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Icebreaker Ideas for Hybrid


If your event, meeting, workshop or course depends on people being able to communicate comfortably with each other, chances are you’ve put a good amount of time into crafting the perfect icebreaker activities to get everyone warmed up and ready to participate. Icebreakers work best when they’re fun, interesting, and unique, and when they help people genuinely get to know each other better.


There’s a wealth of information online about how to run icebreakers for groups that are meeting virtually and for groups that are meeting fully in-person, but hybrid events and meetings pose their own unique set of challenges. Your in-person attendees might benefit from doing something physical and interactive, but that risks leaving your online attendees feeling left out and forgotten. At the same time, your online attendees would have no problem using a feature-rich tool like a digital whiteboard, but your in-person attendees might struggle unless they all have their laptops with them.


Here at Mixate, we’ve designed a library of creative, interactive icebreakers that spark joy for every member of your hybrid audience. Because your attendees use their smartphones to participate, everyone can join in the fun whether they’re in the room with you or joining remotely.


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Make your icebreaker questions interactive with Throwable Mics


Asking the group questions like “what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received at work?” or “what famous person from history would you add to your team?” is a classic icebreaker activity. Depending on the questions you choose, the group can have a light-hearted debate about the best type of sandwich ever created, or whether it’s better to be completely alone on a desert island or be stuck there with your worst enemy. This is a great way for the group to get to know each other better and get comfortable before diving into the more serious discussions you’ve got planned for the rest of the meeting.


Icebreaker questions are easy to set up but can be a challenge to facilitate well, as you need to make sure the more extroverted members of your audience don’t drown out the quieter types. A technique that works great for groups meeting fully in person is to use a “throwable mic” – a soft object like a foam ball that your participants can toss to the person they’d like to hear from next. However, running this activity in a hybrid setting introduces its own set of challenges – it's awkward to pass the ball to someone who's joining by video.


With Mixate’s Throwable Mics activity, participants can catch and throw the “mic” straight from their smartphone. The great thing about this is that it eliminates the difference between in-person and online attendees, making it much easier to spark natural interactions between your entire audience wherever they are.


Here’s how it works in Mixate:

  1. Choose ‘Throwable Mics’ from the Mixate activity menu

  2. If you want, you can edit the instruction line by clicking on it and typing your own question or prompt

  3. Share your screen

  4. Your participants join by scanning the QR code with their smartphone, or by navigating to the short room URL directly (e.g. www.mixate.me/123456)

  5. When everyone’s joined, click “Start” and away you go!


Get to know everyone better with Creative Self Portraits


Icebreakers are most effective when they help everyone get to know each other while having a lot of fun. For audiences who have sat through countless icebreaker activities at innumerable meetings throughout their lives, it can be hard to run a truly unique icebreaker that delivers both fun and a sense of connection. Adding in the complexities of running a hybrid meeting makes this all the harder.


Mixate’s Creative Self Portraits icebreaker solves this problem, by giving everyone a chance to let their imaginations run wild while drawing a quick self portrait of themselves and sharing it with the group. What’s great about this is that the drawings are done right on everyone’s smartphones and put up in a virtual gallery on the big screen, so everyone can participate equally whether they’re in the room or joining by videoconference. Ask your participants to describe their self-portrait and what it represents about themselves, and see how much more joy this sparks than just repeating the tired old question “tell the group an interesting fact about yourself…”


Here's how it works in Mixate:

  1. Choose ‘Creative Self Portraits’ from the Mixate activity menu

  2. If you want, you can edit the instruction line by clicking on it and typing your own prompt

  3. Share your screen

  4. Your participants join by scanning the QR code with their smartphone, or by navigating to the short room URL directly (e.g. www.mixate.me/123456)

  5. As soon as your participants join, they can get started working on their masterpieces


Take stock of everyone’s energy levels creatively with Draw How You Feel


People can have wildly different feelings coming in to the meeting, event or workshop you’re organizing. If they stopped by the Starbucks on the way, they might be buzzing with caffeinated energy. If the topic is something they’re excited about, they might feel energized and ready to jump in. They might feel tired after a long day or week, or triumphant after closing a big sale. Mixate's Draw How You Feel activity lets you start your meeting off on a fun and creative note by letting people express themselves creatively.


Draw How You Feel works really well as an icebreaker, especially if you invite everyone to describe their drawings and talk about why they drew what they did. Draw How You Feel is also great for taking stock of how everyone’s feeling over the course of a longer workshop or event, or sparking insight and conversation during retrospectives.


Here's how it works in Mixate:

  1. Choose ‘Draw How You Feel’ from the Mixate activity menu

  2. If you want, you can edit the instruction line by clicking on it and typing your own prompt

  3. Share your screen

  4. Your participants join by scanning the QR code with their smartphone, or by navigating to the short room URL directly (e.g. www.mixate.me/123456)

  5. As soon as your participants join, they can get started drawing how they feel


Conclusion


There’s a wealth of icebreaker activities to draw on for fully in-person and fully virtual meetings, workshops, and events, but it’s been a struggle to run these in a way that fully engages a hybrid audience. With Mixate, you can spark creativity and engagement with drawing games, interactive conversation tools, and other smartphone based activities that every member of your audience can join, wherever they are.


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