Fun and Games for High-Performing Teams

Create fun … and a little weirdness.

—Source: One of Zappos’ Ten Corporate Values. © 2020, Zappos Insights Inc.

Virtual meetings are very efficient.

Virtual meetings take 66% less time than face-to-face ones.

Virtual meetings cost 85% less.1

Virtual meetings impact the environment up to 90% less.

Virtual meetings are virus free.

You can eat lunch with your family or walk your dog after your meeting.

The challenge with virtual meetings is that it's very easy to spend too much time getting work done and not spend any time having fun. If your attendees are experiencing work or virtual meeting burnout, consider using fun at your next meeting to increase morale.

Fun provides stress release. Fun can help you feel vital and alive. Fun can help you have a positive attitude. Fun can help you laugh, which has many health benefits. Fun can help you build strong relationships and social support.2

The best learning is fun. When you're having fun and something good is happening, you are put into a unique state—and when you are in this state, you are more likely to remember what is happening and what you are learning. Many of these activities are designed to be fun and educational, which is what makes them so effective.

Fun is a key indicator of winning teams. I have been doing team building for over 23 years and I have been doing video analysis of team building for the past 10 years. After reviewing over 50 terabytes of data, I discovered that a common trait of winning teams is fun. Winning teams have fun. Winning teams have attendees who are enjoying themselves and the other members of their team. In contrast, losing teams are not having fun. They are usually quiet, unhappy, or mad. Go to bit.ly/evmfun to see a short video contrasting winning and losing teams around how much fun they are having.

Dave Crenshaw, author of The Power of Having Fun, shared this research on fun:

A recent Gallup survey found that only about one-third of US employees consider themselves engaged at work. This means that about two-thirds could care less—or are even hostile—about the work they're doing and the company they're working for. It's even worse outside the United States, with over 80% of employees in the disengaged category.

Yet companies with highly engaged workforces outperform competitors by 147%. Each year, Fortune magazine enlists the aid of the Great Place to Work Institute to compile The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Companies covet and seek membership to this rare group. Talk about a recruiting boost!

For all employees who work for the companies on the list, the phrase “this is a fun place to work” most highly correlated among all survey statements with this phrase: “Taking everything into account, I consider this a great place to work.” Translation: If you want a workplace that attracts and retains top talent, make it a fun place to work.

And if you want to love your work, find a way to infuse moments of fun into your day.3

I will add the caveat that your fun needs to be authentic and come from a place of psychological safety. You cannot put a fun event in a series of meetings that has serious unresolved conflict. I would suggest that you plan your next meeting to resolve that conflict first. You also cannot put a fun event into a culture that does not value fun. Make sure you meet your attendees where they are and have the goal to elevate them one or two steps higher in a way they will most likely appreciate.

If you want your virtual meeting to be engaging, look to put fun into one of your next meetings. These activities are ordered from easiest to more complicated. Start at the beginning of the chapter and look for activities later in the chapter if your attendees are looking for more variety or challenge.

Snapshot of the Hat Day at the First Engaging Virtual Meetings 3 Training.

Figure 11.1 Hat Day at the First Engaging Virtual Meetings 3 Training

Photo depicts the author John Chen declared Pajama Day after 60 days of stay-at-home orders.

Figure 11.2 Author John Chen declared Pajama Day after 60 days of stay-at-home orders.

Snapshot of a zoom meeting viewing the U S power team dance party.

Figure 11.4 US Power Team Dance Party

Snapshot of a zoom meeting viewing the 2020 APIs Singing Quarantine Karaoke Finals

Figure 11.5 The 2020 APIs Can Sing Quarantine Karaoke Finals

Snapshot of a zoom meeting viewing the silent Virtual Book Clubs Are Growing.

Figure 11.6 Silent Virtual Book Clubs Are Growing

An illustration of a world map with a caption that reads, where are you today

Figure 11.7 Where in the World Example


  1. 1   https://cmoe.com/blog/infographic-working-in-a-virtual-world/
  2. 2   https://www.verywellmind.com/the-best-stress-relief-3144573
  3. 3   https://www.tlnt.com/the-value-of-having-fun-at-work/
  4. 4   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2275285/Onesie-The-fashion-phenomenon.html
  5. 5   https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background
  6. 6   https://www.videomaker.com/article/c10/17026-how-does-green-screen-work
  7. 7   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-25/using-zoom-backgrounds-to-improve-morale-and-increase-business
  8. 8   https://www.facebook.com/help/1020633957973118
  9. 9   https://www.quora.com/When-did-karaoke-become-popular
  10. 10 https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/1700s-book-clubs-drinking-socializing
  11. 11 https://www.theeventprofsbookclub.com
  12. 12 https://mst3k.com/
  13. 13 https://www.netflixparty.com/
  14. 14 https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-have-a-zoom-dinner-if-you-miss-eating-out-with-friends-22665331
  15. 15 https://foodanddrink.scotsman.com/food/these-are-the-celebrities-hosting-the-uks-biggest-virtual-dinner-party-and-how-to-join-in/
  16. 16 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pub_quiz
  17. 17 https://bicyclecards.com/how-to-play/basics-of-poker/
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