When COVID / Coronavirus hit hard in Australia and our physical BBQs across Australia had to be put on hold, we could have been in a potentially precarious situation.
However, we were fortunate enough to have started to build an online community and experiment with some online and video delivery a few months before, so we quickly turned the switch to "Online BBQs".
The experience has brought constant learning, and although you cannot replace the connection created by face-to-face interaction, we have reflected on what has worked for us when hosting a group online chat:
- Don't stress (easier said than done, we know), treat it as a normal conversation you'd have in the coffee shop / pub
- Have a couple of topics / themes to bring up just in case / when the conversation goes off course wildly, but, having said that, keeping the natural conversation is key so let it flow if its helpful
- Make a point of saying hello to everyone as they enter or calling them out for a quick introduction, but balance that with also knowing that some are introverts and just want to listen in for company
- Lots of smiling, banter / laughter helps if you have someone like that in the call you can encourage to lead
- Just literally being there as company, even virtually, is priceless
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