Virtual meetings can be a highly effective way of getting your team or department together. However, both virtual and in-person meetings tend to struggle with keeping everyone engaged and focused on the tasks at hand. One way you can improve engagement is by using themes for virtual meetings to transform an everyday meeting into something less ordinary.
How Can a Virtual Meeting Benefit from Having a Theme?
Adding a theme to your next virtual meeting could have surprising benefits. Virtual meeting theme ideas are useful because they:
- Disrupt what people normally expect from a meeting. This creates a feeling of anticipation that keeps them engaged and encourages focus and participation.
- Add an element of fun that boosts creativity and makes meetings more enjoyable.
- Help people feel at ease, encouraging them to be more forthcoming with opinions.
Of course, it’s not always appropriate to introduce a theme into a virtual meeting. Themes are typically best for in-house meetings, with attendees who are used to working together or who are otherwise like-minded.
Adding a theme introduces a casual, fun element to a virtual meeting. So it’s not necessarily compatible with any situation where you want to project professionalism and competence to someone from outside the core team. Think team or departmental meetings, rather than meetings with prospective or current clients.
Virtual Meeting Theme Ideas to Consider for Your Next Virtual Meeting
Whichever virtual meeting theme ideas you end up using, make sure you set expectations appropriately. For instance, if you decide to have a working lunch meeting, everyone should know it’s a working lunch, rather than a social occasion and that they should come prepared with project updates or creative pitches.
1. Start with a Game
This is a great way to liven up the start of a meeting and increase attention and employee engagement before getting down to business. For this, you’ll just spend the first 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting on a game or activity that gets everyone involved and ready to participate. There are lots of great ice breaker games and activities that are suitable for this purpose. For instance:
- Have a show-and-tell where everyone has a 30-second spot to talk about their favorite things. You can choose the theme (like desktop accessories, coffee mugs, or songs) or let team members take turns choosing the theme at each meeting.
- Alternatively, have everyone grab a random item within arm’s reach. Then give each person 30 seconds or a minute to tell either a true or made-up story about the item. Then everyone else can guess if the story’s true or false.
- Invite attendees’ furry friends for a pets meet-and-greet! Team members with pets bring them on camera for an introduction.
2. Themed Dress
We’re not talking costumes but fun themed clothing, where everyone has some autonomy to wear what they like. Dressing up can help unlock your team’s sense of creativity, making it a great launchpad for a brainstorming session. Consider:
- A pajama party: Have everyone dress up in their favorite (appropriate) sleepwear, such as pajamas, a onesie, or Scrooge-style nightgown and cap.
- Aloha shirts: Encourage the team to break out those brightly colored, patterned shirts they normally reserve for vacation or cookouts!
- Five-minute superheroes: At the start of the meeting, give everyone five minutes to create their own superhero costume out of whatever materials they have at hand.
3. Character Study
With this virtual meeting theme idea, everyone picks a well-known character from a movie or TV show and acts the part at the meeting. Some ways to implement this could include:
- Let everyone pick their own character from any show or movie they like.
- Pick a TV show or movie before the meeting and let people choose from the cast of characters.
- Have attendees vote on which show or movie they want to use and then pick characters from the winner.
4. Open Mic Meeting
This meeting theme has your team giving quick, one-minute performances. Everyone gets a turn, including the team leader! The performance can be anything they like—a mini standup comedy routine, a poem or book reading, a musical performance, or even a quickfire TED Talk.
5. Job Swap
Getting a fresh perspective is always useful. One way to give everyone on your team a new way of looking at things, is to have everyone trade roles for the meeting. This forces people to consider ideas they normally wouldn’t think of. Make sure to include yourself in the swap, and give other team members a chance to act as meeting facilitator. You’ll benefit from looking through the eyes of your team members too.
6. Fun with Filters
Remember lawyer cat? This man became an internet sensation when he accidentally turned on a filter during a Zoom meeting and had a hard time reverting to his normal human appearance. This may be one of the easiest virtual meeting theme ideas because all you need to do is have each team member choose their own filter to turn on. They can add accessories such as sunglasses or a halo, animal ears and whiskers, and other fun options. It’s easy to set up and costs nothing, making it a great way to lighten up a virtual team meeting.
7. Team Lunch Meeting
Inviting your team to enjoy a meal together can be a great bonding experience. Make it more fun by buying takeout meals for your team—you can send everyone takeout delivery credits or gift cards ahead of time, or just set a limit of around $25 and ask them to send receipts for reimbursement.
This can be an unstructured meeting where people can chat about anything they please, or you can plan some virtual games and activities if you prefer to keep it a little more organized. You can also plan this as a working lunch, where team members deliver project updates or brainstorm new ideas.
8. Virtual Team Building
Another option for virtual meetings is to add one or more team building exercises into the agenda. You can even schedule a team building meeting and build a full agenda of fun virtual team building activities, followed by a team lunch. It’s a great way to help your team feel connected, even when they’re not together in-person.
Some options for virtual team building activities include:
- Virtual scavenger hunt: Create your own list, or use an app such as Scavify to customize a scavenger hunt list with virtual items.
- Mock Shark Tank: Divide the team into two or more groups. Give the groups five minutes (or more, if you prefer) to come up with an imaginary product and a pitch for that product. Alternatively, you can pick a product theme or type that teams can use as inspiration.
- Virtual campfire: You can organize this yourself or use a service like Tiny Campfire. This one sends a “campfire kitset” to every team member ahead of time, with matches, a candle, and ingredients for s’mores. The event package includes a host who runs the 90-minute event, with organized team building activities.
Get even more ideas for virtual team building activities here.
9. Virtual Field Trip
For this virtual meeting idea, you and your team get to go on a field trip via computer. A wide range of options has been developed over the past couple of years, but Goat-2-Meeting is still one of the best. With this one, you and your team connect with The Sweet Farm, go on a virtual guided tour, and meet some of the many animals that live there.
Making the most of a 3D, immersive virtual event template, like an island or a swanky hotel, can make attendees feel like they’re somewhere other than their homes in a way that ups their interest and engagement.
Take Your Virtual Team Meetings Up a Notch with These Fun Themes
It’s often difficult to keep remote workers engaged and focused during virtual meetings, but that doesn’t have to be the case! With these virtual meeting theme ideas in your meeting toolkit, you can inject a note of fun into your next meeting that keeps team members focused and ready to participate.
XtendLive’s 3D virtual platform makes planning online meetings easy and attending online meetings immersive. You can customize the experience or choose from one of our templates. Learn about the pros and cons of each here. And learn more about the award-winning platform here.