• Richard Burner

How to Make Virtual Meetings Fun!

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Virtual Meetings are the core modern businesses. You meet clients, coworkers, vendors, and many others virtually. But at times it is challenging to keep the meetings fun. This article will walk you through a couple of ways to make virtual meetings fun.

The top ways to make virtual meetings fun are:

  • Starting Meetings with an Ice Breaker Question

  • Ask a Lateral question during the meeting when engagement doesn't seem to be as engaged

  • Play a fun virtual Game

Virtual Ice Breakers

  • Where are you joining us from?

  • Set a Background Challenge

  • Set a predefined theme - or cause

  • Ask everyone to set a custom background image that represents the theme or cause and give them 1 minutes to explain their image

  • How would you describe…?

  • Ask an open ended question and let the stream of consciousness come out

  • Team trivia quiz

  • Ask trivia questions for your team members

  • Random Questions

  • What’s the most useless thing you have in your home?

  • What would your superpower be if you had one?

  • What one thing should everybody stop doing right now?

  • What’s one song or artist that you’re embarrassed to admit you like?

  • Give everyone a chance to present a “Two Truths and one lie”

  • Group story

  • You give everyone 30 seconds to start telling a story, and one by one everyone adds to the story

Start Meetings with a Lateral Question

confused emoji displayed on phone

The term “lateral thinking” was coined in 1967 by physician and inventor Edward de Bono, to describe a kind of out-of-the-box reasoning and critical analysis of scenarios that call for more than just typical step-by-step logic to solve. Lateral thinking is related to creative problem solving and critical thinking, all valuable skills to have, and applicable to more than just creative or scientific endeavors.

So how do you improve your creative problem solving skills? Simply review the lateral thinking questions in this guide and refer to the very end of the article for answers. When we examine lateral thinking questions and scenarios, we’re forcing our minds to think critically about things that we might otherwise dismiss or fail to understand completely. In these challenges, our critical thinking strengthens.

Think about what we learned above as you consider the lateral thinking questions below. Each question will have a corresponding answer at the end of this article, where we’ll briefly explain how the thinking required to solve each scenario is uniquely “lateral.”

  • Someone falls out of a thirty story building, but lives. With luck and their landing pad not being factors, how could they have survived the fall?

  • There are a dozen eggs in a carton. Twelve people each take a single egg, but there is one egg left in the carton. How?

  • A boat has a ladder that’s ten feet long, and hangs off the side of the boat, with its last two feet submerged in water. If the ocean tide rises five feet, how much of the ladder will be underwater?

  • There are ten birds perched on a fence. A farmer aims his rifle and shoots one. How many birds are left?

  • What weighs more – 100 pounds of feathers, or 100 pounds of quarters?

  • Which countries have the 4th of July out of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and Canada?

  • If you were alone in a dark cabin, with only one match and a lamp, a fireplace, and a candle to choose from, which would you light first?

Fun Games and Challenges

game on dice
  • Freeze! It is hard to have a video call go without someone’s screen freezing in an awkward position. Turn this sad reality into a game by trying to fool each other into thinking you’re frozen. Stop mid-sentence in an awkward position and hold it. If someone says, “Looks like John is frozen”— that is a point for you! Did your coworker’s screen freeze in an awkward position? Take a screen capture or a photo and keep a team collection of Best Awkward Freezes!

  • Word of the day. At the start of each meeting, pick a word of the day such as “cucumber.” See who can slip the word into the conversation without others noticing: “I really think that if we cucumber the system with a little extra investment, everything will work much faster.” If you catch someone using the word… yell, “word of the day!” (Bonus: It might also keep the team more focused on what is being said.)

  • Home office scavenger hunt. If all your people are working from home, organize a rapid-fire home office scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of three to five items using the list below for ideas. Tell everyone you are about to run a home scavenger hunt. Next mention an item and see who can get back to their computer with it the fastest. Reward one point for having an item and a bonus point for getting back first.

  • Rosemary

  • Piece of athletic equipment

  • T-shirt of a band/from a concert

  • Baby picture

  • Old piece of tech (phone, Walkman, etc.)

  • An expired item of food from your pantry (bonus to the person with the most expired item.)

  • Currency from another country

  • Your favorite book

  • What Changed? Have everyone on your team pick an object like a little troll or book they have in their home office. Before each call, have people move the object to a different location within the camera’s view. See who can spot the change. Another version is to have people turn off their cameras for 30 seconds and change one thing in their office. After, ask people to guess what change was made.

  • Have you ever (remote work themed). With a few tweaks, this typical party game can be a great way to trigger laughs on your virtual team. If you have never played Have You Ever, it’s pretty simple. One person asks a question to the group, for example, “Have you ever faked a bad connection to get off a conference call?”

  • Gone to the bathroom while on a call?

  • Stopped paying attention then got asked a question and faked your answer?

  • Piled things under your desk and out of sight to look like your office was cleaner than it was?

  • Forgotten a call completely until the host called you?

  • Fallen asleep while others were talking?

  • Watched a full show on YouTube or Netflix while on a call?

  • Lied about having a bad signal to justify not using video because you were somewhere you were not supposed to be?

  • Done laundry or cooked a meal while on a call?

  • Tuned in. Have everyone write “Tuned In” on a piece of paper and keep on their desk. When you feel like people are not paying attention, hold the “Tuned In” sign up to your webcam. Last person to get their sign up is “it” and has to either answer a question about themselves or another challenge of your choosing! Not only will it bring attention but laughs as well!

  • Dress up day. Try Sunglasses Day, Fancy Hat, Black Tie, or Band T-Shirt Day. Bring out a few laughs by picking a fun dress code for your next meeting! Surprise your team by randomly showing up to a video call in costume!

These are the answers

  • The person fell out of the first-story window. A critical thinker might try to identify possible landing pads that would allow survival of a thirty-story fall, but the lateral thinker will realize that the story did not specify what floor the person fell out of. They can safely, within the logic of the story, conclude that the person fell out of a ground floor window.

  • The last person took the carton with the egg inside. This question challenges our ability to break outside of patterns, and introduce concepts not provided in the context of the story. Since everyone else in the story takes a single egg, the last person taking the whole carton is a new, but not impossible, scenario that the lateral thinker must conceive.

  • Two feet. If the ocean rises, so will the boat, and the amount of ladder under the water will remain the same. A critical thinker might be tempted to work out the math in this obvious trick question, but a lateral thinker will spot the attempt at misconstruction.

  • One – the dead bird that the farmer shot. This is another trick question. Some people might want to answer seven, since the farmer only shot one bird, while others might want to twist the story and suggest the farmer indirectly killed the others while just firing a single bullet. The correct answer is one, because after the farmer fires a single shot, the other birds fly away, startled.

  • One – the dead bird that the farmer shot. This is another trick question. Some people might want to answer seven, since the farmer only shot one bird, while others might want to twist the story and suggest the farmer indirectly killed the others while just firing a single bullet. The correct answer is one, because after the farmer fires a single shot, the other birds fly away, startled.

  • They all have the 4th of July. This question is a trick that will likely work only on Americans, since in the United States, the “4th of July” is a holiday also known as Independence Day. Their first train of thought when hearing “4th of July” will likely equate it with the holiday, making the easy answer “the United States.” Really, all countries “have” the 4th of July, since it’s just another day on the calendar.

  • You would light the match first. Without it, you couldn’t light any of the other appliances. This is another question that encourages the thinker to break free of assumed patterns and think outside the box.

So the three main ways to keep a meeting fun are to use icebreaker questions to get the meeting started, to use lateral questions during the meeting, and to play some fun games during the meeting. We recommend using only one technique at a time to not be overwhelming. And we also recommend considering the audience in the meeting. You may want to have a more “professional” demeanor during client calls, and more silly and entertaining options for your internal team.

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