Connecting in a virtual environment is hard– we all experienced that over the course of the last year as we adjusted to the world of Zoom, Teams, or whatever platform we found ourselves on.
While coaching hundreds of speakers and facilitating group meetings and workshops, Articulation discovered how to foster connection by being intentional. Whether you are shifting back to in-person meetings, sticking with virtual, or creating a hybrid experience, intentionality can help you create environments and teams where everyone feels valued.
This video, featuring Articulation’s Acacia Duncan, looks at six ways you can create an environment in which your audience can connect in virtual meetings.
6 Ways to Create an Environment Where Your Attendees Can Create Deeper Connections in Virtual Meetings
1. Start with purpose and intention.
At the root of any successful connection is a shared purpose. Is there a common goal for the virtual meeting which everyone is aligned?
Then think about intention. How does the group view their own role? To listen to participate? To just dial in?
2. Let each person know you care.
People don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care. Be sure to think about what your group needs.
Do they need an ear to vent? Time to transition? A little high five from a project completed recently?
Has there been a death? A birth to celebrate? Or has it simply been a busy week? If you can tap into the needs of your audience, you can create a safe place to connect.
3. Create sensory experiences.
Are you using words that people can see, touch, hear, and smell?
In other words, how are you using the the power of story to help make a connection?
A story is like a bridge, a bridge between something, you know, and care about and something your audience does not yet know or care about.
If you want to get people to care quickly in your virtual meeting, a story might just do the trick.
4. Leave space for quiet.
People process information in different ways. But what we do know is that your audience can’t really think if you are busy talking.
As a presenter and leader in the virtual meeting you can support this need to think by providing space and quiet with deliberate moments of reflection.
The trick with silence is that you have to get comfortable with it.
Set a timer if you need to. Count your breaths. Just be sure to give the quiet time your audience needs.
5. Create moments of equitable conversation.
The truth is there are always some people in a group who are very comfortable speaking up, and they can monopolize the conversation. Especially online in virtual meetings. This makes it hard to connect with every person in the room.
In order to foster conversation that is equitable, in which every voice is heard, it is important to make sure you create instructions, where everyone is invited and expected to answer. No one voice can dominate, and each person gets to be heard.
6. Have some fun.
Nothing loosens people up more than play. Children need play in order to thrive. And the truth is, adults need it, too. Consider using games to get people laughing, or to ignite a casual competitive spirit. Your audience will feel so much more comfortable and be able to connect after they let off some steam.
We hope you can use these ideas as ingredients that you can mix together to foster connection in your virtual environments.
Learn How to Conduct Better Virtual Meetings
Check out our toolkit for Being a Speaker in a Virtual World.