Building community & connection in a virtual world

Are you tired of Zoom, of trying to connect over Zoom coffees or drinks? Are your team members feeling disconnected from each other and from the work culture? What makes a community thrive and what helps groups and individuals to feel a sense of connection? During this pandemic I’ve observed many groups and types of interactions and have some ideas about why some promote more of a sense of connection than others. Read this new blog post to discover the secret sauce in my opinion. Hint: it’s not another Zoom coffee chat!

A silver lining of the pandemic for me is the opportunities to connect with like-minded groups and individuals all over the world. I’ve seen some great examples of people finding new ways to connect online.

Screen shot of Meryl on Zoom with her hooked rugs in the background.
Building community by connecting virtually

Last week I was invited to give a talk called Chakra Colour Play to the Burlington Hooking Craft Guild. I took the group on a Chakra colour journey using a tour of my rugs. The question and answer time was animated and engaging. This community has started to meet every week virtually and to invite a presenter once a month.

When the pandemic hit, our ukulele group took to Zoom to continue playing together. We have been meeting every Monday for many months now. At first we played through a list of songs that were sent out in advance with only a few participants speaking. When the second wave hit, the organizers decided to incorporate more engagement by asking two people each week to tell us something about themselves that is surprising or not widely known. This has changed the atmosphere of the jam in such a positive way.

In recent months I’ve been working on a collaborative project with artist Linda Rae Coughlin. Besides being the first time I’ve worked on a collaborative art project, what makes this project special is Linda lives in New Jersey and I live in Nova Scotia. We have been using email and Zoom to connect. We journal, sketch and plan and modify the project as we go. This week I mailed my part of the project to Linda to add her contribution to it. We are planning to submit it to an international, virtual art exhibit by Global Textile Hub called “”Re-imagined” a Collaboration with a Difference. Make the Ordinary Extraordinary”.

Two business colleagues of mine, graphic designer Tara Joy Andrews and Elizabeth Miller of Parris House Woolworks have been hosting virtual gatherings for people to work on creative pursuits. People are welcome to bring their crocheting or rug hooking (or any other hand-work) and gather for a couple of hours to chat about life and art.

Artist Karen Miller has created an online community of artists and art enthusiasts with her In The Studio series of talks and her In The Studio Workshop Weeks.

What do all of these examples have in common? They are creating community and connection. They all have an element of inspiration and an opportunity for people to interact with one another.

The Secret Sauce

Each of these successful communities are helping people to connect to their creativity. I think it is this aspect of a shared creativity, sense of purpose and an opportunity to contribute that helps us to feel connected. That goes beyond getting together for passive learning or just meeting for a social purpose.

How I can help

We know being engaged in a creative pursuit can have a positive impact on well-being, promote engagement, improve productivity and innovation. If your team is stressed and anxious or feeling disconnected from one another or from your organization connect with me. Together we can design a virtual session or series of sessions to help your teams engage with their creativity to reduce stress and anxiety, improve engagement, productivity and innovation.