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Coaching Education public speaking storyfinding

How to generate chit-chat in online meetings and classes

how to generate chit chat

Chit-chat is valuable. It’s how we connect with each other. It generates feelings of trust and empathy.

How do you generate chit-chat and off-topic discussions in online classes and meetings? Here are my top 6 ways.

1. Pre-game. I tell students that I show up 15 minutes before class starts. If they’d like to pop in early, they can. Usually, a few students show up. We start talking. Lately, we’ve been talking about dogs. But when others enter, they hear dog talk and join in. (Dogs have nothing to do with my class!)

2. Bio breaks. If you have to go, go! But keep the session open while you’re gone. People who don’t have to “go” can chat. (Some usually do.) When people come back, there’s a conversation in progress that extends beyond the scheduled break as people jump in.

3. Backgrounds, backgrounds, backgrounds! “Hey, what’s in your background? Why is it important to you? What do you wish was in your background?” Some interesting stories and lively back-and-forth have fallen out of simple curiosity.

4. Breakout rooms. Assign an exercise, then put people into rooms together to work. Sometimes, people get the exercise done early and chat. Other times, they come back to the main session and chat. Either way, it’s cool. We all chit-chat when we return to the main session.

5. Tell stories. To create a culture of storytelling, I like to use this simple tactic: start each meeting by asking if anyone has a good story to share. This works both online and off. It also gets people into the habit of talking in terms of story instead of data points.

6. Show and tell. Ask if anyone has a weird thing in their house that they’d like to share with the group. I’ve seen some weird things — and they always come with a little bit of a story. It seems that almost everyone has something weird laying around their home or office.

How else do you make the serendipity of chit-chat happen?

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.

Categories
communication content ideas storyfinding

Creating a culture of storytelling: 4 areas to begin your story hunt

4 places to find stories

Are you creating or nurturing a culture of storytelling at your organization?

In my storyfinding workshop, we talk about 4 areas to begin a story hunt:

1️⃣ Online reviews. Start mining online reviews. People will sometimes describe an experience they had with your company. How can you follow up to create a story?

2️⃣ Complaints + Compliments. Talk with the people on the front lines. Ask them: what’s the weirdest complaint you’ve received this month? Or try: tell me about a compliment that you didn’t expect. How can you transform the offbeat or unusual into a story?

3️⃣ Interviews + Conversations. Set out with the intention of collecting stories in your interactions with people. Say “tell me a story about a time when you faced a challenge at work” to hear a classic story about overcoming obstacles.

4️⃣ Meetings. If you want to create a culture of storytelling at your company, start with meetings. Kick off every meeting with a story — or ask someone else in attendance to do so. “Heard any good stories lately?” or “What did you learn today?” can often yield some vivid employee storytelling.

Where else can beginners look to find great stories?

Create a Culture of Storytelling at your Organization: Where to find stories


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.

Categories
communication content ideas public speaking storyfinding

4 ways to develop a culture of storytelling at your organization

How can you develop a culture of storytelling at your organization?

Four quick tips:

1. Meetings: get into the habit of starting each meeting with a story. Ask for others to share stories.

2. Contests: you might have an “employee of the month” contest: why not try a “employee story of the month” contest?

3. Channels: if you use Slack or Team, open a channel to capture and collect stories.

4. Conferences: when you go to conferences, go with the intention of collecting industry and other stories you hear.

How else do you develop a culture of storytelling at your organization?


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte