How can you create that offline spark of joy that Connection tends to ignite when you are communicating digitally?
With the holidays coming up, we are all looking for ways to connect.
To our loved ones, to our colleagues, you name it. But with this pandemic impacting the way we connect with each other since March, finding our joy by connecting with each other – especially with the festive season coming up – has proven to be quite the challenge.
How can you create that offline spark of joy that connection tends to ignite when you are communicating digitally?
Spark that joy
When it comes to connecting online and really interacting with each other, we live in an era which offers so many possibilities. In the digital age it is almost impossible to lose connection with each other (except if your Wi-Fi decides to butt out, of course).
Think of all the different online tools used by companies to schedule meetings, co-work and give presentations; Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, you name it. Staying in touch, therefore, doesn’t pose a problem. It is finding the true connection that is the culprit. How do you prevent Zoom-meetings from becoming dull, tiresome and nothing more than an obligatory moment of the day?
How do you spark that joy that human connection can ignite and both find and hold onto those connections that we are all longing for after months of socially distancing? Is it simply approaching the concept of engagement in a different way or are there means that can provide us with the human connection we need?
Even though it might not seem this way, we have more influence on experiencing (online) joy for ourselves than you might think.
These four steps will help you find that connection, hold onto it and enjoy the bonds and passion that emerge from it, even if it is via a screen.
Step 1. Use interactive tools
The first step towards more connection and interactivity online is to use interactive tools. There are so many tools to choose from, each with its own merits, that it’s practically impossible not to find one that suits your needs, whether it’s for private use or meant for work…
Zoom is the tool that you are probably most familiar with. It gives you the opportunity to host or join a meeting with multiple people, which makes it ideal for large work meetings or online family reunions.
To stimulate engagement, you can create breakout rooms, which allows you to communicate with a small group of people – as small as 2 people per breakout room – which is ideal for discussing interesting topics in detail or simply catching up with your aunt or niece.
Okay, so Zoom is pretty basic and offers you what you need to be able to talk to and engage with colleagues and/or family members.
But what if you want to spice things up a bit?
Do more than simply talk and actually get all logged-on people to participate?
Try Crowdcast. Crowdcast allows you to organize meetings, webinars and live events with the added bonus of integrated polls and Q&A options. No more sitting back and turning your mic on for those scarce moments you decide to weigh in on something, this requires active participating!
Another fun tool that stimulates colleagues and family members to actively participate is Kahoot!, an online tool which you can use for creating quizzes. Perfect for when you want to pitch a new concept to your co-workers or for hosting the annual Christmas pubquiz for your super excited family. All you need is a laptop or smartphone, the personal Kahoot! link for your quiz and something yummy to snack on whilst you try answering the questions asap.
Another great tool that will stimulate interactivity is Prezi Video. Prezi in itself provides ample options for creating interaction during presentations as one of the first presentation tools that allows you to create presentation paths instead of linear presenting.
But with the addition of Prezi Video, Prezi allows you to create presentations and import them into live videos, which makes your weekly staff meeting all the more interesting. With your head floating in between visuals, you can use this tool for both corporate and recreational ends – your aunt Carol will love the holiday themed decorations you made to give your chat a festive twist.
Create Healthy Boundaries
with Minou Hexspoor Coaching
2. Keep on bonding
Just using these fun tools is just the beginning to create your own online playground.
Creating and maintaining a strong bond digitally can sometimes be a real pain in the ass. Since most of us are currently mostly working from home, the effort is not necessarily more, but certainly different to maintain your precious social bonds.
But it’s not as strenuous as you might think; with just a few simple initiatives, you can strengthen those bonds and shorten the (social) distance that everyone is currently experiencing.
► Miss working with your colleagues?
► Want someone to chat to every once in a while when working from home?
► Propose a co-working meeting!
► Propose a co-working meeting!
I do this with my son all the time.
He lives in The Netherlands, so I don’t see him all too often.
To stay connected, we plan to work together; while he is working on his papers for university, I do my administration. We can hear each other type, take tea breaks together and ask each other the occasional question. This way, we are connected, albeit with a screen between us. Not only can it help to feel more connected, it can also improve your productivity and provide with more inspiration or new ideas. You have your own online brainstorm partner!
Online meetings are not just for working together, you can also use them to bond on a personal level. How about dining together? You can place your laptop on the dining table and eat a meal together. You can even decide to cook (or order in) the same meals to create an even bigger sense of being in the same room.
And – conveniently – you can always mute someone when their slurping starts to annoy you (if only that was a possibility in real life…).
Something that has become very popular during the lockdowns is the online gathering for drinks. You get yourself a glass (or bottle) of wine and some of your favorite snacks and you can have an afternoon/night full of fun and laughter without leaving your couch or even having to change from your comfy PJ’s.
No worrying about who is driving, whether you’ll get home okay and where’d you leave your keys, but simply chatting away with your friends from the comfort of your own home.
Feel like dressing up anyway? No one is stopping you! My son does this as a fun surprise every now and then; he calls me to discuss something and shows up in a unicorn suit – how hilarious?!
Cocktails & Coaching
Every 2nd Monday of the month I’ll be hosting online café time! 🍷🍹
A combination of socializing, happy time and coaching!
Another activity you can do together while not being in the same room is watching a movie together. All you have to do is stream a movie simultaneously and put your laptop next to the couch so you can watch the movie together and see each other’s reaction – super fun with a horror film, I can tell you.
This removes the forcedness of dressing up nicely and participating actively in a video call and allows you to relax and do something fun together – how cozy!
3. Create your own joy
Joy is not something you simply find, it is something that you create. Same goes for online bonding; you can make something really great out of it. That’s right: you can create your own playground!
So, if you decide you’re in for more than simply chatting with your family and friends, there are some other options that will help you bond over the Internet.
First up, online gaming. There are all sorts of games that you can play online that help you to connect to your loved ones, even if you’re not physically together.
I mentioned Kahoot! as a fun alternative for a pubquiz earlier on, but there are many other types of games as well. How about online card games such as blackjack or poker? Or play well-known board games that never tire, such as Clue, Monopoly or Catan.
There are also games that provide even more of an experience, such as online Escape Rooms, in which you have to solve all sorts of riddles and puzzles to escape the room and solve its mysteries within a set timeframe (usually 60 minutes).
Amazing for those with competitive family members or as a fun way of teambuilding, don’t you think?
4. Check in with each other
It sounds so simple and, actually, it is. To be able to spark joy in online meetings and create our own (online) playgrounds, all we need to do is check in with each other.
What is it that all of us need? Do we have a hankering for fun, light games that distract us from sitting at home?
Are we yearning for deep conversations and the ability to share our frustrations? Do we crave spontaneous call-ins or do we prefer planning out an entire evening of games, talks and watching movies with friends and family?
How are we able to spark more joy?
How are we able to spark more joy? This is a question that we can ask ourselves more regularly, whether it is in a work environment or concerning our private relations.
What will help us find that connection, keep it alive and make communicating online a joy in itself instead of an obligation?
You can even create an online whiteboard with sticky notes for this and organize a ‘how to spark joy’ brainstorm (including snacks and drinks, of course).
In this way, everyone gets a say in what it is that sparks joy for them, and you create a whole list of activities to do when you feel like bonding with your family, friends, team mates or co-workers.