As we spend so much time now in online video meetings, it feels like we’ve been compressed into disembodied heads, floating in the flat, constrained world of our computer screens! I always feel better when I can get outside for a walk or bike ride, or do any kind of physical task like gardening, yard work or cooking.
But how can we bring some sense of that relief into our online sessions? My suggestion is hand-made templates! Something hand-made brings a little bit of humanity and fresh air into the very glossy world of Zoom and PowerPoint. I find the wobbles and imperfections of a hand-made drawing revitalizing.
My first idea is to use a template as a check in. Here’s one I made…Send this in advance, and take a few moments at the beginning of the session to have people grab a marker and color in the icon that illustrates their state of mind (or write / draw their own in the lower right corner). Then, everyone can do a quick check in as they hold their template up to the camera.
Another idea is to use a template, like this one, for individual reflection. You can give people some time to step away from their laptop, grab a few colored pens or pencils and engage in some analog moments of creativity to revitalize themselves, and to digest what they’ve been hearing.
And, of course it’s always helpful to have templates in breakout groups, even online. If you send them out beforehand, the scribes in each breakout can work on paper copies, and then snap a quick photo and upload back to you. You could consolidate all the templates into one visual for a large group debrief, or each team could speak to their template as it’s shared onscreen.
Now I’ll drop the gauntlet –– I’d like to encourage YOU to make those templates for the breakouts.
Remember, these templates can be super simple! Just your handwriting and a few simple shapes is good enough. The fact that they’re not a Google doc or a PPT template is what will make people pay attention. And, especially if you’re inviting people to think innovatively, the fact that you hand made a template shows you’re modeling that approach!
I look forward to hearing how it works for you!
(PS) My online class is coming soon! I’m super excited to share with you the landing page for it, here. On that page you’ll find a free 3 min video lesson about drawing circles, so when you need a drawing break, check it out!