You're already familiar with that horrific feeling of being in a room of people that you don't feel comfortable with yet, or the awkward feeling at the start of a corporate conference, where you're just trying to make uncomfortable small talk with the people around you.
No? Just me? Well, let's imagine you know what I mean too ;)
No matter if you're at running an event, a webinar or you're just looking for something to get the team talking at your next all hands meeting, asking poll questions can be a great way to break the ice.
A live poll with a couple of poll questions that get the cogs whirring in peoples heads, and get them laughing along with their peers can lighten the mood of any room.
In this post, we've listed a whole bunch of ways that you can get a group of people to be more relaxed. Not only have we come up with a bunch of creative poll questions that you can ask, but we've categorised them by the best poll questions to ask in a number of different ways.
These icebreakers are great questions to ask your audience regardless of what situation you find yourself in.
What are the benefits of icebreakers?
An ice breaker can transform a tough crowd into a warm audience. Mostly, that's because they help us to get outside of our 'serious' modes and help us engage with other people in a fun and informal way.
Using ice breaker questions, you'll see that the whole body language of a crowd (even though they're seated) will change. While it might be tough at first to get any noise out of your all hands meeting or conference, pretty soon you'll see that the murmur in the room becomes more audible, the stern seated postures switch to relaxed and when we're relaxed, we process information better.
Another reason that ice breakers are good is that they can help engage even the most timid of participants. By creating a fun atmosphere, people forget some of their usual social anxieties and are able to find out what they have in common with everyone else.
This has a huge impact on the success of an event in the audience's mind. It also gives them a series of great stories to talk about after the event or meeting is finished.
And hey, if you want people to come back to your next meeting, presentation or conference, then you want to make a good impression, right?
How to use these poll questions
These poll questions can be copied directly from this blog into your live poll or you can use them for inspiration for your own questions.
Some questions will need to be slightly rewritten for your purposes (for example, questions about locations etc).
So let's get right into it.
Getting to know you questions
Look, I'm going to be honest with you. None of these questions are going to raise the roof with uproar or the sound of belly laughs.
On the other hand, adding these poll questions to your live poll is going to get people familiar with the people around them.
Best for: larger audiences, external events and conferences, industry gatherings
Not so good for: small teams, internal events, all hands meetings, fireside chats
Multiple choice questions
How far have you come today?
- I'm working from home / joining virtually
- Less than 10 miles
- 10-50 miles
- 50-100 miles
- 100-250 miles
- 250+ miles
What did you come for today?
- Learn new skills
- Pick up all the important information
- To eat a quality buffet
- To make new connections
- I wanted a day out of the office
What's your job role?
- Business development
- Client/customer service
- HR, People Operations
- Marketing and communications
How are you feeling about today?
- Totally pumped
Are you open to making new business connections today?
- Depends on who I meet
Do you already know lots of people here today?
- I know 100% of the audience
- I know a good number of people
- I know 1-2 people
- I don't know anyone
- I'm questioning whether I know myself or not
The questions in this section might form a nice intro to some of the more fun or lateral thinking style poll questions that you're going to be asking from the next sections.
Would you rather? / This or That questions
We've lumped two categories together here because they're quite similar.
Sure, your kids probably like playing Would you rather? but let's be honest, who doesn't love a game of it? Not familiar with it yet? The idea is to pose two completely ridiculous, or divisive options in response to the question 'would you rather.' The aim is to really polarise opinions and make people stop sitting on the fence.
This gets people in the mood for properly evaluating the more formal content of your conference or presentation.
Best for: team meetings, conferences where the subject matter might be otherwise heavy
Not so good for: These would be good for anyone, but you might want to adjust the 'silliness level' to an appropriate setting for you
Similarly, this or that poll questions help people identify with the people around them. They're fun questions that ask for preferences on a series of topics. You'll find that as the results of your live poll are projected onto the big screen on the stage using doopoll's Presenter View, the audience will audibly react and discuss the results with their colleagues.
Let's start of with some Would you rather? questions. These are all presented as yes/no question types but you could also use multiple choice questions if you want to add in a third option too.
Would you rather questions to ask in your live poll:
- Fight a single horse sized duck or fight an army of duck sized horses
- Have a head the size of a pea or hands the size of houses
- Be covered in fur or covered in scales
- Be hilarious but totally unloved or be totally loved but also totally boring
- Never hit a red light again or never have to queue for anything again
- Have all the money in the world or all the friends in the world
- Have the job of your dreams, but also the boss of your nightmares or the boss of your dreams, but also the job of your nightmares
- Have the power to be everywhere at once or to be invisible anywhere you choose
- 10 wishes from a genie who gets it right 10% the time or 1 wish from a genie who gets it right 100% of the time.
- Have a glass half full or a glass half empty?
The list is genuinely endless. I used to play this with friends for hours. The conversation just gets sillier and sillier, but the atmosphere also gets lighter with each one. These are so quick to ask but you can change the whole mood of a room in just 3-5 of these short questions.
Moving on to this or that questions which are great for discovering where the people who are like you are in the room.
This or that questions to ask in your live poll:
- Netflix or Amazon Prime?
- Starbucks or Costa?
- Steak or Tofu?
- City break or Beach holiday?
- Oasis or Blur?
- Coke or Pepsi?
- Infinite chocolate or Infinite coffee?
- Work hard or play hard?
- Looks nice or works well?
- Save or spend?
Have you ever?
Now that we've covered off the above icebreaker types, hopefully you've got a feel for what's to come. The idea of all of these ice breaker poll questions is to help people to relax into your all hands meeting or conference. And on that note, why don't we take a look at some 'Have you ever?' questions.
Best for: diffusing tense situations, introducing 'get to know you' sessions with new team members
Not so good for: large conferences – a lot of these rely on being astounded at someone you already know
These questions would work equally well with multiple choice questions (where you offer several similar options at once), or with yes/no question types.
For added fun, if you've got fewer than 10 people in a meeting, you could allow the team to try guess who answered 'yes' or 'no'.
In the following examples we've gone for relatively tame, but you know your audience best. There are some absolutely horrific questions you can ask to a crowd who are game for a little less tame a question set.
So here you go:
- Have you ever woken up on a beach?
- Have you ever had a near death experience?
- Have you ever danced like no-one was watching?
- Have you ever done that thing Hugh Grant does in the film 'Love Actually'? You know the thing.
- Have you ever stolen anything?
- Have you ever met a famous person?
- Have you ever lied about your age?
- Have you ever tried to burp the alphabet?
- Have you ever gone on a bad date?
- Have you ever eaten baby food (as an adult)?
Two truths and a lie
Two truths and a lie is a classic. But we've reimagined it for a live poll scenario (a phrase I never expected to write as a child).
In the classic version of two truths and a lie, a group tries to work out which of three statements about a person is a lie. For example, here's one for me:
- I once accidentally bought a family member an adult toy
- I was once in an avant garde Japanese dance troupe
- I have been to a night club on more than one occasion
People take it in turns discussing which one of the above they think is a lie.
And then, when they're done, I reveal which one was the truth. For example:
- True – and it was incredibly awkward/funny
- True – I performed on stage, accidentally. Ask me sometime.
- Lie – it's never appealed to me.
Frankly, the more outrageous the better.
This would transfer to a meeting scenario really well though. For example, you could choose a member of the team (even better if you use your live polls to nominate the most appropriate person) to add a poll question where the options are their two truths and a lie.
Then ask the attendees to vote using their phones. There'll be a huge amount of social pressure to guess the right answer but it'll also be really enjoyable for everyone involved.
Display the results on a projector screen or a big TV so that you can get the full impact of the game.
Most likely to...
Again, most likely to is a game that most people will have played at some point. But making it a team sport and asking each round as a like poll question is a fantastic way to whip up a good atmosphere in any meeting.
The best way to do this is to load your attendees names into a multiple choice poll question beforehand, then duplicate it for each question you want to ask in your live polls.
Best for: team meetings where everyone already knows eachother
Not so good for: larger conferences where people are just getting to know their fellow attendees
Here are some poll ideas for this ice breaker:
- Who is most likely to get filthy rich?
- Who is most likely to be mauled by lions?
- Who is most likely to get married more than four times?
- Who is most likely to go on an arctic expedition?
- Who is most likely to find themselves locked inside their own home?
- Who is most likely to have celebrity friends?
- Who is most likely to win a Nobel prize?
- Who is most likely to die first in a zombie apocalypse?
- Who is most likely to survive longest in a zombie apocalypse?
- Who is most likely to become a hoarder?
Bonus points if you can get your team to get over 90% for any team member on a single question. Remember: the team that makes ridiculous choices stays together.
OK, so word association isn't one that usually belongs in live polls. But that doesn't mean it's not a great idea.
Here's how it works:
- You add a poll questions into any of your live polls that asks a question like:
- 'When I say LOVE you say...?'
- And give people the option to enter a free-text answer.
- Project the live results onto a big screen using the doopoll Presenter view
- Run through and make comments about everyone's answers
Here's some ideas for words that provoke strong answers:
- Hip (if anyone doesn't say 'Hop' to this... why?!)
Ask me anything
Finally, a good format for ice breaker that you can use for your live polls is an Ask Me Anything or AMA.
And AMA can work one of two ways.
- Use a poll question to nominate a team member
- Have them give a fact about themselves that is completely unusual (remember that time I was in an avant garde Japanese dance troupe?)
- Then use an open text question to allow your team mates, conference delegates or webinar attendees ask any question about that fact.
- Run this as more of a town hall meeting style ice breaker
- In this option, you don't need to share an unusual fact about someone, you just allow the audience to submit their questions once they know who the subject is
- For example, I run a startup, so if I was being asked questions, I'd expect to get asked a lot of stuff about startups
- Allow the person being asked questions to choose which ones to answer, or, you know, for added value, don't!
Well, there's a good number of ice breakers there for you to choose. The only thing that's left for you to do is to create some polls and add some questions.
Remember these few things:
- Ice breaker questions allow people a chance to relax into their environment
- They're perfect as a way of getting to know others in the room
- You can add unlimited questions to your polls using doopoll – so there's no need to worry about going overboard
- Present the results in real time using doopoll's Presenter view
- It's free to get started. Ready to give it a go?