Have you had an interactive cyber meeting in your office? How would you include members that attend your meeting via Skype or internet and make it educational and fun for all? That was my challenge recently.
It was my first interactive Video Conference. A few week ago, I was hired by a company for their monthly leadership meeting. They wanted a 90 minute interactive program, which is what I offer so it was right up my ally.
Well, as I spoke with the client, they explained that they had 5 to 6 people that usually teleconference in and they should be included in the activities. This seemed like a bit more of a challenge, but still doable. Then, the night before, the client informed me that they arranged for the meeting to be video conferenced and would it be okay if they recorded the meeting. Gulp! Sure, I responded, go for it.
Now the program had to be visually interactive as apposed to just auditory interactive. This is a major change. It had to be visually interactive so they can view what we are doing and be included. Most of the activities I lead are improv or theatre based and focus on communication, team building, leadership, and creativity. Usually, we are all together in one group and we can see, touch and connect with each other. If the program is teleconferenced we could focus on story telling activities and word or dialog activities, but video conferencing presents a new challenge. It might sound easier, but now it has to be inclusive both visually and audibly, and we are not really connecting with them physically. We wouldn’t be able to see their face and know if they could understand. Well that’s what I thought at the time.
After changing the program, I became more excited about how to lead this new interactive program. It was a first for the company and a first for me, fortunately we all where ready to improvise and trust each other. It’s a good thing, because there were challenges. Mostly the challenges where technical and the IT guys had to improvise how to get everything working.What I didn’t realize was that we’d get to see the people that were conferencing in on the large screen.
We kept going and with the assistance of the group we came up with ways to interact and include the people. At one point the large group was divided into smaller groups, and that group included the 5 conferenced-in people. I should have taking out my flip camera to video the group as they were brain storming on a project with the group of people sitting in the room and on the screen while chatting over the microphone. It was hilarious.
We all laughed and learned a great deal that day. Mostly, how to work with a video conference meeting, but we also learned how to be creative and that definitely lead to an innovative experience.
I asked the meeting planner if she could give me the response and evaluations when she received them. A few seconds later, the meeting planner received a text from the team member from Milwaukee saying “That was awesome”. It was my first text evaluation.