I've been experimenting on my colleagues (sorry gang!) and I've found that video meetings go a little better when they start with a bit of mood music.
This is, of course, highly unscientific and just a little bit silly, but it is fun.
I log in to Google Meet a minute before the meeting start time and immediately share a YouTube video. Meet has this nifty ability to directly stream the audio from a tab - so I don't need to hold my microphone to my speakers.
It's a low effort way to set the tone of the meeting and have a little natter before everyone has drifted in. It's better than sitting there in silence while you wait for stragglers to join.
What I do
Early morning Monday meetings? A bit of The Bangles! Responses ranged from "CHOOOOON!" to "Who are they?" - we have a diverse age range in our team.
COP wrap up after a stressful day? Some algorithmic smooth jazz. A little cozy chat about nothing in particular while waiting for people to join.
Team retro? Retro tunes.
Random brainstorming event? Something a bit weird. Gets people in the mood for doing something different from the normal business.
End of the week impromptu discussion on important issue? Terrifyingly modern music. Much arguments about the youth of today and their moral degeneracy.
To be clear, I don't do this in every meeting - that would just be tiresome. And the music stops when the work starts. And I take requests ☺️
- Not everyone on your team may have great hearing. Find something with nice visuals as well.
- Musical tastes are subjective. Encourage others to contribute.
- Bandwidth struggles. It's a surprisingly good way for people to notice that their WiFi is playing up.
- Instrumental music was generally better received as people felt comfortable talking over it.
- Some modern music videos are a bit risqué for an office environment. A Spotify stream or lyrics video works just as well.
*sigh* Yes, probably.