Digitale Events

The best warm-ups for online meetings

Die besten Warm-Ups für Online Meetings

Unfortunately, bad rounds of introductions and warm-ups are also common in online meetings like sand on the sea. The result is annoyed participants or - even worse - awkward silence. Why is that? Usually due to a poorly chosen activity that neither fits the context of the meeting nor the team culture or the group of participants. How do you develop suitable warm-up exercises? We have listed some suggestions for you.

How do you choose the right warm-up for your online meeting?

Virtual meetings and events allow us to use completely new types of warm-ups. The right activity is tailored to the occasion, mood and context of the meeting. It is also important to consider the group dynamics and the prevailing culture of the group.

You should therefore consider the following aspects:

Adjust to the length of the meeting

Adapts the length of your warm-up to the overall length of the meeting. A round of introductions or a warm-up is only good if the participants find it enriching. If it is too long, however, it is quickly perceived as a waste of time. For meetings up to an hour, the round of introductions or warm-up should not exceed 5-7 minutes. The moderator should definitely keep an eye on the clock and – if necessary – intervene to speed things up. If it is a longer meeting or event, a longer warm-up is also possible and can even be split into several parts. We at Theyo have already enriched many virtual events and workshops with small chocolate tasting units . With a chocolate kick start at the beginning of a longer meeting you can win the hearts of all participants ;-) and there is enough nerve food for a productive cooperation.

Give your warm-up a meaningful goal

Is it about bringing together participants who don't know each other at all? Or is it a group that has known each other for a long time and may already be working together? Connects the warm-up phase with the actual goal of the meeting. Depending on the goal, different things are achieved, so choose the warm-up so that the time is well used.

Adapts the warm-up to the group of participants

Be sure to use the right tone during the warm-up exercise. But at least as important: especially when the atmosphere is more formal, it is all the more important to include fun elements. So don't be afraid to ask the participants to get creative or to reveal something about themselves.


Our favorite warm-ups


What's the matter?

Prepare a series of questions that describe and unite the participants. This can be about countries of origin or regions, but also about team membership, work topics or private hobbies. Ask the participants to raise their (virtual) hand (and keep it up) if the description fits them.


Raise your hand if...
….you work in marketing come from Hamburg like chocolate (especially useful before a chocolate tasting team event ;-) )

When is it particularly good?

- For larger groups (at least 15 participants)
- For participants who do not know each other yet
- If you have or can collect sufficient information about the participants in advance

(Technical) requirement

Participants must be able to raise their virtual hand. Of course, they can also raise their hands in the video, but this quickly becomes confusing in larger groups.



What's the matter?

Ask participants something they can answer quickly and easily. Give a short time frame (max. 1-2 minutes) before they can write their answers in the chat. If appropriate, ask specific participants if they can explain their answers in more detail.


Which emoji best reflects your current mood?
What word best describes this meeting?
Describe our current collaboration with a word or an emoji.

When is it particularly good?

– For any group size
– As a check-in
– As a quick check of the mood of the participants

(Technical) requirement

A working chat. In the meantime, this has actually every common video software. But beware: if external parties are in the call, be sure to check in advance whether they can also use the chat. Otherwise, this exercise can backfire if some are excluded.

post-it online icebreaker


What's the matter?
Ask participants to search for a GIF to post to chat, a shared board, or space (e.g. Slack). 


Which GIF best represents your current mood?
Share a GIF summarizing your weekend.
Choose a GIF that best represents our current purpose.

When is it particularly good?

– With small group sizes (because it often takes longer than you think)
– As a visual check-in
- Everyone knows what a GIF is and can quickly find one

(Technical) requirement
– Participants are technically (sufficiently) well versed
- Possibility to share GIFs in chat or other shared space/tool


What's the matter?

Ask participants to bring an item to the meeting in advance, which they will then present in the warm-up session. They should describe what item they brought with them and why they chose it.


Shows something...
that is important to you personally
which reflects our current project/collaboration
which is currently giving you a lot of joy

When is it particularly good?

– With small group sizes (because it often takes longer than you think)
– Participants should (personally) get to know each other better
– Participants should be challenged

(Technical) requirement

All participants must be able to turn on their video (therefore a good internet connection should be available).

digital warm-up instead of in the park

Oldie but Goldie: icebreaker questions to get you started

You want to keep the check-in rather short? Then a short icebreaker question could be a good start to the digital meeting. Ask the question right at the beginning - if necessary also in writing on a shared slide - and give everyone a little time to think about it. Then let the participants take turns giving a short answer. The good thing about the icebreaker question is that you can connect it to useful information like name and location. Especially in groups that don't know each other that well.
But beware: even with small groups and short response times, this approach is a bit more time-consuming. We recommend them for groups of up to 10 people. For larger groups, you can set up small break-out rooms (e.g. at Zoom ) where the groups can then exchange information with each other.

Exciting icebreaker questions are:

What's the best advice you've ever heard?
What do you currently like to do (outside of work)?
What is an ability or fact that most people don't know about you?
What was the most positive experience of the last week?
What are you looking forward to most about this meeting?
Want to learn more about icebreaker questions? Here we have a list of the best icebreaker questions for online meetings .

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