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  • Emily Laughlin

5 Essential Tips for More Memorable Meetings in a Virtual World

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Making the move to a 100% virtual work environment has drastically changed the landscape in which we work (to say the least). It has allowed us to expand our reach, place our virtual sticky notes halfway across the world and change the way in which companies perceive (and deliver) their customers’ experience, all while ‘hiding’ behind our screens. But if you are feeling exhausted, trust me you are not alone, according to Blind (an anonymous professional network), 61% of employees have experienced some form of burnout.

Together with the rest of the world, the EXCO team is constantly searching for new ways to engage, collaborate, and excite not only our clients but also motivate each other and keep the proverbial pep in our step!

These are 5 sure-fire ways to bring a little more to your everyday meetings (and even more so your workshops):

Virtual collaboration tools - Hey MIRO! 👋

If you love a hands-on experience and are currently having withdrawals from placing sticky notes on a board, getting together on a whiteboard to map processes or brainstorm ideas over a flip-chart with your co-workers, then you will benefit the most from virtual collaboration tools. If you have been following EXCO, you would know we are HUGE fans of these. Personally, I work mostly with Miro and it's easy to see why, it incorporates all the things that we love about workshops and brings it on screen in a fun, engaging way. Any virtual collaboration tool will do the trick, there are tons out there so just get your hands dirty and find the right fit for you and your team.

Fun Fact: Online collaboration tools and digital workplaces facilitate increased productivity by up to 30% according to digital collaboration statistics.Fun Fact: Online collaboration tools and digital workplaces facilitate increased productivity by up to 30% according to digital collaboration statistics.

CAMERAS ON (Critical)

Cameras on - this seems so simple but it has made the world of a difference in workshops and meetings with each other and with clients. Staring at a screen for 8 hours a day can become daunting when you’re just staring at blank pages (or black screens). It also encourages you to get 'camera ready', so dress for the day even if they're only seeing your neck up! You would be surprised how this can change your productivity levels, try it - I promise it makes the difference. Think about how much of communication is visual - we feed off each other's facial expression and non-verbal queues, this is critical for engagement and easy communication.

Team work makes the DREAM work!

You know what I miss the most about being in a physical office? I dream about sitting with a fellow colleague in the same room, or popping by for some ‘water cooler chat’, or chuckling at a quick joke by the coffee pot. The beauty of this is that it is something that can be done remotely too! Schedule or do virtual surprise coffee ‘pop ins’ with your colleagues. #TBT to virtual cocktail hour. An article by Forbes stated that highly connected teams demonstrate a 21% increase in profitability. So be sure to not skip the casual banter! Sometimes, it’s easy for us to just get right into the nitty gritty of the agenda at hand and forget the ‘human element’ of working together. Foster your relationships and the camaraderie will follow.

Games - we’re never too old for games!

Icebreakers do not always have to be awkward, bring out your silly side, let your guard down, and keep an open mind. Find the ones that take a ‘business as usual’ meeting and jazz it up a bit. This works for teams who know each other well but even more so for those who need to get to know one another just a little bit more. A simple poll at the start of a meeting “What’s in your cup today?” or something more robust like virtual Mario kart (peep the pic below) can really get participants in the mood and get those creative juices flowing.

Mix it up a bit!

Ever listened to your own voice and cringed? Yea, me too. Well don’t worry we all feel the very same way so don’t be afraid to speak out. What we have noticed is for meetings longer than 1hr (especially workshops), it’s so important to have two facilitators to interchange the voices and the personality vibe for the team. It excites your listeners, it’s like having a chorus in your favourite tune. Encourage other people to speak when and where they can so that you really mix it up a bit.

With all this being said, some of my favourite memories happened in the last year virtually, that’s no lie. While it’s been such a tough year, the silver lining is how we were all propelled into this new era, something that we all desperately wanted/needed and maybe didn’t have the guts to do! Don’t let the screens get you down, get excited, get engaged, get collaborating. Looking forward to seeing how things continue to evolve in this space.

Gentle Reminder: It is okay to close down your laptop and move away from the virtual world when needed. Remember to enjoy the small things in your life.

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