Fun virtual events that well-executed will help a team at any stage of formation: from creation to performing or changing and evolving.
They attempt to make up for the lack of interaction, non-verbal communication, and trust-building that comes more effortlessly when everybody is in the office.
Before getting started, it's necessary to consider how you would handle the following three situations (if any apply) to overcome potential awkwardness during a virtual event:
1. How do I help somebody participate more in the event?
Keep a list of the meeting participants and shout-out to quieter team members with a question or exercise.
2. What if somebody talks too much?
Remind everybody before the team-building event to be considerate of others to give everybody the chance to contribute. For example, depending on the activity, you could ask participants to keep their responses to 1–2 minutes. If somebody takes up too much time or wants to go again, gently remind them:
“Let’s let’s give Jennifer a chance to respond.”
“Just conscious of time here, shall we give the others a chance to go first?”
Typically, people who talk too much are often unaware of this fact. So if somebody continues to interrupt during calls, take them aside afterward and kindly remind them.
3. What will you do if your meeting overruns?
Check if everybody is happy to continue for another few minutes until the activity is complete, but remind the team members to participate quickly and keep their responses short. Otherwise, end the meeting and decide whether it makes sense to continue the remaining exercise on a later call.
With ground-rules established, let’s continue onto my Top 10 list of virtual events.
1. Who owns this mystery object?
Ask participants to send you a picture of an object of sentimental value to them, e.g., a marathon medal, a school captain award, or something they brought back from a holiday.
Share the picture and give participants a chance to vote for who they think owns it. Most collaboration software can create a poll, including Teams.
2. Introduce your family
Each participant can introduce other family members to join the virtual event — pets included, of course!
Important: some people prefer to live a private life, and you should respect that. Do not force anybody to participate if they don’t want to.
3. Go on a selfie-stick tour
A volunteer in your team takes everybody on a tour of their back garden, a local park, or temple (of course, bearing in mind social distancing guidelines where you live).
4. Pick a color and answer a question
Send out a packet of sweets to each team member, such as Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.
Before the virtual event, your job is to write down the different egg colors and map each of these colors to a question.
Each person selects a random egg from the packet with their eyes closed and holds it up to the camera for everybody to see its color.
You then ask the question that corresponds to the selected egg color.
Pink: What’s the craziest thing you have even done?
Purple: What celebrity would you like to meet for a coffee?
Yellow: Who would you want to play in a favourite movie and why?
There are many variations of this game, and you might choose instead to ask questions from a Trivial Pursuit pack of cards. In this case, each color would map to a quiz category such as Sport, Entertainment, etc.
5. Screenshare Pictionary
Each person takes a turn to share their screen and draw a picture without saying anything. The first person to correctly guess the image wins.
My recommendation is to share a random word generator link with the team to avoid long pauses when participants can’t immediately think of a good thing to draw.
There’s also software such as skribbl, which might offer benefits over everybody needing to share their screen.
6. The last person to join
This is not really a virtual event, but definitely something to keep in your back pocket for team update calls!
7. Which of these three facts about me is wrong?
Before everybody joins, ask them to think of two facts about themselves that are true and one that’s a lie. In each person’s turn, they need to create a poll on Teams, etc. and hope that most don’t pick the lie.
8. Virtual bingo
Top of the Shop…90! This virtual event needs no explanation, and there are dozens of virtual bingo apps.
9. Speed Sudoku
Send each team member a Sudoku puzzle to solve and keep a leaderboard of the fastest winners. What better way to get everyone’s brain fired up for the day?
UsDoku is a good resource for creating Sudoku puzzles and team competitions.
10. This or that?
Ask a series of questions to your team that come with a choice of two answers. Get participants to write “1” or “2” on a piece of card (you could also use two colors, such as red and blue) and ask them to raise the card that matches either choice.
Good questions from 89 This or That Questions include:
“Coca-Cola or Pepsi?”
“Cats or dogs?”
“McDonald’s or Burger King?”
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and don’t forget to subscribe. 👍