When your team is working together in a Gather office, it becomes much easier to strike up a conversation by walking up to someone's desk or bumping into them in the virtual hallways. No meeting required!
Sometimes scheduling a formal meeting is necessary, however, especially if you need to discuss, decide, or debrief something with several people on your team.
One of the benefits of hosting virtual meetings on Gather is that you can move around a digital Space. You can see meetings happening around you, giving you more visibility and flexibility for engaging in conversations with your colleagues.
To help you hold more productive and enjoyable meetings, we wanted to highlight some of the incredible meeting formats we’ve seen while visiting Gather offices and a few we’ve tried ourselves!
8 inspiring ideas for your next meeting on Gather
1. Hold a fishbowl meeting
A fishbowl meeting has two layers: The inner circle and the outer circle. The inner circle includes people participating in a conversation, while the outer circle includes people listening to a conversation. If someone leaves the inner circle, someone new can take a seat to join the conversation.
The Lemontech team showed us their version of this. Instead of a literal circle or multiple layers, they use the colors of the chairs around their table to set up the same structure. Anyone at the white, black, or blue chairs can participate in the conversation. Anyone in the red chairs is simply there to observe.
“Normally, remote attendants have more difficulty expressing their ideas, which translates into increased frustration, anxiety and ultimately decreased engagement in our activities.
Gather has allowed us to effectively address this issue.
By having a virtual space that we can modify at will, we can apply facilitation techniques as if we were all in a physical space.” – Andrey Aranguiz, Lemontech
2. Run an Approve/Disapprove exercise
This meeting format is great for a variety of situations, but two of our favorites are decision-making and as an icebreaker with your team. Sometimes referred to as “Split the Room,” this is an engaging exercise for learning what your team is thinking, whether that’s business decisions like “Should we approve this roadmap?” or important questions like ”Does pineapple belong on pizza?”
This example comes from Komponent Works. It’s a room they built for the Twoplus team to use during Icebreaker and Retro exercises. They typically have someone facilitate the question(s) asked during the session while everyone moves their avatars back and forth across the room to answer.
“Being able to move around and have this spatial element to a team meeting, workshop or activity really is where Gather really shines.” Louis, founder of Twoplus.
3. Create a debate space
Whether you actually need to debate something with your team or simply want to use this meeting format as an icebreaker, creating a debate table is a fun way to encourage a healthy argument.
Based on which side of the table someone sits on, this correlates to the side of the debate they should argue for. This might be the side they’re actually in favor of, or it could be random – sparking creative conversation!
4. Get to know your co-workers with speed dating
By setting up a row of tables for two in your Gather office, you’re creating the perfect place for a round of speed dating! This can be a great way to introduce new hires to members of the team, or a fun icebreaker during retreats.
You’ll want to have someone facilitate this session, announcing when one side of the room should move to the next chair. You can do this with the Spotlight feature in Gather. This will allow one person to be able to speak to the entire room, while the individual conversations take place at their own private tables.
Bonus tip: When you’re not running an official speed dating session, these tables for two make great 1:1 spots!
Or for an easier way to run this type of meeting, you can check out Speed Gathering, an Experience available in Gather Templates.
5. Reflect with a “Rose, Bud, Thorn” room
This one comes again from the Komponent Works team as something they created for Twoplus. The Rose, Bud, Thorn icebreaker is a creative way to reflect with your team and share what’s on your mind, based on the visual prompts.
As you move from room to room, here’s what your discussion would sound like:
- Rose: What was beautiful, or what went well? What are you excited about or proud of?
- Bud: What’s blooming soon, or what’s on the horizon? What’s something upcoming that you’re looking forward to?
- Thorn: What hurts right now, or what’s difficult for you? And how can the rest of us help?
While you could technically run this exercise without the physical space, it adds an extra layer of engagement to physically move from one topic to the next. The prompts on the screen help keep everyone focused, and the artwork is a nice touch to keep everyone in the reflective headspace.
6. Bring everyone together in “All hands” or Town Hall
One of the most important meetings your startup likely holds is your All Hands or Town Hall. Typically this is a meeting that involves the entire company. With apps like Zoom, it can be difficult to actively engage everyone on the call.
Whether you use one of the All Hands templates or create your own, here are a few of our best recommendations to make the best use of this Space:
- Add tables so people can “sit together.” One of the benefits of Gather is that the conversation can continue after the official meeting ends. By adding these areas, you’ll encourage people to linger and collaborate after coming together for All Hands.
- Embed important docs into objects throughout the Space. For example, in the Gather All Hands room for our own all-company meeting, we have a Q&A form linked on signs throughout the room. This ensures everyone can easily pull up important links, without having to scroll back through chat or Slack to find them.
- Use the Spotlight Tile. This acts as your microphone, so your All Hands speakers can address everyone in the room. Spotlight Tiles will be automatically included if you use the All Hands template, or you can add it to your custom Space via the Mapmaker.
7. Tackle lots of topics with a “World Cafe”
This meeting format is particularly great for team retreats or virtual offsites. The concept is simple: Each table is focused on a single topic. To participate in the conversation, employees move around the room and sit at the table with the topic they’d like to discuss.
To encourage people to move around, you may set a timer and prompt employees to switch to a new table after 10 minutes, or you could have a facilitator walk around and manually “tap” people out.
No matter how you facilitate it, all you need in your Gather office to pull this off are a few tables, chairs, and maybe some labels on each table so everyone knows the topic associated with it. You may also want to consider having a Spotlight tile close by, so your facilitator can address everyone.
8. Ditch the meeting for casual coworking
Need a space that’s less of an actual meeting room, and more of virtual coworking? Create an area that’s more casual than a table and chairs. Take our own Customer Experience team, for example. You’ll often find them in the Gather office sitting around this relaxing koi pond.
They don’t use it for scheduled meetings, but rather as a place for casual conversations and coworking together. Creating space like this is a great way to stay connected to remote teammates outside of meetings.
Pro-tip: Have teammates concerned about too much chatter in the coworking spaces? We also have a quiet library area that’s meant for coworking with less conversation. It helps teammates stay connected and achieve that sense of presence with their team, but keeps distractions to a minimum for more focused work.
Create more dynamic meetings on Gather
Now that you’ve seen some inspiring examples of meeting formats you can hold on Gather, it’s time to create your own!
We’ll leave you with a piece of advice from Elias, a Game Designer at Komponent Works who helped with the Approve/Disapprove and Rose, Bud, Thorn spaces.
“Scale is definitely something to keep in mind when building Gather spaces. Most of the time you want things smaller than you imagine because it is no fun to run around a ginormous space looking for the two or three other people in it.” – Elias, Game Designer at Komponent Works
To learn more about using the Gather Mapmaker to customize a Space, check out this guide.
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