Cultivating Tension-Free Zoom Meetings

by Josh Biggs in Tech on 15th July 2020

Lately, it feels like Zoom is on everyone’s lips. With lockdowns in place all over the world and social distancing, people started to cherish video calls and video conferencing software. 

However, most of us know just how chaotic regular meetings can be. Also, there’s a bigger stress factor with presentations and speaking in front of your superiors (or the heads of the company).

This stress is translated in the online medium, but it’s even higher considering all the things that could (and usually do) go wrong. So, to make sure your team is happy and safe at home while still being productive, we are going to offer a few tips that make Zoom meetings a bit more fun and casual. 

Have a Meeting Leader

In face-to-face meetings, there are non-verbal communication cues that suggest someone asked you a question or that it’s your turn to talk. And, while there will be some overlap and people will speak over each other, it’s easier to mitigate these situations in person. 

Virtual meetings lack non-verbal cues and, even though you see the other people on your screen, it’s not as easy to understand their intentions. So, to avoid creating confusion, it’s best to have a meeting leader who will tell everyone when to speak and on which topic. 

It also helps if the leader is tech-savvy and knows how the app works. This way, if there is a technical difficulty, they will know how to bring the meeting back on track. 

Maintain a Light Atmosphere

Business meetings can be tense. You discuss financial situations, budgets, responsibilities, and so on. 

But there are ways to make things a bit lighter by introducing tension release elements. For instance, you can ask participants to use funny Zoom virtual backgrounds to bring a smile on their colleagues’ faces. Ask them to be as creative as they like (within limits for a business meeting) and express their individuality.

Quick side note: virtual backgrounds also hide the clutter in the background that usually takes viewers’ focus from the speaker. 

Encourage Fun Activities as a Teambuilding Exercise

Zoom is not just for video conferences. It also allows participants to have a little remote fun, which is a fantastic teambuilding exercise. 

For instance, you could invite your team members to a party game via Zoom. These are quite funny and involve all sorts of activities such as drawing, comedy, or trivia. What’s even more interesting is that only one person needs to own the game – the rest can play as guests via the Share Screen feature. 

Another great group activity is Pictionary or Hangman and Zoom lets you play these using the Whiteboard feature (Share Screen > Whiteboard > Share). 

While it may seem a bit childish, these games help maintain social bonds between team members who don’t get to communicate in person. It’s also a nice way to get everyone used to the idea of a video call and using all the features of the app. 

Wrap Up 

As time goes by, we will get more accustomed to the idea of working from home and holding meetings from the comfort of our living room. Still, we need to keep in mind that humans need social connections based on trust and friendship.

Categories: Tech