informalising online meetings

3 ways to make online meetings more informal

Published on 2 Sep 2021 by Alex ten Klei

Why is it important to also meet informally, that is, outside the work situation? Because everything is under pressure. Corona has taken a heavy toll on society. And that is also reflected in companies. Especially now that it has become clear that the Corona Virus will longer than first expected. And perhaps it will always be with us. For this reason, we sometimes tend to set goals first, especially in online meetings. After all, there is a fixed agenda with a tight schedule. Because after an hour, most colleagues have to jump onto another online meeting. In the past, we spent time commenting on things that we saw or experienced in the physical realm, like, for example, a home situation, a beautiful festival we had visited or something as simple as a new outfit. This type of interaction is natural and creates familiarity leading to deeper connections. And it is precisely this informal connectedness that has largely disappeared through online connections. This blog explores ways in which we can address this even in the online realm.

1. Check in

It makes sense to ask someone how they are doing. Perhaps so logical that we often forget to do it in online meetings. Start a meeting informally and do not immediately focus on the content. Briefly ask how someone is doing and look closely at the person's reaction. Non-verbal cues are more difficult to read through a screen, but it's not impossible. Ensure that the more introverted colleagues are included in the conversation, possibly even afterwards in a one-on-one situation.

2. Use polls

The online meeting tools have many useful extras. One of them is the poll. You can come up with a question in advance to which everyone gives their answer. In the end, you have the result. This way you can ask questions in a fun and playful way. That can range from the level to 'What are your holiday plans for this year' to 'What are you most concerned about in these times of corona?' or 'How are you really doing?'

3. Bring a Personal Item

Have someone else bring a personal item into the online meeting every week and give 5 minutes to tell a story. Inviting the person to share the story gives an insight into them and makes people feel appreciated and valued. They matter. What's happening in their life counts. Make sure that you give people enough freedom so that they remain relaxed. Where one person tells very easily, the other is a bit more reserved. And that's fine too.


So, there you have it. Three quite simple ways of keeping meetings informal and personal. And what's more, they are so simple that you can start applying them tomorrow. Of course, there are many more ways, many even more profound in nature. Because contact is now more important than ever, precisely because so much is done through screens. Keen to challenge this opinion or let us know your ideas? Please contact us. We look forward to connecting with you and sharing experiences.

Alex ten Klei

Chief Play Officer

Developing skills and mindsets with gamification and team building solutions.

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