Fun Ways To Make Virtual Global Meetings Engaging

“When a person is engaged, dedication to their craft, desire to achieve, and relentless commitment to make a difference is palpable. You can see it, hear it, and feel it…and it is contagious!”

Kevin E. Phillips

To keep teams informed, up to date, and connected in the “new normal”, virtual meetings have become a necessity.

The trouble is, it’s even harder to keep participants engaged in a virtual meeting than it is with in-person meetings. While video calls are an incredible step up from email correspondence, they still lack a certain something.

That something is a face-to-face connection.

The lack of personal connection makes us feel disengaged from our colleagues, and we go into a kind of trance after listening to the same disembodied voice for too long. This disconnect and the dreaded video call fatigue that follows becomes even more prevalent when working with global teams. Language barriers and a lack of prior real-world interaction can become stumbling blocks, as can cultural differences or ideologies.

So, how do you keep virtual meeting attendees engaged and get them to contribute?

These ideas provide great inspiration for keeping the energy up and increasing the engagement factor on your next global team video call.

Opening and closing rounds

The first way to create an inclusive and comfortable atmosphere in a global meeting is with opening and closing rounds. Even if you don’t have an agenda, this is easy to incorporate.

Each participant takes a moment to introduce themselves. They can share how they are feeling and anything else that might be happening in their lives. This activity helps everyone to feel more comfortable opening up and sharing ideas or views with their peers. By encouraging empathy and understanding for each other, the team as a whole will be more constructive when collaborating.

These opening rounds can centre around work-related questions at first. But as the participants get more comfortable, you can start asking about life outside of work, or introduce more mindful questions. Tell everyone to try to keep it short and sweet, and save conversation for the end.

Ice breakers

Ice breakers are a fun way to start meetings and lighten the mood for everyone involved. These could be simple questions or activities that get everyone involved creatively. From there, you can work to maintain that engagement throughout the meeting.

Gives these icebreaker ideas a try:

  • Traffic light
    Start this activity by asking everyone to describe their mood using the colours red, amber, or green. Green would mean that they are firing on all cylinders and ready to take on the day, while red may tell you they’re feeling sick and burned out or just totally fed up.

  • Icebreaker questions
    Range has a free collection of icebreakers that offer a lot of fun conversation topics for the group to try out. Their app can help you introduce consistent icebreakers and mood sharing into your team's daily schedule, encouraging increased collaboration and understanding.

Energiser games

Use simple question-based games to get the group involved and activate their minds. Yes/no or multiple choice works best in this case.

  • Guess the animal
    Get someone to think of an animal, and have the rest of the group take guesses at what it is. They can also ask questions to narrow down their guesses, such as “Is it a mammal?” or “Does it have claws?”

  • Shopping cart
    This game can play out quickly and is an excellent test of mental acuity. The game starts by saying “I went to the market and I bought (enter foodstuffs here)”. Each subsequent player repeats the previous list in the chain and adds one of their own. This forces everyone to keep track of where they are in the round to make it move smoothly, as well as remember the entire list of items.

Show and tell

Show and tell is an excellent way for teams to bond and get to know each other on a personal level. It can help to make everyone feel seen and understood and is often extremely interesting for teams composed of different nationalities. This kind of sharing promotes psychological safety, which is essential in creating a good work culture.

Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Virtual cribs
    Inspired by MTV Cribs, participants have an opportunity to show off their homes to their colleagues. They could show each other their work environment, kitchen, lounge, special art pieces, or boast about their spectacular views or garden. Everyone gets to know each other better and can ask questions about things that catch their eye.

  • Items of interest
    This is just like it was in school. Get everyone to choose something that’s special to them to show the group. If you’re connecting with employees from different cultures, it’s a great idea to ask everyone to talk about a cultural item. They should tell a story behind it, where it’s from and why it’s important, and allow everyone to ask questions.

  • Share media
    Giving the group a chance to talk about their favourite book, movie, poem, or even music, is a great way to get an active conversation going. It gets everyone excited about participating and gives them a chance to unwind and get comfortable with each other.

Online games

Gamification is fast entrenching itself in every sector, and online games are a fun way to get everyone feeling lighter and more motivated and energised for the meeting ahead. These are a few great options to try out:

  • Codenames - A deduction game with spymasters, agents, and secret words.
  • - Players draw and others have to guess a word.
  • - A competitive snake game.
  • - Online Pictionary.
  • - Online board game platform with a variety of games.

Accomplishing and retaining engagement

With virtual meetings seemingly the way of the future, keeping engagement levels high is going to remain an ongoing priority. With these tools, you’ll be on your way to having more fun, engaging, and productive virtual meetings with your teams.

While it may seem counterintuitive, you’ll find that adding some fun activities to your meetings will make them much easier and get everyone more excited to participate. Once everyone relaxes, ideas will flow, collaboration will become easier, and a sense of team spirit will prevail. Even if attendees are scattered across the globe.

This article was written by: Addisson Shaw

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