So, it’s probably no surprise that ‘You’re on mute’ has become the most used business phrase of 2020 – often accompanied by an overly-dramatic gesture of pointing to one’s ears.

To make our virtual meetings more fun at Tribe, we sent everyone a set of a set paddle cards with some useful phrases including:

‘We can see your screen’, ‘I’ve got to get the door’, ‘I’ll be back in 2 mins’ and of course ‘You’re on mute’

Before March 2020 many of us had rarely been on a Zoom or Teams call and now they’re a daily occurrence. And not just at work, our social lives have revolved around Zoom too with virtual Sunday lunch with the family, virtual gym sessions… and in my case even virtual puppy training classes. (Yes, I was one of the 3.2 million households in the UK that got a lockdown puppy!).

While virtual meetings have allowed us to work safely at home and stay connected with our colleagues and our friends and family, our recent Post-Pandemic Culture Insight Report discovered that remote working, and an over-reliance on video conferencing to connect with people is affecting some people’s mental health and wellbeing.

We have seen the same trend for virtual delivery for the H&S culture training and coaching we do too. On one hand it’s a great way to bring teams together from all over the county (and for our global clients the world) with the benefit of no travel! On the other hand people are feeling saturated with online meetings – so it’s vital that the tools and methods we use create highly engaging virtual learning experiences that keep people interested from the start.

We’ve re-invented our online workshops by learning from the methods used by TV soap opera writers. Ever thought how they keep you hooked and coming back for more after the advert break?, Well every 6 minutes something new happens – scriptwriters call them interest tent poles.  We use the same rule, to keep people engaged, so every 6 minutes there is a short film, a poll, a break-out room exercise, a question thrown out to the room.

Our consultants have had to adjust their delivery style too. They have to use different techniques to keep the energy up and connect with people. With face-to-face group sessions, they have the benefit of social cues and the physical presence of people so it’s easier to read the room.  That’s why at the start of all our session we set the ground rules, especially asking people to keep their camera on and to close other documents (including email) to minimise distractions.

We have been getting great feedback from our clients

“In challenging times you need to find partners who are agile and ahead of the curve when it comes to finding innovative solutions. In RWE we had some key behavioural safety training that we were planning to roll out ‘face-to-face’. Due to the Corona crisis we were faced with either deferring this training or finding a new way to deliver it. Tribe answered our call, and produced a first rate product that we could deliver via a web-based platform. We have tried it already with about 30 of our senior managers with very positive feedback, and we have even decided, Corona or not, to continue to deliver the training in this form. The advantages to the business are clear – less travel, more ‘mixing’ of ideas amongst people who would not normally be in the room together etc. The great thing with Tribe is they work with you, not for you. It feels like a genuine partnership, and they have become an integral part of driving the culture of our business.”

Andy Alden, Mission Zero UK Lead, RWE

I asked my colleagues at Tribe to share their funniest moments on zoom….

And here are some:

I’m on a work call, discussing an upcoming project with the team, when a little voice pipes up in the background… ’Mummy…’ I ignore it as I am in the middle of a sentence ‘Excuse me mummy!’ very polite but louder now… hopefully he’ll realise I’m busy… ‘Mummy! Please can you wipe my bum?!!!!’ Everyone bursts out laughing!

One delegate was listening intently during a 90-minute webinar, he was very still, but every 10 minutes or so, he changed position, so I wasn’t too concerned until I announced a break and saw he was still there intently listening. Ingeniously he had created a video background made up of a series of backdrops of himself in ‘attendance’!

My online Personal Trainer got me doing a squat challenge. He said just keep going until I tell you to stop… he was staring at his watch timing me… It was sometime later that I realised his screen had frozen – as had my thigh muscles!


Share your funny ‘Zoom’ story – the best 10 stories will win a set of TRIBE’s Zoom Paddles.

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