Running virtual meetings that have heart and don't suck

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Let's make Zoom meetings suck less


Everybody stand up and turn your back to your screen holy shit wtf is going on


What sucks about zoom meetings?

  • so. much. fatigue.
  • zoom is a body-snatcher

Things we want more of with zoom:

  • spaces for gathering that don't feel like just another zoom meeting
  • a fun party atmosphere
  • intimacy

What do you miss about in-person meetings?

  • privacy/gossip/flirting
  • the randomness of talking to someone on a break

What are you struggling to achieve in zoom meetings?

  • connection to other people
  • empowerment

What have been some unexpectedly beautiful zoom moments:

  • family ritual
  • signing "daydayanu" with giant group for virtual seder - when everyone was terribly out of sync - tech fail, humanity win.

What have you done (or seen done) that makes online meetings suck a little bit less?

  • start by standing up/turned around to remember we have bodies
  • make funny animal noises to remember that we don't work at corporations
  • share music or performance!
  • leaving your screen share zoom up while people are working i.e. mimicking the 'casually walking by someone's desk
  • having a "mind palace" with lots of links and fun things (map where you can enter the workshop space or onlinetown or a game room)
  • scavenger hunt (go find things in your house)
  • cocktails! it helps
  • do a visualization walking people thru the experience of arriving at a familiar place (i.e. "you get out of your car and you walk over to the meeting space and you see so and so and hug them" etc)
  • permission to have your real life present (your kid, your cat, your foul mouth)
  • playing music at the beginning, end, and breaks during the meeting
  • one time the facilitators started by showing a beautiful picture, then gave permission to people to draw on it, when people came back from breaks, people would doodle on the zoom drawing pad, was psychically different than if it were a blank page
  • designating someone to be a co-facilitator who can manage the chat box, synthesize and do shout outs
  • live polling

Things that are played out:

  • screen sharing
  • breakout discussion rooms, too awkward
  • don't give people blank pads or blank drawing boards
  • "discussion" based meetings ("let's just talk about this thing")

Things to try out:

Stuff LJ has tried:

  • move your camera around the space to show them physical things like post-its on the wall, etc.
  • send care packages to folks with *physical* things in them. (like pens, post-its, a mini whiteboard, etc.)
  • whiteboard go around is both physical and SAVES TIME!
  • draw things on paper
    • eg: draw a challenge you are having? draw how you are feeling right now?
  • don't use slides!
  • pads are good!
    • shared visibility
    • cloak who is writing what (helps people share more emotionally sensitive/charged topics)
  • breakouts
    • only if specific task, pad or slide w/ prompts to structure collaboration
    • (to train situtaional awareness) showing a video of an octopus fighting a mantaray, and asking people (on mute) to narrate out loud to themselves

Pedagogical Hacks:

  • the purpose of this meeting is not to talk but to work simultaneously on this shared document (everybody editing at the same time)
  • renaming meetings "work sessions" and having an actual outcome
  • using the chat box instead of popcorning
  • being diligent about time keeping, don't let things wander. shorter is def better!
  • have things to fiddle with (pet rope, etc)
  • let's not police people saying 'don't check your phone,' let's facilitate experiences that are worthy of people's time and attention