By now, most of us are seasoned in attending online video meetings on a regular basis and some of us are truly feeling saturated, aka “zoomed out”.  
Although we see co-workers, our boss, fellow coaches, consultants, their cats and dogs, and even family members online, zoomed out or not, this doesn’t take away that we still crave an emotional and human connection! Now more than ever.
Research from MIT has shown that the social isolation most of us experience is, neurologically speaking, like a hunger that needs to be satisfied.
So how can we serve up “pizza” or any other comfort food in zoom meetings and walk away with a satisfied feeling of meaningful human connection?
Here are 5 ways to feel more connected with each other in your zoom meetings:
1. Mindfully create “watercooler moments” with your team. We have to make time for small talk, either in a session with the entire team/group, or between individuals; we need that! If you’re working with a team, start with a humorous or thought-provoking question. Stay away from the boring ones such as: “How are doing?” or “How was your weekend?” Instead ask: “Tell us something special about your name” or “Who is someone you really admire and why?”
2. Acknowledge. One basic human need we all crave is to be acknowledged and appreciated by others. This creates a sense of belonging in the group. As the facilitator, you can acknowledge people while they trickle in on the call, say their name, or thank them for something they did recently. Schedule a round of kudos on the agenda; a round of giving genuine compliments to each other without hidden advice or feedback. “I really like how you…”
3. Each One, Teach One. We all have something we are passionate about, interested in, and know more about than others. Take a minute per person, go around the room and have each person talk and present something about which they are “ the expert”.  Whether it’s a tip about a new app, a new way of preparing broccoli, or 3 main ideas from a book they are reading. We are natural learners and there is so much knowledge in the room. Tap into that energy!
4. Play a short game. Most of us are sitting long days behind our computer screens. Give the assignment to get up and find something in their workspace or home office within 1 minute. E.g. “Pick up a yellow object and show it to the group.”
5. Chatterfall.  Here is an example of an Introvert friendly activity: Ask any question and have people on the call type their short answer (works best with a 1-3 words answer) in the chat and ask them to hold off on hitting “enter” until you give the sign to do so. You can build up some suspense while people are typing their answers. The result is a chatter-fall. Some questions you could ask: “What are you taking away from this meeting?, or “What are you learning?”, “What are you grateful for today?” or even: “What is your favorite beverage/movie/slogan” etc.
And I want to add one little “rule”, that goes without saying for me when you are focused on creating connection: have your video camera on and ask others to do so as well, or at least have a portrait photo up.
Happy connecting!"

This article was written by Berry Kruijning JD, LL.M, Leadership Development Coach and Facilitator with Crowning Communications, Specializing in working with introvert leaders and their teams to create dynamic interpersonal relationships with confidence by leveraging their introvert strengths.

Berry has been a UO member since January 2018.

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