Written by Erick Roder
Here is a relatively new problem to the professional world—how does one make an internal zoom meeting engaging, informative, and fun? With in-person meetings in the past, I didn’t struggle too much with creating meaningful team building events. Creating culture around a new remote workforce is one of my greatest professional challenges this year. Our team has to have quarterly meetings. Hosting these meetings is an essential component of my job and a responsibility to culture. My goal going into our meeting last week was to make an engaging, informative, fun meeting. Here is a synopsis of that attempt.
We’ll start with the reason behind the meeting. Why do we even have quarterly meetings? Our team decided to take the quarterly meeting idea from Traction by Gino Wickman. If you haven’t read it, it’s definitely on my organizational leadership book list. A key takeaway from the book for our team was to have quarterly leadership updates to go over all the goals and results of last quarter. Following that, we update everyone on the bigger goals we have going into the next quarter. In our hybrid remote world, better communication is key. Looking back at how far you have come—and looking to the furute— is crucial. We don’t see each other as much as we used to. It’s important to stay on the same page of what we are working for and highlight the work we have done.
The first aspect of our meeting I tried to focus on was engagement. We have all been in zoom meetings muted with cameras off. I have NEVER felt great or motivated after a muted, camera off meeting. I thought to make our meeting more engaging, everyone should also share some professional or personal accomplishments and goals too. It’s unrealistic to ask my other team members to listen only to leadership’s updates. Team participation is more beneficial than forced team listening.
most companies did not have to tackle before. To help some of these new challenges our team is facing I brought in Jeremy Grunsteiner of Icehouse Fit. He led us in stretches and helped us understand some of the muscles that will need a little TLC while sitting at a desk all day. We also had Crystal Nelson of Fargo Ergonomics give us tips and suggestions to help make our home workstations ergonomically correct. The last person I brought in was Jodee Bock of BNG. One of my big goals is to make sure everyone on our team has a mentor. We’re a relatively small team, some mentors might have to come from outside companies. Jodee is a mentor of mine, and proof that outside mentors can be found. Now it is up to me to assist in finding them for the rest of us.
The end of our meeting I tried to incorporate fun. During a profound conversation I recently had with a colleague responsible for company culture at another company, they stated, “When working from home it is not possible to have fun at work.” That sentence scares me. All work and no play makes Erick a dull boy. To liven up our meeting I had us take part in a little contest. We asked a random question and gave everyone a minute to find a gif in response to it. The judge of each question changed and the best gif got a point. Very much like Apples to Apples, but using gifs instead. I thought it was a fun and nice way to end the day.
This was my first time doing a half day 100% virtual meeting. I did my best to be engaging, informative and fun. My ask to anyone reading this is to help me evolve our meetings for the better. What are other ways you have found to make team meetings more engaging? What tactics does your team use to convey information better? I absolutely could use a little help making things livelier when we’re not in-person. How are you incorporating fun for the remote workforce? I am always open for tacos, and coffee if you have any suggestions!