Acknowledgments

A book is the distilled knowledge of an author into approximately 300 pages. While a book shows an author's name, it takes a team to do the hard work and energy of distilling. I acknowledge my amazing team.

Pre-2000, I imagined a world where you could do virtual team building. In 2000, we formed VirtualTeamworks.com; despite big interest, nobody bought. In 2011, I became the author of 50 Digital Team-Building Games. In 2020, the coronavirus impacted the world. Zoom expanded from 10 million users to 300+ million users.1 Microsoft Teams grew 37% in one week to 44 million users.2 It is as if more than the entire US population moved online in just two months.3 It is April 25, 2020, as I write these acknowledgments. Now, suddenly everybody is interested in virtual!

I have been practicing engaging virtual meetings for over 35 years, from playing Atari video games with friends to building the Association for Computing Machinery club online at the University of California at Santa Barbara to forming the “Dudes” (non-gender-specific Dudes) at Microsoft ([email protected]) to hooking up the first webcams at the Association for Experience Education (AEE) to presenting at the Association for Talent Development conference to running the first geocaching (geocaching.com)-based team-building program for Adobe in 2001 to using our Geoteaming app to run over 200 programs in a year to running my entire company on Sharepoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Office, and Bookings to running our team meetings and customer meetings on Zoom since 2016.

I live in Seattle, Washington. On March 6, 2020, as reports of the coronavirus started to emerge, I decided to launch a new virtual training program to help people who were working from home. The class was a hit. With help from people like Jennifer Clifton who posted on LibraryJournal.com,4 I conducted multiple training courses for engaging virtual meetings. I have been practicing 35 years for this moment, so I was able to navigate online swiftly. I was able to create order out of chaos. I was able to get work done. I was able to create emotional safety to handle the stress. I was able to teach others.

Let me say that again: “I was able to teach others.” My friends went on to form happy hours to reunite communities and families. My clients were able to teach virtual team building in countries like Slovenia, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia who were all having the same stay-at-home experience. My coach was able to save a dying online meeting that was celebrating an American military family member. My girlfriend was able to get even more work done with a top cancer research company. My client was able to take a 200-person mission-critical four-day face-to-face conference for a Fortune 100 company online successfully.

And I can teach you. I acknowledge you for getting and opening this book. I acknowledge you for having the desire for engaging virtual meetings. I acknowledge you for the time and energy you invest in this book and related material. I acknowledge you for having the courage to be a leader of positive change in your community. I acknowledge that I want you to get at least a 10× return on your investment in this book. I want to know you personally. I want you in my community.5 I want to hear your story of creating greatness where you are. I want to hear of your amazing team results. I want to write about you in my next book. I want to hug or high-five you when it is possible again. I know the only way we beat this virus is with teamwork. I know the only way we survive as a species is through teamwork. I acknowledge you and your part.

I would like to acknowledge the many people who made this book happen. You will see that I attribute many of the initiatives to people all around the world who helped me. I crowdsourced the title of this book with over 100 people. I have tested and provided video clips of every initiative so you can see them in action. I have many readers of the book who are the best spelling and grammar police I have ever met. I acknowledge each of you; this book would not be the distilled knowledge it is without each of you.

Thank you to:

Alicia Ellen, Allison Kundel, Ananda Ybarra, Angel Hanson, Ann Kelley Humes, Anne Chen, Ashley Vandermeyden, Ben Kenyon, Beth Assaf, Beth Hughes, Bethany Freeman, BJ Stewart, Brad Cochrane, Brian Calvert, Bryan Roth, Caitlin Allen, Carissa Zenorini Hobbs, Carole Newton McManus, Carolyn Rettberg Browning, Carrie Zimmerman, Catherine M. White, Cathy Mason, Charva Brown, Chewie Wicket O'Quinn Cummings, Chris Saeger, Christie Crystal, Christine Clacey, Christine Wagg, Connie Baker, Crystal Wang, Cynthia Clay, Daniel Green, David Ford, Debbie Ann Schneider, Deniz Senelt Kalelioglu, Devin Stubblefield, Dina Phinney, Don Jones, Donna Cunningham, Ed Cohen, Fei Chua, Gerie Ventura, Gil Peretz, Godwell Khosa II, Heather Zrubek Forteith, Ian Arvin Ortega, Irma Bacho Suntay, Jack W. Peters, James Bishop, Jan Keck, Jana Victoria White, Janet Roberts, Jegatheeswaran Manoharan, Jen Gonyer-Donohue, Jen Graves, Jen Poyer, Jennifer Nance, Jessica Levin Sullivan, Jim Krotz, Joanna Grillo Darmanin, Jo-Anne Rockwood, Jody Lee, Julie Rocks, Julie Watne Hall, KC Frankenburger, Keristian, Larry G. Jones, Laura Schlegel Kagle, Lien Ngu, Lori Finn, Maggie Barr, Marc Ryser, Marguerite Berry, Mary Ann Wethington Cunningham, Mary de la Fe, Matthew Donegan-Ryan, Michelle Cummings, Michelle Turner, Naomi Tucker, Nicole Donnelly, Nicole Kaup, Paula Johnson and her husband, Penny Laine, Perry Lam, Ping Liao, Priomz Karlin, Ramona Ridgewell, Sheila Schneider, Shelby Sewell, Stefania Contri-Vecchi, Stephen Koch, Suk Wai Tham, Syed Nurul Afsar, Tanya Phillips, Tawna Renee Pangborn, Terry Onustack, Tracy Stuckrath, Trevor Lui, Tricia Hartley Simmons, Trishann Couvillion, Valary A Oleinik, Vicki Allgood, Wanda Colon, Ziva Grgic, and Zoe Omega.

Special thanks to my oldest sister, Ruth Chen Knipe. She completed the first draft review to help me make my book deadline. Ruth has been helping me ever since I was born. Thank you, Ruth—I love you so much; thank you for helping me learn how to be so engaging in this world.

Final thanks to all of my friends who help create psychological safety for me and others. In a virtual meeting I was invited to, my mentor, Ed Cohen, created a space safe enough for an attendee to write a poem and share it with a large group. This person was clearly uncomfortable but felt safe enough to share. It became the most engaging part of this meeting as we watched this person's bravery. I hope this book helps you create these high-engaging moments.

Notes

  1. 1   https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/23/21232401/zoom-300-million-users-growth-coronavirus-pandemic-security-privacy-concerns-response
  2. 2   https://www.geekwire.com/2020/microsoft-teams-hits-44m-users-huge-37-growth-spike-1-week-amid-remote-work-surge/
  3. 3   https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/us-population/
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