Three Fun Activities For Online Meetings
When it comes to fun activities for online meetings, it can be the last thing on our list when we just need to get the work done. But the way that we work has changed.
Remember when the world first moved en-masse away from face-to-face meetings in favour of online meetings? 2020 probably seems like a distant memory at this point, because we’ve all become so accustomed to new ways of working. For most of us, this includes daily (or hourly!?) virtual meetings.
The challenge with being so used to online meetings is that the novelty has worn off. I wonder if you’ve noticed it in your team? Lower engagement levels, cameras off more and more often, and an all-around reluctance to jump on a Zoom/Teams/Meets/other-platform link.
While a challenge, this is to be completely expected. Psychologically, human beings are driven to pay attention to what is novel, different, and interesting.
When our brain perceives that something is new or different it releases two neurochemicals that drive attention and alertness: norepinephrine and acetylcholine. This means that to maximise engagement in online meetings, we need to find and employ techniques that pique curiosity and drive attention.
Here’s a look at three fun activities you can use for online meetings.
1. Show and Tell
Don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you ask your team to prepare presentations about their favourite pet or plant (sorry Cathy-the-Cactus). That will probably achieve the opposite result to what we are after.
However, just like when we were back in school, a small part of us likes to share something quirky or different we have lying around the house with our peers. Why? Because what we choose to show says something about us and brings the personal to a work environment.
In this activity, we are achieving the double-whammy of allowing team members’ individual expression while also craftily practicing co-regulation and checking in on everyone’s state.
To complete this activity simply give everyone on the call two minutes to choose something from their environment that they can use to describe their mood or state.
Once the two minutes are up, ask everyone to hold their chosen item up to the camera (ideally you would insert hilarious commentary while this is happening).
Depending on group size, you may either ask everyone to drop their item and a description of why they chose it into the chat OR you may go around the group and ask people to jump on the mic and share.
You’ll be surprised how readily people will share why their random-household-item is a useful analogy for their psychological state.
2. One Word
One Word is a simple activity that you can use in multiple different ways. The premise is simple: ask the group to choose one word to drop into the chat function that describes their intention for the day/week/quarter/year.
As an example of the One Word activity in action, at the beginning of 2020, as a team at PT we chose Anti-fragile as the word that would guide us for the year. Not a bad choice, eh?
Whatever way you choose to use the activity, it is a quick and simple way to get the group thinking about and sharing how they want to turn up. It’s also a useful opportunity for the group to better understand the context their colleagues are currently working in.
3. Mindfulness Monday
Thich Nhat Hanh said that “mindfulness is the energy that brings us back to the present”. Since we are talking about activities to boost engagement and participation in online meetings, the conversation wouldn’t be complete without a kick-off activity to help the group be centered and shake off lingering thoughts of the last meeting they were in.
Simply invite the group to sit, eyes closed, with good posture: feet flat on the ground, legs at a right angle, straight spine, relaxed arms, and neck.
From there invite them to breathe in for three seconds, hold for one second, and exhale for four seconds. Repeat these five-to-ten times.
As strange as it might feel to be a mix of meeting facilitator and digital yogi, this quick exercise can not only boost the productivity of the meeting ahead but also give the group a swift injection of mindfulness that they will thank you for.
There you have it; four fun activities for online meetings that will drive attention and alertness, ensuring you maximise engagement in your online meetings.
For more insight into how to plan for an engaging virtual learning session, check out these strategies to maintain energy and engagement in virtual training.
Good luck, go well, and… remember to have fun.