I hate virtual meetings, so I developed 10 tools to transform them.

It’s uncharted territory. The whole world is stuck at home. Physical-distancing is becoming the new normal.

But, there is still hope. Technology has saved us from social isolation.

In the last three weeks, my confidence in technology for facilitating authentic connection and joy increased hugely. I have become a master of Zoom, the founder of a virtual disco club, and a resource to companies and teams looking for new ways to foster happy, healthy employees.

As a virtual connection specialist, I wanted to share some of my tools for facilitating cohesion and joy in groups with you.

Now is the time to become a master in facilitating virtual human connection!

#1: Designate a speaker.

Give people turns to speak. In a large group, interruptions can destroy the psychological safety within a meeting. If people want to speak or ask a question, I encourage them to let me know through the chat function.

#2: Leverage music.

Music is the universal human language. Before starting an event, I like to play a lighthearted song, one that everyone recognizes and ideally, one that elicits laughter. As an example, you can play the lion king.

#3: Leverage movement.

With everyone stuck at home, getting enough blood flow to the brain is important. Physical exercise releases endorphins. It changes our mood. I like to have my participants stand up and clap to a song or follow a few simple movements. You can have your participants lead these movements, as well.

#4: Leverage visualization and smiling.

At the very beginning of my video calls, I leverage visualization in two ways. I get my participants to imagine they are in a room together. And, I encourage my participants to imagine their best friends’ smiles in the room with them. Afterward, I get everyone to share a smile with everyone else on the video call.

#5: Ensure two-way emotional exchange.

If participants are watching instead of interacting with others, it is less likely they will experience joy and belonging. I use the break-out room function in Zoom to allow more interactions among my participants (this assigns them to small groups). I also give my participants ways to interact with one another. Example: An open mic at the end of the event.

#6: Let participants be seen.

To be seen and heard is a psychological need. During group activities, I spotlight different participants, meaning, the entire group sees them on the screen. This gives them a chance to say hello to everyone else on the call. Meeting hosts, stop hogging the spotlight.

#7: Show and tell.

Being home-bound puts us in proximity to a lot of meaningful keepsakes. I like to have my participants share a meaningful item with the group, often times accompanied by a short story. This has been successful in fostering emotional closeness.

#8: Play a game.

There hundreds of games out there. Jackbox and Deepfun.com are two great resources. Two of my favourite games are called No No No Thank You and Competitive Blessings. These games are great because they are simple, short, and require no interface.

#9: Watch something laughter-inducing together.

Shared laughter is a medicine. Find a meme or short video that is innocently funny. Share your screen and computer audio, and voila! Make sure to unmute participants so you can hear everyone laughing.

#10: Do a compliment shoutout.

This is a gratitude exercise. I encourage my participants to either (a) use the chat to describe and compliment what someone did or (b) I give the mic to someone who wants to verbally compliment another participant in the group.

This is a snapshot of some of the tools which I incorporate into my virtual joy experiences.

Have a team that requires a boost of joy, team spirit, and connection? I can help you develop an experience to do just that. Email: Jacques@vyve.life

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