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As Martha and the Vandellas and, later, Van Halen sang, “Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets!”  The USA, France, Canada, Burundi, the Solomon Islands and 21 other countries celebrate their independence this month.   All these festivities are a good reminder that, as managers, we should also celebrate the achievements of our projects, teams, or organizations. Showing appreciation for accomplishments goes a long way to building team spirit and improving morale.

Celebrating in-person is easy to organize; virtual celebrations are a bit harder to make a success. With a little advanced planning and creativity, however, you can make your virtual party a smash.  Here are some creative ideas for how to have a more engaging virtual celebration:

  1. Trivia quiz: This works well for project completion celebrations.  Ask questions related to the project history.  The simplest way to do this is to ask participants to raise their hands if they know the answer to the question.  Score 1 for the first right answer.  A more fun way, but which takes advanced preparation, is to  create an interactive game using a system like Kahoot!  Participants select their answers from their mobile phones and get points based on the accuracy and speed of their answers.  Consider giving a small prize for the winner.
  2. Surprise gift:   For smaller teams, sending a surprise gift so it arrives just before the party can boost morale.  One project manager sent her team members hand-painted, personalized coffee mugs.  While most of us might not have the talent, time, or resources to hand paint and send mugs, even a gift card to a nearby café or to Amazon will make people happy.
  3. Guest of honor interviews: This works well for good-bye parties, if you have less than 15 people on the call.  Use the last 30-45 minutes of the call to do “spot interviews” of the guest of honor.  Each person on the call asks the guest of honor one non-work-related question, like “What is your favorite type of food?” or “What is one thing you are going to start doing once you retire?”  This gives some structure to the call and draws more personal connections between team members, as they react to the responses with comments like “Oh!  I like that too!” or “If you liked X, have you tried Y?”

Finally, remember that online parties cannot work as autonomously as in-person parties because you can only have one person speaking at a time.  The key is to find ways to encourage serial conversations rather than just letting everyone talk on top of one another.  Finally, remember to keep your online party to no more than 2 hours to respect others’ time constraints.

Looking for more ideas for how to make your team or organization more productive?  Contact Comprehensive Learning Solutions to learn more about our team training options.

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