session. Put these statements in a slide deck and present them to the participants. Have them guess who’s behind each statement. The participant in question can then briefly tell the story behind the statement. Help them with a few light questions.
Kaltura’s Webinars solution
No webinar solution is better suited for virtual icebreakers than Kaltura Webinars. You have breakout rooms, digital whiteboards, quick polls, and interactive quizzes built right in. And you have all the participant moderator controls you need to give people the stage or mute participants as needed.
But of course, Kaltura Webinars is not only about icebreaker activities. It’s about creating memorable high-quality sessions that will help you grow and convert your audience.
Kaltura’s webinar rooms are persistent, meaning you can brand them and prepare them ahead of time. When you come back to it, your room will be as you left it. Ready for your next session? Make it a good one with powerful tools like chat and moderated Q&A, screen sharing, multimedia playlists, HD video playback, and session recording. After your session’s finished, you can assess the performance of your webinar with granular session analytics
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