Article by Valerie Paris
Give your full attention
When it comes to immersion, interactivity is key. The virtual meeting is no exception. Nothing kills engagement faster than becoming distracted by chats with other colleagues or web browsing during a call.
If it’s suspected that people are tuning out, it’s likely they need to feel more involved in the conversation. We’ve found using zoom breakout rooms to divide the meeting into smaller groups, as well as initiating zoom polls, creates a more personalized and genuine-feeling event.
Hand out roles to your group like you’re putting a team together to pull off a heist. First, you’ve got the host, someone with a huge personality who can set the right tone for the evening.
Next the tech person, a crafty troubleshooter who ensures everything is running smoothly.
Third, the chat controller - someone who’s always stirring up conversation in the chat, dropping relevant links, and asking questions.
Then of course, there’s the GIFER - a person who’s tasked with dropping hilariously relevant GIFs into the chat while the meeting is going on to keep the mood fun and participants engaged.
Finally, designate a note taker - someone who can pull the important takeaways into an organized word document for future reflection.
Make the beginning fun
Now that the team has been assembled, let’s talk about starting off the meeting right. First, ask for everyone’s attention. Have them turn on video. Seeing faces means you can read the room and keep the mood personal.
In the beginning, play some music or a funny video. On zoom, you can easily go to screen share, click advanced, and share your computer audio to get the tunes flowing and liven up the space.
Remember that interactivity coupled with authenticity is key. Call on people by name and ask them questions. Don’t try to force a mood that isn’t right for the group and feels like you’re putting on a costume. Human beings are exceptional at spotting when something feels phony, so focus on presenting the best version of “you” that you can. The rest will come naturally.
The power of the ice breaker
Often, whether or not the conversation in the room is “on topic” isn’t important. What matters is that people are engaging with one another, and that a social atmosphere is developing from which ideas and opportunities can flourish.
Sending participants into smaller breakout room groups and prompting them with a fun icebreaker can be a great way to facilitate this. Try kicking off with a 10 minute team building activity or invite people to use the chat to say what “they’re favorite tv show” is currently. Anything will do, just focus on building that playful atmosphere.
Fun ways to market yourself remotely
Shippables - Send boxes or stuffed envelopes to your clients customized around your brand. For a fun touch, try using a custom seal or like stickers, matchbooks, or magnets. Another great idea is to use a brochure maker for sharing more details about your company, its mission, and values. Customers will keep these (and as such, your brand) around the house for a long time.
Themed experiences - Run remote games and workshops such as a trivia night with a round customized around your brand, a painting class that incorporates custom images, a cooking class with a themed food or component, an origami workshop with custom foldings, or simply a game night hosted by your company.
Gifting affordable experiences - Try giving away a free virtual experience that comes with your custom branding or the caveat of a 5 minute speech hook at the event opener.
Virtual lunches - Host a virtual lunch on zoom as a networking event and send the participants gift cards to order food with.
Curated network events - Invite friends, colleagues, and your target audience to a free networking mixer where they can play games, short ice-breaker activities, and share useful resources.
Virtual swag bags - Send out custom goodie bags branded to your company and pick 3 standout offers to include that’s sure to leave a good impression with the recipient. Consider using an AI name generator to think of custom logo names outside your brand and make it even more engaging.