Three Essential Tips: How to Foster Human Connection in Virtual Meetings

Blog-HumanConnection

As 2021 comes to an end, we have all been in *that* online meeting or event. You know the one: it makes you cringe, feel sorry for the presenters, wish you could turn back time — or even better — fast-forward time and just get to the end of it! These are also the meetings and events where we multitask, the ones that make us miss “the before times” and the human connection of in-person meetings and events. 

Unexpected conversations and synchronicities happen all the time when we meet in person, but are often rare in the virtual world. If you miss the water cooler conversations, we are here to tell you that it IS possible to foster real human connection in virtual meetings! 

Neole’s very own Ginny Santos and Tony Esteves recently launched a brand new course i-Human: How to Create Real Human Connection in Virtual Meetings. In this course, participants are guided through simple ways to maximize the virtual meetings that foster engagement, connection and fun — all things we need to work at our best, and to be genuinely happy! 

You’ll need to take the one-hour professional development course to reap the benefits, but here are 3 of our favourite tips and practices to help you make your next online meeting or event one that fosters real human connection and engagement!

1. Plan ahead and design your agenda with humans in mind. 

When planning what activities you will have on your agenda, consider the size of the group and the time you have allotted. It is always best to send people into smaller breakout sessions in order to get people talking and connecting. Pay attention to the health and well-being of your group and ensure you plan real breaks at least every 50 minutes, as well as movement activities throughout.

2. Get the basics right: first impressions count!

Just like grandma always said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In the 2D world, the same applies — and many of the little things that might go unnoticed in-person, are magnified on a virtual platform. If you want to encourage participants to connect with each other, help them understand best practices for how they show up online: 

  • Have good lighting: Ensure you are not backlit and consider a ring light.
  • Have good sound: Use a microphone, either a professional mic or headphones with a mic, and mute yourself when not speaking.
  • Appear professional: Dress comfortably and professionally, be mindful of your camera angle and surroundings and name yourself correctly (not mom’s ipad!).
  • Pay attention to your speed: Speak clearly and at a slow to medium pace and leave pauses and opportunities for discussion.

3. Give people the chance to use their voice early on, and often.

When people get to talk to each other, they learn things, and feel heard – just like at live events. Breakout rooms are the perfect place to create engagement opportunities. 

Interested in learning more about engaging virtual meetings and events that are designed to maximize connection and engagement? Have a resolution to run better online meetings and events in 2022. Book a free discovery call with one of our expert facilitators to find out how Neole can support you!

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"NeOle's virtual facilitation services were an eye-opening experience for our globally-dispersed organization. The level of engagement and productive work that we accomplished rapidly turned skeptics into rabid fans, which is why we continue to hire Neolé." - J.Vehar, VP Products, Dale Carnegie & Associates
"I have had the pleasure of working with NeOlé in a number of settings over the past de​cade. Their creative and collaborative approach to training, group facilitation and problem solving greatly influenced the work we did with frontline workers across Ontario. I have adopted a number of their strategies into my own work, and never hesitate to call on NeOle to lead a session at our annual event." - P.Cross, Legal Director, Luke's Place
“I loved the use of the interactive technology for real-time engagement. And the facilitators were wonderful, intuitive, intelligent, able to manage group ebs/flows and adjust accordingly.” - Participant in a 3-day training on Leading Innovation
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