The Importance of Tradition in Virtual Events!??
| By Vivien Hudson
The upcoming holiday season gives us a moment to reflect on traditions and how they can be the glue that brings families and friends together. Traditions are customs or beliefs that pass from generation to generation. Traditions have long upheld cultures and given people some certainty, even in uncertain times. Workplaces have their own sense of traditions that help instill organizational culture.
You might ask, what has this got to do with virtual presentations!!??
The world of virtual connection is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things. There is no time better than the present for organisations to create traditions that help elevate their virtual workforce.
But first ….
What is it about traditions that makes them important?
- Traditions give people a sense of belonging, certainty and an understanding of how to participate.
- Traditions give us a moment to reflect and pause on the relevance or importance of an occasion.
- Tradition provides a checklist that enables us to know what needs to be done.
- Traditions are the cement of many memories that provide ‘feeling’ – ultimately, we best remember things that connect with our emotions.
- Traditions help instill virtues and values.
Sounds like a good list to apply to organizational virtual experiences!
In the virtual world, what can we do to create a sense of tradition? Your tradition can relate to the format of meetings, how introductions are performed, celebrating performance or how your teams collaborate and connect. Traditions can be used to help bring people together, no matter where they are on the globe and create the ‘feeling’ that they matter.
So… what can we do?
Improve your virtual event engagement with the rules of traditions
1. Make them belong
Part of the joy of face to face work is the personal connection we make. These connections along with the company culture, help create that sense of uniqueness and camaraderie that comes from working side by side in the trenches.
These connections grow from the snippets of watercooler conversation where we learn about people’s lives, their likes and dislikes. The little ‘in office’ jokes that makes us laugh, the positive person down the hall who is always in a good mood, infecting everyone around them or from the respect earned from recognition and good work ethic. The biggest gap in remote work is when workers are left to feel alone and like they don’t belong – be it that they aren’t privy to these personal interactions or check ins and recognition is infrequent.
Create a tradition of virtual connection with a channel for social connection. Be it a community social media page or a group chat that is accessible to anyone who wants to participate. Have a virtual group gathering for special occasions like the holidays or the company birthday. Make it a point to recognise team members for specific effort and brainstorm with your virtual team fun ways to do it!
2. Know why you are coming together
In any virtual event, the resounding why of the gathering is best made apparent to all. Traditions in the familial sense often come with unspoken sentiment and expectations around the occasion which are built over years of repetition. For any virtual event, be clear on what the intentions are for outcomes, responsibilities and expectations. Clarity around all these things will help take away the guess work and certainly could be worth refreshing at some family gatherings!
3. The way you run an event
In face to face events, people often arrive a few minutes early and chat with their colleagues. You can do the same virtually. The moderator or facilitator can lead an ice breaker type question that everyone can have a connection to - a food conversation, weather conversation or favourite childhood memory. It could be something unique about where they live or relate to the context of the event. Make it a tradition to start your events 5 or 10 minutes early and allow for building personal connection where people can get to know and relate better to their work colleagues. However - be sure to start the official meeting on time and make that a tradition too!
Give people certainty in the event. Help them learn and know the best ways to interact and when to interact. Let them know the flow of the event by sharing agendas, pre-reading where needed and expectations for participation.
Like a face to face event, the personal connections can sometimes give us the greatest value, so be sure to let people know how they can continue the relationship too!
4. Share the values
Corporates will typically have a set of core values that drive their company culture or how they wish it to be perceived. Values such as collaboration, innovation and honesty are often included. Emulating these values virtually must reflect in the conduct from a top down approach and be reflected in all company documentation and events. Some organisations struggle with enabling effective innovation and collaboration in their remote teams. Clear understanding of virtual platform uses and expertise in facilitating collaborative discussions may be required to fully tap into the team potential – but it is possible!! Honesty also means being able to give constructive feedback which can be made more challenging without the queues of body language. Again, with effective education and the right platform tools, these discussions can be an opportunity for strong virtual team development and personal growth.
As we launch into the holiday season, use the flavour of tradition to get to know and connect to your remote people better. When people feel certainty, belonging and recognition, no matter where they are in the world, they are certain to become loyal advocates for building your desired corporate culture. If you don’t know where to start, then recruit some expertise to help. (Just like you’d ask your Mum for her secret recipe!) Happy holidays!
About the Author: Vivien Hudson
Vivien fell into the virtual world around the time she moved from Australia to the US in 2013. She has a diverse past from working in healthcare as a pharmacist and business owner to sales, coaching and brain fitness. She has led a national remote team and now works with Virtual Gurus developing virtual mastery and presence.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family of 3 kids, nature where she can unplug, cooking and reading anything that relates to EQ, connection and self-leadership.