We are sharing here with his permission as it is a fitting time to consider multiple creative ways to promote creative synchronous connection—through a screen.
Are you looking for interactive exercises to add to your next online meeting or conference, especially when face-to-face meetings are difficult or not possible at the moment?
In the context of building Connection Before Content, any time and energy you invest to help your participants interact and build trust will benefit your program outcomes. The more people feel connected to others, the more willing they will be to interact and participate and this always leads to increased feelings of satisfaction and performance.
Connecting before content is just as valuable, and effective, for online meetings as it is with face-to-face meetings.
In the past few weeks, I have been peppered with many requests to share activity ideas that invite students, staff, delegates, etc to interact more effectively during online meetings and virtual conferences.
There are dozens of fun and very simple online activity ideas you can use online. Here are four of my favourite interactive exercises for use online:
Online Interactive Exercises
I have conducted this exercise face-to-face, during an online forum and via social media channels many times extremely successfully. It is awesome.
You pose a series of questions in which each person must choose one choice or the other, e.g. do you prefer video games or board games? You can’t sit on the fence, you must choose one or the other. To begin, ask three (and no more than four) different scenarios and invite each person to note their individual choice for each.
Then, using the chat room function, ask each person to enter their three responses (in one entry) online. Invite everyone to find one other person who has (written) chosen (a) the exact same choices and/or (b) the exact opposite choices as themselves.
You can do this several times during an online meeting to energise and re-focus your group. Make the scenarios fun, insightful or deep – it will depend on the amount of time you want to spend and the mood of your group.
Similar to Must Choose (above) but this time, the scenarios you ask pose two alternatives, both of which have positive and negative considerations, eg would you rather be rich (but no one knows you) or famous (and have no money?) Once again, you pose a series of three or four scenarios, and then ask each person to share their responses online to discover others who are like or unlike them.
If you have the time, consider asking your group (off-topic) to suggest what the results may mean or say about your group?
This is so simple and yet so much fun. Ideal for groups (or sub-groups) of 10 to 20 people.
If possible (but it’s not critical,) ask your group to navigate to the screen which features the window of every other participant (most popular platforms like Zoom do this.) The challenge is for every person in the group to say their name (audibly) as quickly as possible in a particular sequence. Establish a clear order such as alphabetical by first or last name, eg Aaron starts, followed by Ella, then José, Julia, etc.. through to Xander. Repeat the task several times to record a nebulous world record and enjoy the levity it will foster.
Ask each person to grab a sheet of paper or index card and write their name (big letters) on the top half of the paper (when held horizontally.) Next, ask each person to write a series of numbers below their name in the bottom half of the paper which represent something about them. For example, I may write 64 – 13 – 1 – 18 – 5, the first two numbers indicate the year I was born, then my street address number, how many children I have, etc.
Invite each person to write 4 to 6 numbers. When ready, invite one or more (depending on the size of your group) people to show their card to the camera so everyone can see their name and numbers. The group’s task is to guess what the numbers represent. It’s not a test, so allow a short time for guessing before the person holding the paper tells their group what the number means. Always fascinating.
More Interactive Exercises for Online Meetings
To save space and time, here are links to more fun group activities that work just as well online as they do when people are in the same room together.