Virtual meetings can be daunting for any of us, but for introverts especially, the experience can be anxiety-filled and frustrating. Creating a virtual team building experience that brings out the best in every member of your team is a real art, and when it comes to introverts, there are several strategies you need to know to get them involved.
Introverts are thinkers. They take time to arrive at answers because information takes a longer, more methodical trip through their brains [source: Time]. This can result in extremely thoughtful contributions to a group, but while a meeting is taking place, this longer thought process can be perceived as a lack of interest or willingness to participate. If you have an energetic group of extroverts commanding the conversation, it only exacerbates the issue. Now, consider this is all taking place in a virtual environment where members of your team may already feel less comfortable, and your introverts may seem closed off entirely.
When you want to unite your teams in the virtual space and generate meaningful contributions all around, here’s what you can do to help draw out your introverts:
Keep introverts engaged in the experience by programming fun, interactive segments. There are plenty to choose from in the virtual space from basic ice-breakers to full-on virtual experiences (e.g. virtual scavenger hunt, virtual game show, interactive songwriting). Team activities create a central goal that introverts can grab onto, and the fun-factor can draw them into the conversation more naturally.
The goal here is to get everyone interacting together, but be sure to take advantage of subgroups and breakout rooms as the smaller group size is especially beneficial when it comes to putting introverts at ease. Also, use the tools available, such as chat and virtual backgrounds to give introverts additional means by which to communicate with the group.
Design around entertainment
Put your teams at ease by building in meeting-themed entertainment segments (e.g. comedy, music, film, etc.) which enable introverts especially, to briefly ‘switch off’. This not only relieves the stress of being engaged in continual conversation, but also allows for a quick energy recharge before the next segment.
Virtual meetings and events are more taxing on our bodies than in-person interaction. “A typical video call impairs [our] ingrained abilities [to pick up on non-verbal cues] and requires sustained and intense attention to words instead” [source: National Geographic]. This effect can be especially exhausting for introverts and can inhibit their ability to meaningfully contribute. Entertainment ‘breaks’ not only allow the brain to relax but can also provide a boost of oxytocin to get everyone pumped for the next segment.
Pacing is key
A little goes a long way. To ensure the greatest engagement from introverts (and other personality types alike) be sure not to ‘over-program’ your virtual team building experiences. Plan for around 60 minutes and keep your content succinct and manageable — that is, be sure you’re giving people time to process. Remember, your people are sitting at home on screens, and although you’re together virtually, attention spans are shorter than in a live setting.
Need a little help? SongDivision’s award-winning virtual programs use interactive musical experiences to engage teams of varying personality types. We rely on music’s proven ability to strengthen relationships and heighten emotion — the same science used in our live events — to create interactive, meaningful team building experiences in the virtual space. Learn more about Virtual Meetings & Events from SongDivision and start engaging your introverts like never before.
”What a fantastic event! The participants were blown away. Your team helped our group wind down from a long business day and drew some of the more introverted participants out.” Liberty Mutual
Unite your teams virtually using music!