Virtual meetings are essential for the smooth functioning of your businesses.
But keeping your employees engaged throughout the meeting can be challenging. They may get restless if the meeting runs too long or if the discussion gets repetitive.
However, there are some simple ways to transform your online meeting into fun virtual gatherings!
In this article, we’ll give you some amazing tips on how to make virtual meetings fun and boost employee engagement. We’ll also go over the most frequently asked questions on making virtual meetings fun.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- Top 10 Ideas On How to Make Virtual Meetings Fun
- 4 FAQs About Fun and Engaging Virtual Meetings
Let’s get started!
Top 10 ideas on how to make virtual meetings fun
Here are some ways to make your virtual team meetings pleasant and productive.
1. Open with icebreaker questions
The trick to making virtual meetings fun is to make your employees feel comfortable.
So before you begin brainstorming ideas or crunching numbers, try to strike up a non-work related conversation. It’ll help you eliminate the initial phase of silence and awkwardness.
Teammates can blow off some steam by engaging in a series of virtual icebreaker questions. These can be anything from sharing the best birthday gifts ever received to talking about weekend plans.
How do icebreakers help?
Working from home, especially during the pandemic, often gets lonely and frustrating.
By introducing virtual ice breakers or fun conversation starters, you allow your virtual team to bond with their colleagues.
Opening with a virtual icebreaker or fun check-in questions helps you warm up the team for a productive remote meeting. It encourages them to contribute more and collaborate easily, especially if you have a new team member on board.
This way, it acts as a virtual team building exercise and lays the groundwork for an effective virtual team meeting.
2. Keep presentations crisp and colorful
Holding the attention of a remote team is no easy task.
So besides making your virtual meetings fun, it’s crucial to keep them short and to the point. Otherwise, your employees may zone out midway during the presentation you spent hours preparing.
Highlight the critical points in your presentation or docs using bold fonts or distinct font colors so your remote employees can follow you easily.
You can create presentations centered around a particular theme so your virtual team stays hooked throughout. For instance, you may use catchphrases from some popular show while discussing critical points in your presentation.
Such an approach will evoke relatable, funny reactions from the team and make your online meeting as interactive as any in person meeting. It also paves the way for virtual team building and improved communication during the video call.
Moreover, setting a time limit on your video meetings and sticking to the predefined topics will help you avoid wasting the time of your team.
Here are some virtual presentation tips to get your audience’s attention.
3. Introduce your pets
Once in a while, you can conduct a virtual team building activity asking every teammate to introduce their adorable pets.
It will bring a fun twist to your virtual meeting and make the remote work more exciting.
Almost every pet owner has had funny experiences preventing their pets from interrupting their virtual team meetings. So why not make them a part of the virtual event the next time?
Not to mention that watching the antics of a Persian cat or a playful Corgi will be a refreshing change from staring at pie charts and graphs.
Dedicating even 10 minutes of your meeting time to this fun activity can make your team more energized. Spending quality time with pets can reduce the stress of every attendee and help them put their best foot forward in the meeting.
This temporary distraction can have a calming effect on the person and motivate them to take on work challenges positively.
4. Create interactive polls
Conducting live polls can help you keep the remote team engaged and get their real-time feedback.
How do you do it?
Video conference tools like Microsoft Teams, Webex, and Zoom allow you to create polls.
You can prepare poll questions that align with the meeting agenda. For instance, if you have a meeting to decide on a marketing campaign name, you can create a poll asking employees about the best option discussed so far.
Moreover, you can use the breakout rooms feature to divide the virtual team into specific groups. It can be useful if you want to get the opinion of every team member from different departments. The data can provide valuable business insights for better decision-making and workflow improvement.
The polling feature is a great way to facilitate virtual team building and get honest, critical responses from every meeting attendee. It helps you identify the drawbacks in your plan and discuss the possible solutions in your remote meeting.
5. Boost engagement with gamification
Implementing gamification is a simple way to make things more exciting in the virtual setting.
It makes virtual meetings fun for every meeting attendee.
For instance, you can include food puns throughout your presentation like ‘Avo Good Day!’, ‘You’re one in a melon’ and much more. At the end of the presentation, you can ask your remote meeting participants to name as many as they can.
You can reward the winning participant with extra break time or personalized e-gift cards to make things even more interesting.
Besides having fun in the virtual space, this will ensure that every employee follows the video call discussion closely. Gamification techniques also act as a virtual icebreaker and help create a relaxed atmosphere during the meeting.
Naturally, every attendee will be more willing to participate in these activities, which will enhance engagement levels.
However, as the meeting moderator, you’ll need to see that these games don’t get aggressive or promote unhealthy competition in the workplace. Otherwise, it’ll end up ruining the fun intent behind it.
6. Try out workplace trivia
Add a dose of excitement to your virtual team meetings with trivia!
You can create quizzes related to your workplace or industry. Once in a while, you may also opt for non-work topics like pop culture, travel facts, guessing brand names, etc.
Trivia questions or Q&A sessions are excellent team building activities to host in the virtual space. It promotes healthy competition amongst remote employees and gives them a break from workplace banter.
Additionally, your virtual team gets the chance to interact with other colleagues in a fun way.
It makes it easier for your online team to collaborate more efficiently on future projects. They get to understand the mindset of other members in the remote team and recognize their work strengths.
As a result, it promotes great team culture and encourages a healthy exchange of ideas amongst the remote meeting participants.
Need more ideas? Here are some great activities you can try out with your team:
- Virtual Jeoparty Social – A Jeopardy-style activity with 3-4 rounds of Jeopardy trivia and social activities between each round
- Virtual Trivia Time Machine – Take a trip through time as teams compete to solve pop-culture trivia over the last 5 decades
- Virtual Happy Hour Trivia – Step into Hamish McDuff’s virtual pub and compete in his legendary happy hour trivia competition.
7. Elevate the visual experience
Most video conferencing tools offer interactive features to make your online meeting visually impressive.
For example, Zoom lets you set a customizable virtual background to make your Zoom meeting playful and fun. You can even use the tool’s digital whiteboard to engage in team building games like Pictionary or doodle.
Moreover, if you’re explaining a complex idea or business strategy in your presentation, try including more images, GIFs, and videos than words.
Your employees will be more likely to check out the videos than read through verbose slides during the Zoom meeting. In other words, you’ll want to keep it simple yet striking.
Adding visual elements to your meetings can help you capture your team’s attention and drive remote employee participation.
8. Discuss trending shows and movies
Once in a while, during the virtual event or meetings, you can gather all the cinephiles in your team, asking every participant to share the best movie recommendations — there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing the team bond over coffee and cinema.
Using the breakout rooms feature (available in both Zoom and Microsoft Teams), you can divide the team into specific groups sharing common interests.
For instance, you can have a group of meeting participants discuss Money Heist, another debate on insane Marvel fan theories, or explore the funniest F.R.I.E.N.D.S memes.
Hosting such a fun activity makes it easier for remote team members to connect in the virtual world. Moreover, it allows remote meeting participants to ditch the small talk and avoid awkward silences in these sessions. In short, your virtual team meetings turn out to be more interactive and successful.
As a manager, you should consider implementing this idea to reduce workplace stress and boost employee productivity.
9. Organize team building activities
Virtual team building games are crucial to improving employee engagement in remote workplaces.
Some of the games you can play during the virtual meeting include remote work bingo, “Never have I ever,” solving a murder mystery, decoding movie names from emojis, guessing the song from the first five seconds, and so much more.
You can incorporate these virtual team building activities on your Monday meetings to kickstart a great week or Friday meetings to end the work week on a high note.
These games can help employees unwind, inspire great teamwork, and encourage open communication. Employees learn to work towards a common goal and even develop problem-solving skills that may help address everyday work challenges.
For meetings that run way too long, you can use the break time to enjoy a virtual team lunch with your teammates. The important thing here is to spend some quality time with your team and catch up on each other’s well-being.
This way, your employees are not restricted to discussions on work topics throughout the meeting. Instead, they can have interesting conversations and get to know each other organically through these team building activities.
Here are some great ideas for team building activities:
10. Plan a remote scavenger hunt
Who doesn’t love some adventure every now and then?
And by adventure, we do not mean an ad hoc client request on a Friday evening!
As the meeting facilitator, you can plan a quick remote scavenger hunt for your team during the meeting. It’ll give them a much-needed break from the work discussions and act as a stress buster.
The rules can be very simple, and you can specify a list of house items that every teammate needs to collect and bring back to the table within a particular time. You can include a mix of common and unusual house items like:
- Children’s toys.
- Crime novel.
- A fruit.
- Baking tray.
- And whatever else you can come up with!
Once the time is up and everyone re-assembles, you can check everybody’s collection through the screen sharing option and then declare the winner with the maximum number of items. You may even invite the winner to share an anecdote associated with any of these house items.
Needless to say, if you can host such a fun activity at your weekly meetings, it will encourage team bonding and make workdays more productive.
4 FAQs about fun and engaging virtual meetings
Here are answers to some of the most general queries on creating a fun and productive virtual meeting.
1. Why is it important to make virtual meetings fun?
Virtual meetings allow your remote workers to unwind and socialize with colleagues. Making virtual meetings fun is critical to nurturing a positive team culture. It motivates your remote team to go that extra mile, reduces stress and employee burnout.
Alternatively, if your video conferencing is all about work from start to finish, the meeting attendee is more likely to feel detached and disinterested.
2. What can you celebrate and bond over during virtual meetings?
You can use these video meetings to recognize your top-performing employees and boost employee morale. It’s also an excellent platform for welcoming any new team member to ensure a great start to their journey with your organization.
To make every participant more comfortable and involved, you can introduce a virtual icebreaker game or team building activity.
3. What are the common challenges of virtual meetings?
The common challenges of virtual meetings include unstable internet connection, varying time zones of team members, lack of virtual icebreakers, or virtual team building activities.
You must prepare accordingly and tackle these challenges to make your video meetings smooth and productive.
4. How do I know if my virtual meeting was fun?
You can observe the body language and facial expressions of every person involved in the video meeting to understand if it was a total success. Here are a few indicators of positive body language or non-verbal cues that you can look out for:
- Maintaining eye contact.
- Leaning in during critical discussions.
- Maintaining an upright posture.
- Absence of frowning.
- Giving the occasional thumbs-up.
Additionally, you can also request them to share their honest feedback. It’ll provide you with crucial insights and help you make the next virtual team meeting even more effective.
Hosting meaningful, enjoyable virtual meetings can help you increase work focus, improve employee participation, and destress with the virtual team in a fun way.
These sessions encourage team bonding. And in the long run, they help you create loyal, empathetic employees who work alongside each other to accomplish significant organizational goals.
So go through the ideas we’ve compiled above to ace your next meeting in the virtual world.
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.