After more than 12 months of staring at computer screens that look like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch, employees and their managers are becoming understandably weary of the online meeting experience. Recognizing this, many meeting planners are finding creative and engaging ways to make these meetings more meaningful and less fraught with anxiety.
Have Fun with Backgrounds and Filters
Kryz Uy manages a website dedicated to life, style, and travel blogging and manages a small group of designers. Since the start of the pandemic, Uy says, while everyone is working from home, meetings have been held virtually every Thursday. “To add a little fun, we make it a must to have a contest for ‘best background’ each week. If we say beach background, I can expect every attendee to prepare for that. And of course we give surprise prizes to the lucky one.” Uy adds that to increase engagement, “we sometimes in just a short game like ‘show and tell’ or ‘guess the item.’” And “after seeing the trending cat lawyer filter on the news, we are now considering having the ‘best filter’ of the week.”
Meeting leaders are learning that virtual environments can be engaging—and collegial. Some of the tools available through technology like Zoom lend themselves to creative interactions.
Joe Terrell, Founder of Drifted, has found that virtual whiteboards can be a great way to engage in brainstorming. Terrell has incorporated tools like Miro and invites participants to “simultaneously add their ideas, vote on them and define our content and marketing strategies for the upcoming period.” Doing this, he says, has allowed collaboration and engagement to continue even while working remotely.
Get Them Moving Around!
Virtual meetings don’t have to require all participants to sit attentively in chairs. Allan Borch, Founder of Dotcom Dollar, recognizes the importance of taking time to get out of their chairs and move around for boosting engagement and interest.
He recommends a game called “Bring Me,” which can be played at any time during a meeting when the facilitator feels the need to boost interest.
“The mechanics are simple,” Borch says. “The facilitator just needs unique materials he or she has at home. Then, each item would be shown at various unsuspected moments of the meeting when everyone seems not to be paying attention. The participants, upon seeing an item, should find one at their homes. Those who would be able to present the same items would be declared as winners.”
It’s a good way to revive participants’ energy, but it can also be good for a laugh. “A meeting with happy participants produces productive results,” Borch says.
What steps are you taking to add interest and boost engagement in your virtual meetings?