While there are many positives to working remotely, it can also feel isolating. Teammates may not see each other often, and there are fewer opportunities to create strong personal connections.
For that reason, teams often turn to a Microsoft Teams icebreaker bot to send fun team bonding questions such as:
- Who’s your favorite artist?
- What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
- What’s your favorite holiday season?
- And so on.
As the responses flow in (e.g., “My favorite artist is Stevie Wonder.”), teammates may react with an emoji or reply with a question such as, “What’s your favorite song of his?” — thus sparking fun conversations that may not happen otherwise.
Stronger personal connections make work more enjoyable, and they could help team members feel more motivated and engaged.
In this post, we’ll discuss how Geekbot (our Microsoft Teams icebreaker bot) works and the various templates you can use to increase team camaraderie. Geekbot is free for teams with fewer than 10 active participants, and you can sign up for an account here.
Brief Overview of How Our Microsoft Teams Icebreaker Bot Works
At a high level, with Geekbot, you can:
- Enter your own icebreaker questions or select from a wide variety of templates with prefilled team bonding questions. For example, if you select our “Friday Screenshot” template, then Geekbot will send a message to each teammate, such as, “Share an image for the team to enjoy before the weekend.”
- Determine the schedule. For example, you can schedule the icebreaker questions to be sent in MS Teams weekly on Fridays at 12:00 PM in the user’s local timezone.
- Determine which teammates receive the questions and which channel the answers are posted.
- And so on. You can change many different settings, but these are the core basics.
At the scheduled time, Geekbot sends the icebreaker questions to teammates in Microsoft Teams, and their answers are posted in a designated channel.
Choose from a Variety of Templates with Prefilled Questions That Increase Team Camaraderie
Geekbot offers many different types of templates with prefilled questions, from standups, to retrospectives, and more. For example, if you select the “Daily Standup” template, then Geekbot will default to the standard standup questions.
However, in this article, we’ll focus on the Geekbot templates that are designed to increase team camaraderie. Specifically, we’ll look at:
- The “Pizza Toppings” template
- The “Monday Watercooler” template
- The “Friday Screenshot” template
- The “Today I Learned” template
The “Pizza Toppings” Template
When you select the “Pizza Toppings” template, Geekbot will send teammates a random set of fun icebreaker questions in Microsoft Teams. Some examples include:
- Visited any place for the first time lately?
- What brings you joy?
- What is your fondest childhood memory?
- What is the next thing you would like to experience for the first time?
- What’s your favorite book?
- What makes you feel hopeful?
- Are you superstitious about anything?
- Heard any good songs lately?
- And so on. There’s a set of roughly 200 icebreaker questions, and they’re picked at random each time.
By default, the “Pizza Toppings” questions are scheduled to be sent weekly on Fridays at 4:00 PM in the user’s local timezone. However, you can edit the schedule so that it suits your team’s preferences.
For example, you could schedule it to occur daily, bi-weekly, monthly, and so on.
Also, per the screenshot below, by selecting “User’s local timezone”, each teammate will receive the icebreaker questions at their local time.
This feature avoids inconvenient situations where, for example, a teammate receives an MS Teams notification at midnight (when it was actually scheduled in the afternoon in a different timezone).
The “Monday Watercooler” Template
The “Monday Watercooler” template defaults to the following questions:
- What did you do this weekend?
- What’s something that you’ve read in the last week?
- Any upcoming activities/vacations/conferences planned?
However, you can edit this template and tailor it to your preferences. For example, in addition to asking teammates how they spent the weekend, you could add a question such as, “How do you feel today?”
As teammates answer how they feel, Geekbot uses an in-house NLP-AI algorithm to track the sentiment of the responses, and maps it on a Team happiness graph:
The team leader can then scan through the graph and responses, identify any potential issues at the start of the week, and get ahead of them.
As the name implies, by default, the “Monday Watercooler” questions are scheduled to be sent weekly on Mondays at 9:00 AM in the user’s local timezone. However, again, you can change the schedule to suit your team’s preferences. (For example, during a particularly busy work period, you could change it to biweekly instead of weekly.)
The “Friday Screenshot” Template
With the “Friday Screenshot” template, teammates are prompted to “share an image for the team to enjoy before the weekend.”
This is a fun and easy way for teammates to showcase their hobbies and personalities. For example, someone could share:
- A meme that creates a more lighthearted work atmosphere.
- A picture of a milestone, such as completing a marathon.
- An interesting travel picture (e.g., the Eiffel Tower). A discussion might then ensue with questions about how the trip went or for recommendations for someone who’s never been to Paris, etc.
The “Today I Learned” Template
With this template, teammates are asked to share what they learned today.
In the screenshot above, Brandon answers, “Today I watched a great tutorial for basic 3D modeling!” While the responses could be work-related, teammates can also reply with fun and interesting learnings from outside of work.
For example, someone could share an unexpected trivia fact (e.g., “I learned that the letter ‘a’ is not used in the spelling of any number until one thousand.”).
Geekbot’s Additional Use Cases (Standups, Retrospectives, Polls, and More)
Beyond sending icebreaker questions in Microsoft Teams, you can also use Geekbot to run asynchronous:
- Standups. See this article on why we built a Microsoft Teams standup bot and how it works.
- Retrospectives. See this article on how to effectively use our Microsoft Teams retrospective app.
- Polls. See this article on how to run polls in Microsoft Teams using Geekbot.
- And more.
Sign Up for a Free Account
Geekbot is free for teams with fewer than 10 active participants. For teams with more than 10 active participants, Geekbot is $2.50 per active user per month (if billed annually) and $3.00 per active user per month (if billed monthly).
If you’re ready to try Geekbot, the best icebreaker bot, visit our site and create a free account.
You May Also Like…
- Online Collaboration Tools for Remote Teams
- Geekbot’s Pricing
- Downsides of Standup Video Meetings via Zoom and Our Solution
- Remote Work by Geekbot
- Geekbot’s Features and Functionality
- Geekbot’s Real-Time Product Tour
- How to Effectively Use Our Microsoft Teams App for Retrospectives
- How Tools Affect Remote Company Culture
- 5 Best Free Slack Standup Bots
- Why We Build a Microsoft Teams Bot for Standups & How It Works
- 5 Microsoft Teams Meeting Tools
- 44 Team-Building Questions and How to Use Them in Your Workspace
Frequently asked questions
What is the best Microsoft Teams Icebreaker bot?
Geekbot is a free Microsoft Teams icebreaker bot that remote and distributed teams can use to increase team camaraderie.