Recognizing individuals and our team as a whole lifts moods, acknowledges efforts, and strengthens our relationships. When working remotely, we need to be creative about our celebrations.
I recently had two Zoom calls where we celebrated someone on the call by creating a card for them right before their eyes. It was a fun and cheerful activity for all involved and it provided a PDF card that could be saved or printed.
As a bonus, it was really easy to do.
The Process to Create Virtual Cards
In order to do this, you need to be on a platform that allows people to annotate. I used Zoom. If you have Zoom, you can find the annotation tools under the menu at the top of the screen called “View Options.” If you don’t see it, you will have to go into your settings and turn on the annotation.
All you have to do is set up a whiteboard or a slideboard. A slideboard is a slide with a table big enough for each person to have their own “box” in the table. If you have 12 people, as we did, you will need a 4x3 table. A 3x2 table works great if you only have 6 people.
During your meeting, pull up the whiteboard or slideboard with the table and ask each person to select a box and write or draw a message to the person the card is being created for. That person can watch and enjoy the process as they see a card being created before their eyes. Then, be sure to click “Save” and the PDF of the final card lives on forever!
The first time I used this was when we wanted to honor a leader who was going to be moving to another team within the organization. While her team had planned a virtual party at another time, we used this simple engagement to surprise her during the last five minutes of her last full team staff meeting.
Here is an example of the blank slideboard before they annotated on the card:
And, here is the final card they created for that leader (who did give me permission to share this):
The second time I used this was on a Happy Hour call where one of the group members had a birthday. We created a birthday card for her while she played in the first box.
A third way I've used this is to make a card for a colleague who wasn't feeling well. We created a card to let her know we were thinking about her.
Here are some tips to help you successfully facilitate virtual cards team building activity:
- Be sure you are very familiar with how to use annotation tools.
- Give clear directions as you explain to the team where to find their annotation tools, how to use them and where to draw.
- If this is the first time they are using the annotation tools, give them a page to practice on before they start making the card.
- Create your slide board or set up your whiteboard with the dividing lines ahead of time.
- Consider putting names in the boxes so everyone knows where to go.
- Encourage them to have fun and not worry about making it look perfect, it is hard to make it beautiful using annotation tools. And sometimes “ugly” is funny and charming. 😊
- Be sure to have them sign their names in their boxes (unless the boxes already have their names in it), so everyone knows who wrote what.
There are so many fun ways to apply this. I recommend making it a birthday tradition with your team. You can also use it to celebrate Employee of the Month or any other special occasion.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and Forward, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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