By Stephanie Kesterson
Are you experiencing virtual meeting exhaustion? Online meetings were fun those first weeks of social distancing, but now preparing for a video call may feel more like a routine. Yet, there’s something to be said for “seeing” your coworkers. Visibility can not only help team members remain engaged but can also be a big morale booster.
So, how can you inject some fun into a virtual meeting, shake up the routine, and boost engagement? Here are several easy ways to switch things up for your next video call.
Quick Icebreakers and Meeting Starters
- Themes: Think spirit week at school! If you have a regularly scheduled meeting, you can set up a series of themes for each, such as crazy hair day, wacky hat day, bring your pet to the video call day. This can be a great way to have a little fun while boosting team unity.
- Speed show and tell: Without warning them ahead of time, give team members 30 seconds at the start of the meeting to pick a show-and-tell item from nearby. Then have each participant briefly present their item to the group. For an added twist, encourage participants to give elaborate descriptions of mundane objects. This activity promotes team bonding while encouraging team members to think on their feet and be creative.
- At-home scavenger hunt: For this team-building activity, the meeting leader chooses a theme—such as “best home-office view,” “craziest phone headset,” or “furriest 4-legged friend”—and asks participants to find a picture illustrating the theme ahead of the meeting. At the start of the meeting, team members present their finds and everyone votes for their favorite. This activity can be as long or short as you want and will likely lead to a few laughs.
- Two Truths and a Lie (office edition): This is a twist on the old party game where each member of the group tells two true things about themselves and one lie, and then the rest of the group attempts to identify which is the lie. Require the truths and lies to focus on appropriate work-related experience only. This game can provide a fun way to learn about each other’s work talents.
Activities to Bolster Teams, Professional Development, and Morale
- Special guests: This option can take many forms. For example, you might ask an industry professional to join the meeting and speak on a topic relevant to your business. To promote home health, you could have a yoga instructor or meditation guide take your team members through a relaxation session. The sky’s the limit. But whomever you choose, adding a special guest can be a great way to change up the routine while providing team members with important information or professional development.
- Directed drawing: One team member selects a random image and then describes the image to the group using only geometric shapes and positions while everyone else tries to draw the image. This activity is great for laughs as well as learning the importance of effective communication.
- That’s right, Bob: This game is best for creative bunches. The first person starts a 1-sentence silly news story (eg, “Last night, a local man ate an entire pie.”) The next person then says, “That’s right Bob,” repeats the previous sentence, and adds a sentence of their own. This storytelling process keeps going down the line until it becomes too long or everyone has had a turn. The first person ends the game by calling for a commercial break. By requiring participants to be attentive and present to the ideas of others, this game promotes good listening.
- Interactive trivia: Trivia via conference call has boomed since the pandemic began. To enhance professional development, try customizing a set of trivia questions with questions related to your team, your projects, and your goals.
During this time of social distancing, it’s vital both personally and professionally to find ways to connect to others and stay engaged. Adding a quick game, special theme, or team-building exercise to your next virtual meeting can benefit the well-being of your team members while bringing them closer together and, as a result, increasing the productivity of your meeting.
Stephanie Kesterson is a licensed attorney and experienced legal and business writer who oversees the Encompass process at every juncture of development. Outside of Encompass, Stephanie uses learning tactics for the common good as she volunteers in her community.