Do your interactive events miss the mark?
“This Zoom meeting will be different. It will be interactive.” How many times how you heard that in the past two years?
You give in and go along, and it’s all a bit, the same same. A poll here and there. A few questions, maybe even a quiz. Halfway through, you’re starting to look at your email or social media, wishing the pain of it to go away.
Sitting on Zoom meetings became such a daily occurrence for most people during the pandemic. With all of this experience, you would think we would have become good at it. Even those who think they are good at it can be somewhat lacking and never really capture the essence of an in-person meeting.
I have been involved in running and managing live in-person events for the past 7 years. Moving on to online events, I become curious about the difference in results and the audience’s responsiveness. In both in-person and online events, interaction is essential. It is a proven method of learning and cementing the concepts in participants.
Last year an opportunity arose for me to do a course that previously was out of reach because of the travel requirements. Now that people couldn’t travel, it was online. However, it meant that I had to turn my days upside down, start at 11pm, and go through the night until 6am for 4 days. The idea of being Zoom during those hours, for that long, was daunting, but I really wanted to do it. I felt I needed this knowledge.
How would I keep focused and take in all I needed to? They promised it would be interactive. That should help. Here is where I learned the key to creating a responsive learning environment. It is not so much about the interaction. It is the connectivity.
All of the exercises we did during this course connected us with 1 or 2 people from somewhere else in the world. We had time to do the exercises, with bonus time given for reflection and connecting with each other through what we had learned. Different perspectives were shared with us. We created a real connection with people that allowed us to embrace what we learned. Friendships were made.
When we connect with others personally, we absorb more learning and more desire to be involved. It enhances our experience and brings out a more profound commitment to getting results. When we make these connections, we build rapport, beyond the other person, into the community or organisation.
As I explore this now, I start to see how this connectivity needs to be incorporated in both online and in-person events. While we can think that our interactions in-person involve connectivity, they can still be easily missed. People can easily be overlooked or hide and escape in both circumstances without finding the full benefit offered to them. Creating experiences where all can feel comfortable sharing makes the difference.
Incorporating Chocolate and Coffee breaks into events is one way of doing it. I have used these at workshops, seminars and retreats, online and in-person, giving people time to connect with each other on a personal level. It doesn’t need to be a big chunk of time. It can just be a purposeful pause.
Right now, connectivity is what people are craving. We need to reconnect and remember what it is to be in community. Have we forgotten how to work with each other? Have we got lost in our own little worlds of isolation? Take time to think about this and how you can incorporate something more than interaction into your meetings or events. Make sure that people are connecting. It’s connectivity that counts.