The Power of Appreciation in Virtual Events
Our modern world is designed for novelty, keeping us on the hunt for new insights, tools, and experiences. It’s rare that we go back to our tried and true resources, appreciate them again, and leverage them in new and different ways.
One of our role models, founder of the Pachamama Alliance and Soul of Money Institute, Lynne Twist says:
Sometimes the practice of appreciation is merely the act of slowing down and asking ourselves to see something familiar that we might have taken for granted in new and fresh ways. In addition, research shows that savoring experiences has incredible mental health benefits and boosts happiness.
How might we appreciate things in a new way through the practice of experience design and facilitation?
😱 #1 – REIMAGINE THE USE CASE.
As an experience designer, it is easy to fall under the pressure to always need to seek out new tools or activities for every workshop you design. However, we are firm believers that you only need to have a few tried and tested experiences under your belt to effectively adapt them to different topics and audiences. Don’t believe us? Just look at the Play on Purpose library. We love taking the same experience but giving it a new framing and different debrief questions to completely shift the use case.
For example: “Being here with you I notice…” is a Play on Purpose activity where one partner completes the sentence stem, “Being here with you I notice…” with anything they are thinking, feeling, sensing, or wondering at that moment. Their partner then typically replies by completing the sentence “Thank you. Hearing that, I notice…” with whatever is true in their awareness at that moment.
Used alone as an experience, it can be a great mindfulness practice.
However here are three other ways to appreciate this experience in a new way:
🤩 In the January Virtual Connection Lab on Failure, I leveraged the “hearing that, I notice…” sentence stem as a way for partners to empathically reflect on stories of failure that their partners shared with them.
🤩 Recently in our new Facilitation Finesse course, we used this activity as a means to take turns showing up powerfully and authentically as facilitators and relating to our audience without any content.
🤩 You also might use this as a round-robin activity with a group of 5-6 people in breakout rooms so that each person says one sentence and passes it on. In a way it becomes a collaboration exercise and/or a collective group poem!
Same activity, different use cases! The possibilities are endless!
😱 #2 – APPRECIATE THE POWER OF CONNECTING MULTIPLE TIMES.
One of our main connection principles at Scaling Intimacy is “Narrow and Deep” which refers to the fact that relationships take time and repetition to build. We often have a bias towards connecting with as many different people in the virtual room as possible. However, there is something very powerful and intimate about returning to the same breakout room as before and furthering the connection with the same partner through a new or follow up experience.
One of the benefits of Zoom is that it is so easy to relaunch the same breakout room configurations. We’ve noticed that when this happens, people get a boost of positive emotions and energy when they reconnect with someone they already know! If you are not as accustomed to do this, definitely try it out and allow your participants to reap the rewards of appreciating their partner in a new way, and deepening their connection.
😱 #3 – TAKE TIME TO APPRECIATE THE SMALL THINGS.
We’ve become so used to meeting online that we often breeze right through meaningful moments we could savor and appreciate. This is all about slowing down and appreciating the small things. Some examples might be:
⏰ At the start of the meeting: Give 30 seconds for everyone to scroll through the gallery and look at all of the attendees at the event. Take a moment to see them, witness them, even say hi nonverbally with a smile or a wave. This is a moment to recognize that all these people are connecting from all over the world because they are equally interested in the topic or connected as a team.
⏰ In the middle: Appreciate the wisdom in the room. Thank participants for their contributions, honor when they’ve shared vulnerably, recognize their opinion if it differs from the rest. It takes little time but truly helps your audience feel welcomed, appreciated, and psychologically safe to continue to speak up. One of my favorite responses when people apologize for asking a clarifying question is to say, “Thank you so much for asking that question. If it was not clear for you, most likely it was not clear for someone else. Here is what I meant…”
⏰ At the end: Instead of ending on self-promotion, take the last few minutes of your workshop to appreciate that your audience chose to spend their precious time at this online gathering with you today. You might even invite participants to share some words of gratitude in the chat for something they heard, saw, or experienced that they want to acknowledge. That little moment of appreciation can help end the session on such a high note.
In closing, we’d like to ask you: What or who might you appreciate today?🧐
Don’t wait to create a team culture that celebrates appreciation!
✨ Join our upcoming Virtual Connection Lab on March 15 at 11am PST | 2pm EST with Hannah Levinson, Facilitator and Adjunct Professor, NYU Stern School of Business and discover the power of Appreciation. ✨
In this experiential session, you will…
- Two interactive exercises to cultivate appreciation.
- Strategies to foster deeper connections and a culture of gratitude with your colleagues.
- The art of expressing appreciation for contributions in a group.
- A mindset shift to focus on the positive qualities of your coworkers.
Sign up here or click below.👇