Every family is its own story, what role do you play in yours?

I have spoken to many clients this week who are describing morning business meetings as all but inspired. Week one, everyone was scrambling to transition to work-from-home and creating new systems, ramp up on supplies and food and creating work out plans.

Week two was all about meetings. Meetings and more meetings to discuss the what, the whys and the hows. Bosses are experiencing new challenges in managing online, and most are playing ‘operate as usual’ as to not rock the boat in fear of losing their job. This illusion of ‘safety’ in work has been shattered. Everyone is working longer hours, struggling to find work-life balance as if there is a difference anymore.

The biggest stressor I see, is that our minds and nervous systems are simultaneously trying to balance normalcy with multiple crisis levels all at once. How can we keep our business model essential, will I be fired, will they be fired, what am I having for breakfast, lunch and dinner, how can I best care for my animals, my kids needs and education, my desire for stimulation and love, breaks from my kids, growing vegetables or buying them, where to get groceries and how much, whether to worry about my scratchy throat, fighting with my partner, the list goes on, and on.

Everyone is in crisis mode.

It is important to understand that everyone is in crisis mode, even the most Zen therapists and spiritual teachers. Everyone is a bit off from one moment to the next. The reality is, that no one exactly knows how this will all play out. What if we create what is needed right now? Everyone is starving for ENTERTAINMENT, EMPATHY, WARMTH, FUN & MENTAL DISTRACTION. So how can you bring it?

Add some play to morning meetings.

Companies have been warming up to adding soft skills and emotional engagement for some time, whether it be off-site obstacle courses or inspiring speakers. Now is the time for individual contributors or team leads to spice up the dullness of online meetings. It is time to increase our Play Quotient or PQ as defined by Psychologist Stevanne Auerbach.

Ice-breaker Connection Games:

  • Weather Report: If you were a weather report, what would you be today?
  • Phrase: Say a phrase, five words or less, that describes your day yesterday.
  • Animal: What animal do you feel like today and why?
  • Group Story Telling: The facilitator starts a story by saying a sentence. It then goes in a circle, each person adding a sentence onto the story-after repeating each sentence that’s already been added. Do a few rounds and at the end, decide on a story title.
  • Play a Song: Ask someone in the group to play a mood setting song for the meeting.
  • Finish the Sentence: The best news I’ve had in the past week is… 
  • Finish the Sentence: When I was little, I thought I wanted to be…
  • Personal Skill: Name one skill you have that no one in this group knows about.
  • Finish the Sentence: The next time we meet in person, we should…
  • Needs: What do you need to get from the group today?
  • Let’s Regress: If you could be any other age, what would it be?
  • Personal Goal: What is one thing that you would like to accomplish before your next birthday?
  • Nostalgia: If you could relive one event, what would it be?
  • Daydreams: What are you likely to daydream about today?
  • Inspiring Interview: If you could interview someone for half an hour, who would it be and why?
  • Appreciations: Everyone say something you appreciate about someone in the meeting. Decide on an order.
  • Neighbor: How would your next-door neighbor describe you in two words?
  • Body Language: Using only facial expression and body language, show how you feel now?
  • Vacation: If you were going on vacation today, where would you go and why?
  • Entertainment as Self: Name a movie, book or song that describes how you felt yesterday.
  • Funny Story: Tell the group a funny or embarrassing thing that happened to you as a child.
  • Cartoon Character: What was/is your favorite cartoon character? 
  • Favorite T-Shirt Game: Ask attendees to wear their favorite T-shirt to the meeting. Ask each person to share a story about their T-shirt or how it resembles their personality.
  • Significant Object: Ask attendees to bring an object that is meaningful to them and ask everyone to share about it.

Laughter, sharing of feelings and empathy builds bonds.

There are many benefits of bringing play and fun into meetings:

  • Expression of feelings
  • Development of trust
  • Increased sense of play and spontaneity
  • Improved interpersonal and social skills
  • Practice at storytelling = good for presentation skills
  • Stress release
  • Humor and laughter
  • Feeling seen as more multifaceted, relatable and human
  • Integration of the emotional with the practical
  • Feeling connected as a team
  • Boosts self-confidence and self-esteem

Anyone can initiate these play ideas whether you are an individual contributor or team lead. Be the brave one, and experiment your way into more play and fun for online meetings. If we can’t change our circumstances, we can change how we experience it. The phrase that drives my works is to find Joy Beyond Circumstances.

If you’re not on my calendar and want to be, I am offering tele-medicine Video sessions through state of the art HIPAA compliant software. I am also offering EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing on Video. Book an online session or FREE 15 minute consultation here: https://valtate.com/

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Valerie Tate

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