11 Zesty Ways to Energize Online Meetings, Webinars & More! by Jennifer Britton & Emma-Louise

NOTE: This article was co-created by Emma-Louise Elsey and Jennifer Britton. It's an expanded version of an article Jennifer originally shared in one of her newsletters.

Are you in the group and team coaching space? Perhaps you're doing more webinars, Facebook Lives or online coaching?

In workplaces right now, people are being pressured to do more - while not being together. Many people are also expected to do things in a really different way than they're used to. So, if you're coaching groups and teams right now, it's really important to go back to basics.

And in day-to-day life, our clients, fans and followers are also getting fatigued from being in front of a screen and/or camera all the time. So, if you're running webinars and working online with people, it's a good time to up your game to keep people engaged while online with you!

As we work in the online space, great questions to consider are:

  • What's going to help people feel more connected?
  • What's going to help build trust with you and/or each other?
  • How can you help people have the most important conversations of the moment - so they can be as effective as possible?
  • Knowing that many things are taking longer right now (extra processes, new things to learn, fewer people to do things, distraction etc etc), how can we help people be more efficient?

And here are 11 Ways to Add Zest to Your Online Meetings

Many of these tips below just need a micro-window - so they needn't be a burden!

1) A little bit of "grounding"

When people are grounded, they're more connected to themselves, more present, mindful, aware and centered - literally feeling connected to the earth. People who are grounded will have more clarity, make better decisions, relate to others better, handle stressful situations better - and more. They will also be more efficient, feel more healthy emotionally/resilient and make fewer unnecessary mistakes.

Some activities to offer grounding include:

  • Anything which connects people to their body, for example focusing on their stomach rising and falling as they breathe in and out - or feeling their feet on the floor.
  • Can you offer people a couple of minutes to clear their minds and create a mindmap of everything rolling through their heads?
  • In a team setting, can you give people a few minutes just to connect with each other if they haven't talked in a while?

2) Add personal context

Right now we only see (and sometimes meet!) each other through limited windows on the screen. Help people get to know each other with a bit of personal context.

Some ideas to a wider view of someone than just a face on a screen include:

  • Have people share one thing that's on their desk right now.
  • Get people to show off their favourite coffee mug!
  • Ask people to show off their pets or children (a photo - or even the real thing!)

3) A little bit of laughter

Jennifer recently heard Les Brown share in a presentation that a minute of laughter boosts your immune system for 24 hours.

Most people are feeling some measure of stress right now - so what can you to do create a bit of humor and help?

  • Can you share a fun cartoon to start your presentation? Or pepper some lighthearted graphics throughout?
  • If your client/team/group is brainstorming ideas (or identifying solutions), you could try asking (in rapport, and only when appropriate) to share the most ridiculous or silly solution or idea they can think of!
  • Share a silly joke, or ask people to share their favourite "bad joke"* A couple of old favourites that you're welcome to use are:
    • What do you call a fly without wings? A walk!
    • Why did the lettuce blush? Because it saw the salad dressing!
    • What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes? Doyathinkhesaurus?!

* You may want to first ask people to check-in with themselves (before they share) that their joke is appropriate ie. is it neutral racially, by gender, religion or any other kind of bias?

4) A little stress relief!

What ways can you offer some calm and stress relief for people on your calls?

5) Use different perspectives

Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats tool is always a great go-to to explore issues from multiple perspectives, and potentially activate some new ideas. Essentially de Bono has identified 6 different common perspectives - represented by 6 "thinking hats" we can each put on to gain a new perspective.

Share the Six Thinking Hats concept, then use these 6 hats in your online meetings to explore different perspectives in a structured way.

Here is a great 2m 30s video explaining the six hats - what they are, and how to use them!

6) Leverage strengths

When people feel disempowered, as so many do right now with this COVID crisis, one thing we can do is help people and/or teams to identify and focus on their strengths. This reminds of what we are good at, nudging us towards positivity - empowering both individuals and teams.

7) Help create a deeper connection

We only see each other through the limited windows on the screen - disembodied heads and shoulders!

A favorite exercise to begin a call (even before stay-at-home became a reality for many of us) was a quick exercise of What's Outside Your Window? Here's Jennifer using it in a Community Call she recently co-hosted for the Remote Pathways podcast.

So you could help create a deeper connection by:

  • Asking people to share the view out of their window.
  • Ask people to share something inspirational they have on their desktop.
  • Ask people to give a virtual "tour" of their office, home or workspace.

8) Add in inspiring visuals

   

Jennifer Britton - Digital Journaling Cards

Jennifer Britton's Digital Journaling Cards

Visuals - whether images or short videos always serve as an anchor - and inspiration.

  • Create a short video with your own content using Lumen5 or Adobe Spark
  • Think about the emotional impact you want to create, and include an "Inspirational Pause" image regularly throughout a webinar or group session.
    • Examples include a spectacular waterfall/sunrise, a person relaxing at a scenic beach or hiking to the top of a mountain, cute animals snuggling or humans helping each other.

You might also want to pick up a copy of the Square Journaling Cards - DIGITAL version - (56 in total) to incorporate into your coaching and webinar presentations. Purchase and download right away at Jennifer's Potentials Realized store.

9) Use Breakouts!

A long time ago, when I did my very first workshops, the feedback I received was that people wanted to talk to each other more. I've never forgotten that, and how my workshops got easier to run and the satisfaction scores increased, just from allowing people to interact with each other.

And it's no different with online webinars.

So, if you can, find ways to create "breakouts" (most professional online meeting apps are set up to do this - including Zoom), where people can chat with each other.

5 tips to make your breakouts successful

  1. Make breakout time structured ie. give people something to do. This could be 1-3 questions to answer, getting people to share an action they'll commit to, brainstorming solutions, sharing a success, failure or story, their own "top tips", or it could be getting to know each other more. With the last especially, be sure to give people specific 'tasks' to discover more about each other to make it easy and reduce awkwardness.
  2. Give a set amount of time for the breakout. This could be anything from 3-5 mins to 15 mins or longer, depending on the 'task' involved.
  3. If you can, make the breakouts fun and energetic. Really put some thought into what would be most useful, and infuse energy into your introduction of the breakout task!
  4. Ensure there is a 'leader' for each breakout. Or suggest a process for determining one...
  5. It's really great if you can allow time for the breakout groups to report back to the larger group afterwards. And be sure to let people know you're going to do this, so they can prepare - and choose someone to do the speaking.

10) Use the Chat Box - and Other Meeting App Functions!

As with breakouts, most online meeting apps also include a chat function. So, encourage people to use it! An example is to ask for feedback as you're presenting; this can be as easy as "Type yes, if you agree". This may sound overly simple, but it really gets - and keeps - people engaged.

Some other functions included on Zoom include:

  • A whiteboard - which you can draw on
  • Screen sharing
  • "Reactions" which include 'clapping hands' and a 'thumbs up'. These pop up in a corner over our video feed - and disappear on their own after 10 seconds or so.
  • A final idea is to change your video background (I have one with a dragon flying behind me!). This is found under "Video Settings".

Additional functions are being added all the time. So try them out, learn how they work, and then encourage your attendees to use them too.

11) Acknowledge what we have to be thankful for

There are many benefits to thankfulness and  gratitude.

  • Try asking attendees to count off 5 things they're grateful for on the fingers of one hand. If you like, you could ask them to share ONE of those things with everyone on the call, but if you have a big group there may not be time. Instead, ask people to simply notice how they feel after doing the exercise.
  • You can also grab your free tool The "5 Finger Technique" Free Gratitude Tool - the EASIEST, do anytime, anywhere Gratitude Exercise! Use in workshops, coaching sessions and as a quick 'pick-me-up' for you or your clients.

Wrap-up

So, what's going to add some zest to your next virtual conversation? What will you do to energize your next call or webinar?

Hopefully something appeals to your from this list, and you'll be peppering your calls with them before the week is out!

Collaborating author: Jennifer Britton, MES, CHRP, CPT, PCC, Britton is the author of five books including her first – Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010), her middle – Effective Virtual Conversations (2017), and her latest – PlanDoTrack Workbook and Planner for Virtual and Remote Professionals (2019).
A popular speaker, Jennifer is also the co-host of the Remote Pathways podcast which explores the many different pathways to remote work, business and leadership. She also hosts the Remote and Virtual Visionaries Facebook Group – Join her for the conversation here >>

Looking to take your virtual skills to the next level? Join Jenn for the one day Stand Out Virtually Masterclass or her five week ICF-CCE approved Virtual Facilitation Essentials program.

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Collaborating author: Emma-Louise Elsey has been a coach for over 15 years. She's a huge coaching fan and the founder of The Coaching Tools Company.com. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her passion for coaching, creativity and love of systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 25+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools, resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is also an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

If you liked this article, you may also like:

Finally, you may like these fun quick tips for Zoom from people who use it (via the fyi website).

Image of Post Featured Image of Interested Client Watching Webinar at desk by krakenimages.com via Shutterstock

Image of 3 images for Visual Interest - Butterfly, Waterfall and Hands with Tree and Planet by Pixabay

4 Comments

    • mturcott

      Thank you, Jenny! So glad you enjoyed these zesty tips from Jennifer & Emma! Warmly, Mary

      Reply

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