How to turn the start of a hangout or a meeting into a deeper conversation

Image for post
Image for post

Out of all the buzzwords that are gradually starting to sneak their way from “conscious culture” to the mainstream, by the channels of Brene Brown and meditation and curious HR departments, one of the main ones that everyone now seems to know is the “check-in”.

As in, “It’s time to start. Let’s check in.”

Or, “Can we have a check-in?”

Or, “Wtf is a check-in?”

A check in or check-in is a request for someone to share their current feeling-state. It can be done anytime…


Image for post
Image for post

For the last 10 years, I’ve been obsessed with community.

When I say obsessed, I mean that I have an undergraduate degree with a 250-page thesis in “Intentional Living Communities” (thanks to a create-your-own-obscure-focus Humanities program), and have spent most of my working years helping found or resource more than 80 communication communities on 6 continents. Proof: I’m into this.

In recent years, as the topic of “community” has grown from Robert Putnam Bowling Alone in the book aisles into countless worldwide bestsellers, I’ve realized that a) I was right about what’s cool, and b) not many people seem to…


Hey friends.

I am writing this post as a very unofficial, personal-experience public service guide. Having experienced gaslighting several times, both intentionally and unconsciously perpetrated, I wanted to write out a guide to help others who might be in this situation.

This guide covers:

  • Noticing the symptoms of being gaslit,
  • Choosing what to do about them,
  • AND how to recognise if you yourself are unintentionally lighting that fire.

Please read the introduction for context — at least the next two paragraphs — and then, if you want, you can skip the personal part and go to the User Guide.

Image for post
Image for post


Let’s face it. We’re all just boxes on screens.

I’m getting used to a new reality. When I open up my computer, my living room is invaded by a hundred tiny universes. It’s a whole different social scene, and set of rules.

  • Do I take the call in my work-clothes, or my PJs? In my office or my garden?
  • Do I go on speaker view, so I don’t get overwhelmed, or gallery view, so I don’t miss all the group cues?
  • When is it my turn to talk?
  • Did anyone notice that I’ve been on Facebook for half the meeting?

The world has changed, my friends. “That one guy…


Image for post
Image for post

I am a bleeding heart liberal.

I like helping. I teach empathy. I am skilled at putting myself into other people’s shoes, and it’s a reflexive action most of the time. I believe that putting in the effort to feel with and care about other people is necessary for the interdependent world in which I want to live.

So why — despite this attitude, despite my empathy training, despite my affluence — why, when I see a homeless person on the highway, do I turn my head away?

Maybe I am the worst of the liberals: the ones who bleed…


This is part of a series of Zoom Connection Games that Sara is working on. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series for technical details on running connection events over Zoom, and Part 3 for facilitation tips and the first few games.

The entire guide, with all these posts plus 24 pages of connection games, is now available by donation here.

— — —

Directions to the Group should be said by the facilitator. Feel free to modify that script as you like.

Chat Instructions should be posted in the group chat before starting play.

Some Broadcast…


This is part of a series of Zoom Connection Games that Sara is working on. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series for technical details on running connection events over Zoom, and Part 3 for facilitation tips and the first few games.

The entire guide, with all these posts plus 24 pages of connection games, is now available by donation here.

— — —

Directions to the Group should be said by the facilitator. Feel free to modify that script as you like.

Chat Instructions should be posted in the group chat before starting play.

All games…


This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. Parts 1 and 2 are more technical:
Part 1, The Introduction and Preparation of Events
Part 2, Starting and Managing the Event
Part 3 covers the Programming and Facilitation of events, and includes a few connection games to try!

The entire guide, with all these posts plus 24 pages of connection games, is now available by donation here.

Image for post
Image for post

Programming and Facilitation

  1. What makes a great event?
  2. Creating the flow of activities
  3. Setting up activities
  4. Using demos
  5. Connection exercises

What makes a great event?

Is it a great facilitator? A great group? Great space? …


This is Part 2 of a 3-part guide on using Zoom for connection events.
Part 1, The Introduction and Preparation of Events
Part 2, Starting and Managing the Event
Part 3, the Programming and Facilitation of events, plus connection games to try!

The entire guide, with all these posts plus 24 pages of connection games, is now available by donation here.

Image for post
Image for post

Starting Events

  1. Semi-Awkward Social Time
  2. Setting context
  3. Introductions

Managing the Event

  1. Chat
  2. Breakout rooms
  3. Troubleshooting

Starting

You’ve set up your event. People are beginning to arrive, one screen after another popping into the main room. It’s a bit of a…


This is Part 1 of a 3-part guide on using Zoom for connection events.
Part 1, the Introduction and Preparation of Events
Part 2, Starting and Managing the Event
Part 3, Programming and Facilitation of Events, plus connection games to try!

The entire guide, with all these posts plus 24 pages of connection games, is now available by donation here.

Image for post
Image for post

Introduction

Welcome to the Video Connection Facilitators’ Guide! This was created for anyone running connection events over Zoom, although much of the information can be used for general Zoom events or general connection events. …

Sara Ness

I am an instigator of authenticity, ninja of connection, and awkward turtle of social situations. www.authrev.org

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store