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Incorporate Creativity Into Your Virtual Facilitations

An argument for virtual creativity. And some tools I use to help teams connect, collaborate, and create from a distance.

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Over the past 11 months, as the world shifted to distributed work and virtual everything, we’ve found ourselves on video conferences and meetings multiple times a day and sometimes all day.  

Given that, I’ve made it my part time job to help people understand the importance of bringing creativity into virtual facilitations and virtual workplaces. I have always been enthusiastic and a bit fanatical about creativity in the workplace, but as I sit here at my dining room table, when the only place for collaboration is through a screen – it’s becomes more significant to me to share tools and processes to drive collaboration through creativity. 

Here is my argument for virtual creativity and some tools I use to help teams connect, collaborate, and create from a distance. 

We are all creative. 

As human beings, we are all creative. It is in your DNA. Even if someone does not identify themself as creative, the fact is – we are wired to create. 

And when we use creative tools to train, teach, or communicate – we are tapping into a capacity that we all have; triggering attention from everyone in the room. That attention might be enthusiasm, or minor anxiety – but either way, you have caught their attention!

We don’t all have the capacity to be an accountant (certainly not me!). We don’t all have the capacity to be good at marketing. But we all have the capacity to bring creativity and creative thinking to any role we find ourselves in.

Creativity keeps people engaged. 

No more boring Zoom meetings. Please! 

If you lead meetings –  please hear this. You cannot simply take what you would have done in an in-person meeting and do the exact same thing via a video call. It doesn’t translate well. Think about it. If you are in a room with 10 people, all 10 people are being influenced by what is happening within those four walls. Same environment, same distractions. Now, everyone is in their own environment with hundreds of potential distractions. What you need are tools and techniques that will keep people in the room with you – engaged in the content you are sharing, or even better co-creating. 

Creativity provides those tools. It’s pretty hard to not pay attention when you’re asked to sketch your teammate, look for ideas to solve problems in a photograph, or asked if you’re brave enough to do the floss!

Creativity naturally leads to collaboration. 

Creativity is limitless. And when you share your creativity, your ideas – it gives others permission to do the same. And in that collective sharing – ideas evolve and become possibilities that then turn into action plans. Utilizing creative tools at work – gives people the methodology to think and act outside their comfort zone – demystifying creativity, while generating collaborations. 

Connect through Creativity.

Finally, what we all need now is more connection. Humans by nature thrive in community. In a virtual environment, when we provide people with the space and tools to connect – they will. As leaders and facilitators, bringing people onto a virtual meeting and not giving prompts and time for connection is a huge disservice and missed opportunity. 

And finally … 

Two Tools To Incorporate Creativity Into Your Virtual Facilitations.

Visual Cues

Use: To get people to share about themselves at the beginning of a meeting. 

Step 1. Screen share 4-5 photos of random things. (ex. Tree, Boot, Door …)

Step 2. Ask participants to look at the objects and extract a characteristic that reflects how they are feeling today. 

Step 3. Have people share as part of their introduction or in small groups. 

Other Uses: This can be used for problem solving and idea generation. Pose a problem or an opportunity and ask, ‘What characteristics of these images might help us come up with ideas this challenge or opportunity?’

Speed Sketching

Use: Think with your hands for ideation. 

Step 1. Ask a question (literally any question you want answers to)

Step 2. Give participants 30 seconds to sketch an answer to the question.

Step 3. Go around and share sketches ideas outloud. 

Step 4. Repeat until all ideas are on the table – or you are laughing out loud!

*It’s important that you preface that this is not about your artistic ability. It’s the act of sketching that will draw out ideas you might not have discovered through left brain analytical thinking alone. 

If you are interested in learning more, and experiencing some of the tools I use to incorporate creativity into virtual facilitations, join me at Voltage Control’s ‘Control the Room’ Virtual Conference Feb 2-4, 2021. 

Use this link to register for 20% registration discount: https://voltagecontrol.com/control-the-room-summit?promocode=VAN_VIP 

Or, connect with me to bring my ‘Incorporate Creativity Into Your Virtual Facilitations’ workshop to your organization!

See more of our work here: http://go.worksmartadvantage.com/

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