My husband and I wanted a long-weekend destination wedding in Maine where we could enjoy lots of time with our families and friends. We wanted it to be nice, but we decided on a tight budget, so we went for the DIY option, borrowing what we needed and asking guests to take on a job or two.
My aunts in wedding-planner-style ran the schedule keeping everyone on track. My husband’s friend, who is super good on his feet, served as the MC. My sister burnt all the songs we needed to a CD. My step-mom arranged beautiful flowers. Jeff’s sister took pictures. Friends ran out for a case of insect repellent when we realized how many mosquitoes wanted to attend too. One way or another, nearly every one of our 50 guests was drafted into service, and we noticed an unexpected benefit.
People who didn’t know each other were friends by the end of the weekend. There was something about giving everyone a job that made it easier to connect and feel more comfortable. It was fun to see my college friends chatting with my work friends and my high school friends laughing with Jeff’s cousins.
When we hosted in-person events and conferences, there were lots of micro-volunteering roles. Members staffed the registration desk, held signs, and welcomed attendees. Now that we are online, there are new roles to dole out.
- Chat welcomer – people whose job it is to personally welcome first-timers and other attendees by name.
- Chat prompter – people who are tasked with asking attendees provocative questions in the chat.
- Chat cheerleader- people who are tasked with raising up great ideas in the chat and +1ing interesting thoughts.
- Chat deep diver – people who are tasked with identifying chat comments which may have important implications and prompting attendees to riff on the idea for a bit.
- Verbal animator – people who are starting the conversation and breaking the ice during small group breakout groups.
- Verbal cheerleader – people who have the job of strategically jumping in to cheer on great ideas and brave actions during small group breakouts.
- Physical cheerleader – people who have been asked to give thumbs up, silently clap, do jazz hands, and jump up and down when they hear something great.
Would some of your virtual attendees feel more comfortable, meet more people, and have fun if they had an assigned role?