Using Technology to Engage Teams

with John Chen

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Transcript - Using Technology to Engage Teams

Rich: On this episode of team building saves the world.

John: This, this like such a recursive question that we’re using technology to talk about technology, about how

Rich: yep. It’s, it’s an Allison Wonderland rabbit hole, man. We could just go further and further and further if we want.

John: I actually got to make it a digital escape room based on an Allison Wonderland story.

John: So that that’s even more recursive, you know, I, um, It’s me.

Rich: Hello team. It’s me, your old friend, Rich Rininsland host of team building saves the world. The show where I speak to the leaders and innovators in employee wellness and corporate culture and tell us about how reflects in the world of today. And today we are discussing technology in the workplace with the founder and CEO of geo teaming, John Chen.

Rich: But first I need to share some love with my supporters at team bonding. If your team is ready to experience teamwork for the power of play, then visit team bonding.com to learn more. Now team join me in welcoming the author of engaging virtual meetings 20 20, 50 digital team building games, 2011. Mr. John Chen.

Rich: Hello, John

Rich: Oh, that, that applause was a bunch of robot slaves that I have under my desk, John, just to applaud you.

John: This is the biggest pandemic audience I’ve ever spoken to Rich.

Rich: I, I’m not going to know if that’s true, but I’m gonna pretend that it is. How are you?

John: Doing fantastic. We’re just saying one day from vacation after a, a long, well deserved and very, very busy two years Rich.

Rich: Nice. Nice. Well, why don’t we start off, uh, just tell my team a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in the technology field.

John: All right. Well, my name is John Chen. I’m the CEO of a company called engaging virtual meetings. But prior to this, uh, I had actually done a lot of team building.

John: I, I get, I know your founder quite well. And, uh, for 25 years we’ve been building teams. And then in 2020, uh, that’s little virus thing came around, kind of screwed everything up. Right. So I had 15 canceled events, but, uh, Rich, I love this. I went backwards and doing my history and going, what, what do I have?

John: What do I have to lean on? Rich. Do you know what prodigy is?

Rich: Yes, but only in the video game sense.

John: Prodigy was an online meeting space made famous, cuz it was a first graphical base meeting space online when modems used to make noise, it was pre AOL. That’s how old it is. I’ve been meeting online for 35 years and I’m going, wait a minute.

John: I, you know, I wrote this other book, 20 11, 50 digital team building games. And I said, you know, you know, what can we do? This is great. One of the things I love about team building is when you ask a different question. So instead of how screwed up is my life right now, instead I said, what gift could I give to the world?

John: Okay. And so I said, well, I don’t make vaccines, but I do know how to make your virtual meeting better. So we’ve been experimenting with all these ideas for virtual meetings for years. So I put up a class called virtual team building on Eventbrite and 5,000 people took it in the first year. And my publisher came back and said, Hey, you wanna write your second book?

John: And so I said, yeah, I wrote my second book. And this is even funnier now Rich, right? Because they didn’t know how long the pandemic would last. Yes. Spoiler alert. , we’re recording this and it’s 2022 and it’s still going. Anyways, I rushed the book. I wrote the manuscript in nine, uh, weeks, nine weeks and put it out October, 2020, hit the number one, Amazon hot new release.

John: And now. Rich. I spend most of my time designing and producing as well as speaking at and MCing virtual meeting.

Rich: So we’re here today you and I to talk about technology, but I mean, that’s a broad term. Here we are on technology talking to one another using technology to better modulate and control our voices and have fun sound effect games going on in the background.

Rich: What type of technology is being used today to strengthen teamwork?

John: This is such a recursive question that we’re using technology to talk about technology, about how

Rich: yep. It’s, it’s an Allison Wonderland rabbit hole, man. We could just go further and further and further for,

John: I actually got to make it a digital escape room based on an Allison Wonderland story.

John: So that’s even more recursive, you know what, um, any technology that communicates can strengthen teams. And so that’s the cool part is. Of all the things that technology can do. Right. Communication is one of them that’s most important for us as human beings. And of course, as pandemic came around, it became more important cuz the normal way that we used to connect and communicate and gain trust, which was being in person right

John: was kind of off the table for, you know, uh, quite a while. And so that’s where technology stepped in, cuz it could do that. And I think that things as simple as text, but now that you know, the explosion of video conferencing really had to replace the in person, because again, my favorite part about this Rich is nobody ever got sick on a virtual meeting.

John: So, yeah, so I think I look for different kinds of technology that does that. And now it’s really, to me, the most important piece is how you use it. And I think the thing that you’ve seen probably over your last two years Rich, is yeah, some people are not that good at how they use it. And then there’s, you know, some people who really phenomenal and, uh, and I’m happy to share some more, you know, examples of things that are great for helping teams come together.

Rich: Yeah, cuz I mean, you and I, over the past couple of years have certainly had the same experiences where while the online communication networks have improved exponentially just within the last couple of years, because they were honestly forced to, we still have those people who are coming on with us, who don’t know what a mute button means or, you know, when they want to, when we say we’re gonna send you into a breakout room, leave the room.

Rich: Or they just leave the meeting entirely. I tell this joke now to every live event, when I explain to them how, how grateful I am that we get to be face to face again, now that we are where I say, I’m so glad that you, people are not all little one by one squares staring at me on my computer screen. I’m so glad that you, you know, um, that I don’t have to hear any of you say.

Rich: No, honey, daddy can’t play with you right now. I have another stupid team building thing I have to do which is a real thing that happened to me during a virtual event. Right. Cuz they did not mute themselves. They were just talking openly. And I had so many people on, I couldn’t even find who the person was, but I did laugh cuz it was funny.

Rich: so how is it that we can actually use this technology to improve corporate culture right now? Cause that’s what we’re trying to focus on.

John: Corporate culture. Well, the one thing I’d love to say around corporate culture is that every virtual meeting whether you know it or not right has a corporate culture to it.

John: Right. So what I mean by that, I tell people like this, which is like, you know, Rich have you ever had that meeting where everyone talks over each other? Yeah. Yeah. You know, if you’re the host of the meeting, what I tell people is, well, it’s kind of your fault. What I mean by that is if you’re the host of the meeting, right.

John: You’re creating the culture, whether you know it or not. So if you let people talk over each other and you let it right, then it’s part of your fault because now you’re you, you created that culture and now you, you know, you’re having that as opposed to, you know, one of our top things that we teach is, um, air traffic control and air traffic control is like, uh, I show a video.

John: There’s 5,000 flights in, in America. And none of them crash into each other. Why? Because we have air traffic control. And so in a virtual meeting, you know, as the host, your job is to play air traffic control. Yeah. That the majority of times that, um, you should, you know, get it so that one people, one person can talk.

John: And even in a normal meeting, what I love is I, I also studied a lot on zoom fatigue. And one of the people that I studied, she said, you know, most of the virtual meeting problems were the in person meeting problems, but now they’re on virtual and they’re just magnified, right?

Rich: Like what, give an example.

John: Well, like, like this, this let’s talking over each other, um, you know, in meetings you have sidebar discussions and all these other things, and you can kind of slightly have them better because I can lean over you to you Rich and go, “man that thing that guy said was crazy right”. You know? And so we can have that validly.

John: Now, if I do that in the middle of a major meeting, the problem is, “man, this keynote speaker is very loud”, you know, that everybody hears me. Right. And, and so that, you know, it becomes disastrous, right? As opposed to you and I, it was valid, right. Where we could have this sidebar discussion anyway. So I was saying as a host, you can have different things for air traffic control and get one person to talk at a time is, is one of the ways that you, you know, control the audio channel, the same part here too.

John: You know, you had that awesome Harley. I could hear it in the background. That’s over here in, in your audio. And if you were, uh, I was the producer in your meeting, I might of hit mute on you. And then come back later with that. And, and that’s how we avoid the kid things is like, if you’re the host of the meeting, you can control a lot of these things so that you can control the audio so that we can have a useful productive meeting.

Rich: So let’s look at the individuals, then you’re talking about people who, in the beginning of the pandemic, they didn’t have a lot of the savvy that was required to know how to run something like a zoom meeting or, or Google meets or what have you. Now, hopefully they are better. What are some best practices that we can just recommend to people out there when they’re joining meeting or involved in a meeting?

John: Well, the number one thing is what happens before that meeting even starts Rich. Okay. Which is plan. And it sounds simple, but if you really wanna have a productive meeting, right, you should plan. And number one is. what the heck is the goal of this meeting? right. Is it, is it just so one person can talk for 60 minutes?

John: You know, if it is by the way, send me a video and, and let me watch it on my own time and don’t burn, you know, valuable virtual meeting time to it. Right, right. Um, but if the meeting is, there should be, the goal should be to do something that we can’t do by ourselves. Right. It needs a combination of all these people who are together to do that and then design a way

John: so that you know, people know what the goal is, right. There are, you know, you present what’s going on. The group now has time to interact with each other, where we have time to come to a decision and get everyone to buy into it so that they’re more likely to do those types of things and engage and be interactive with it.

John: So anyways, that’s a planning part. Right. And then the, the next one I think is number one, is, is that the first few minutes of a meeting? Have you ever gone to a store with a greeter?

Rich: Sure.

John: Why? Why do you think they, they pay for somebody to sit at the door and say, hi, Rich.

Rich: well, first off, if they know my name, that’s just creepy.

John: I know. Right.

John: AI facial recognition.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah. It’s coming, but let’s talk about those individuals though. Like I’m coming to join a meeting. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m not the host. So what do I need to be aware of? What do I need to be thinking?

John: So I’ll go back to the first few minutes, a greater, uh, why, why there’s a greater number one is when you come into a meeting, you should think about how do you bring people into the meeting, number one, you log in early, right.

John: And, and be ready. Right. So that you and your team understand what’s going on, you tested your tech, everything’s ready. Right. Then when you admit people like hit them on the first part. So number one, greet them. Right? So as soon as you come in high, you did that to me today, which is great. Hey, John, what’s going on?

John: You know, have music playing. Right. So I think that’s a, a key aspect that can come in and as opposed to what we call, have you ever heard the term zawkward? ?

Rich: Uh, no.

John: Z awkward, right. Is what we, somebody said on, on a Facebook post and they said, what do you, what do you call it? When you come into a meeting, all the screens are black.

John: There’s no slide up. There’s no audio. Right. You for a moment, you don’t even know what you’re in the right meeting. Right, right, right. And so we called that, uh zawkward for zoom. Awkward. Nice. You come in a meeting, you don’t even know, right. If you’re in the right place at all. And it’s like, so, uh, dis orientating, anyways, those first couple of minutes that to do with that for participants, if you wanna be a good participant, this is again, another role to play inside a valid meeting, which is number one is be prepared.

John: So if somebody sends something in advance, right, number one, know what the meeting’s about. Number two, like if you, there was something that they sent in advance that you’re gonna talk about, then be prepared for it. Right. Number three, I, I am an advocate of cameras on Rich. I shared it, some different stories around it.

John: You know, one company got zoom fatigue. In April of 2020, right. We’re talking a large aerospace manufacturer and they decided, and they read the piece of research that said the zoom fatigue comes from having your camera on. They were just like cameras off. And they’ve been that way since April of 2020. And so, you know, why is that?

John: Why is that important? Cuz like right now Rich and I like, I’m able to read Rich’s body language. Yeah. Right. Yeah, he’s shake. Yeah. He’s shaking his head. Yes. He’s saying, you know, I, I see some agreement even if I don’t hear his voice. Sure. You know, I can see that if, if I, if I get that glaze look like he is, like, I just said something really shocking to him.

John: And so I think you miss all those cues. We have all this valuable technology to be able to see that we’re humans, right. A good portion of our communication is body language. And that if you turn off the camera, you lose all that. And so why, you know, if you have all the technology, if you have all the bandwidth, why would you throw that piece away?

John: Right. You know, I, I, I would say like, if their research says, if watching your own video is actually very tough, so turn off your own self camera. That’s fine. But don’t turn off the cameras to everyone else if at all possible. There are times obviously that’s valued, but we would do that. So, and then the last piece is just be engaging.

John: So. If somebody has designed a well designed meeting, the inverse that you can do as a participant is to give your attention, your engagement. So like try not to space off and right. Try not to multitask. Right. Focus on the meeting and look for different ways you can be engaged, which is not always audio by the way.

John: Right? So to me, it’s the second, most powerful thing. Uh, the second most powerful engagement tool we have on virtual is chat. And it’s the one place where everybody can talk at the same time. In fact, we actually do an initiative called that and it’s called either simal chat or my other friend has called it chatter fall, which I actually really like, which is they’ll ask the question and then, um, but you tell people not, you write the answer, but don’t hit enter.

John: and then on the count of three, you hit 1, 2, 3, and everyone hits enter at the same time. I love that. And in some large meetings, you’ll see the chat just completely blow up for that minute. And I think it gives you a sense of number one, how many people are there and actually kind of tuned into what you’re doing.

John: And number two is you get this amazing set of replies. Right. Uh, that, that you have as a record that can really, you know, if you’re a great instructor, you can come back and, and see what’s landing. Right? Like I teach a lot in a class. And one of the, the questions I ask is, so what’s the one thing you’re gonna take away.

John: And, um, quite often it’s not the answer that I thought it was.

Rich: Plus it allows for those moments of, like you said, when, when people are normally gonna be whispering like this to one another, they can still do that over chat. They can do that to each other, without everybody else seeing it.

John: Private message to Rich,

John: so this, this is the best interview ever send.

Rich: so long as they remember to private chat it and don’t send it to everyone.

John: Yeah. This keynote speaker who’s the owner of team building. Holy cow.

John: good in the house. Yeah, no. And that, that is another failure. It’s just like talking with your mic on and you think you’re muted that like you gotta go back and double and triple check these things before you send them.

John: If you really want to prevent what we love to call a CLM, a career limiting maneuver. Oh my gosh. Do you wanna hear the worst? Sure. I got this story from somebody. So I do, I do believe it to be true. I wasn’t up present, but I got it from somebody else. Okay. There was apparently he was logged into his kids’ school coaches meeting for the team or something like that.

Rich: Well, that’s not, that’s not the worst thing I’ve heard happen. it’s pretty bad. I don’t know. Oh my on that note, I’m gonna take a brief second here, John, and walk

Rich: away.

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Rich: And we’re back with John Chen talking about how to bring people back together with technology. So what do things look like before the pandemic, John?

Rich: I mean, we’re both in the same industry, you know, we know we, we remember going to places and meeting people and, you know, being able to shake hands and so. But what was the technology like then compared to now?

John: Oh, was this gonna take Rich your question about what’s it look like? Well, it was green, it was full of chloro fill.

John: There was actually wind out. Oh, sorry. Before pandemic. I mean, the number one thing that I did too, and, uh, of course team bonding does is, uh, based on geocaching. So we did a based on geocaching. Geocaching for those who don’t know is a high tech scavenger hunt. Uses GPS, uh, global positioning system. And my, I love my friends.

John: My friends have a shirt, right. And the shirt says I use billions of dollars of satellites to find Tupperware.

Rich: Nice.

John: And so, uh, yeah, no, it’s a great team building event, cuz it’s a high tech scavenger hunt. You use your phones to play it. And, and so that was really the technology. I mean the cell phone and an app has really revolutionized, I, I used to have like five different pieces of equipment. We actually had GPS receivers.

John: We had, um, member at Palm pilots, right. Or pocket PCs. Yep. You know, these are, you know, now the phone combined, all these. And so now. Have an app that runs all of that. And so that was, I think, really the technology that was working through and that experience is really great because it has a, it does a couple things.

John: One is it gets people to walk together as a team. So a team is like, you know, two to 10 people. And quite often they’ll break off into pairs of threes and they’ll talk with each other, but between going to different sites and that kinesthetic part too, of course, I, I don’t think you can replace that.

John: We’re humans we’re built to connect and that was great pieces of technology and things that, that technology did. I mean, there’s two things actually, too. Uh, I was probably the top FAA, drone pilot to do group shots. What is known as a droney. Yeah. Which is like you do a drone shot of a large group and then shoot the drone out as far back and as high as possible.

Rich: Nice.

John: And we would then do this other part, which is the game sends all the photos and videos up to a server. We would actually compose a video and play it for you before the end of the event.

John: That’s awesome, very good.

John: You know, what, what I love Rich is when technology makes something look like magic.

Rich: Yeah. But now we have the pandemic, it hit, we lost all of those in-person events and, uh, had to quickly pivot to virtual and thank goodness that the technology at the time was good enough that we could start doing that and then quickly improved.

Rich: So that we can handle more and more and more. I mean, you have to have stories just like I do about how in the beginning things were crashing because too many people were on board. um, meanwhile, we’re still trying to get clients of 500 to come to bring their people together. Here’s the thing though. I do want to focus on let’s take a second and talk about those people for whom technology is not within their grasp.

John: Oh, wow. We just talked a bit about this, the, the digital divide and digital equity.

Rich: Right. And yeah, yeah, yeah. Especially the digital anxiety focus, how many people are terrified of new things. And this all became new very quickly. So how can we use technology to get people over the fear of technology,

John: the fear of technology

Rich: or the anxiety of it? I mean, I don’t think anybody thinks that, you know, Skynet is gonna happen anytime.

John: Oh, I don’t know. I just saw a picture of a Roomba eating some woman’s hair, and then there was a picture from, uh, Terminator and he goes, and so it begins.

John: um, fear technology. I, I do teach around this number one is around this aspect of psychological safety. So Rich, have you ever heard of, uh, Google’s project Aristotle?

Rich: I have not.

John: Oh, 18 months of research. Right. And all they cared about was this question, which is what do high performing teams have in common, right?

John: Oh, and so there’re two different kind of teams, right? This team is like structured. Did plans made deadlines, shipped on time? This other team is crazy. Look like they’re gonna crash into a wall. And then they like produce a miracle at the end and that’s another high performing team. And they said, what do these two teams have in common?

John: And then like, is it the pay? Is it the equipment? The office. We gave them the manager, their team structure. And it turns out it’s none of those things. right. The number one factor. And if you look it up, Google project Aristotle, the number one factor was psychological safety. And psychological safety was defined as the ability for you to take a risk in front of members of your team.

John: And that’s the fear of technology that you want to take a risk doing something I have no idea how to do yeah. In front of my teammates. And I wanna do it cuz I don’t wanna look stupid or whatever, you know, whatever your reasoning is. And a lot of people who have fair technologies, you know, are, are afraid of breaking something and

John: that’s part of how you gotta get them over. So if you wanna be again, let’s say you’re the host of a meeting and you wanna help people, your group get over the fear of technology is introduce the technology and sometimes in an innocuous way. So here’s an example. We do simultaneous document editing. So for instance, Rich, have you ever edited like a Google doc or a word doc where five or six or seven people are editing at the same time?

Rich: Yep, sure have.

John: Okay, good. So we do that and, um, we, the exercise we give them is write a poem in eight minutes. we give them one link. Right? Here you go. Write it in eight minutes and the first four minutes, right? Most of them actually start working and we have to give the hint at two minutes and going well, Rich, didn’t tell you, you had to not talk.

John: You, you can actually talk it’s okay. Right, right. Because some people like get this assignment and then they start trying to figure out without talking. Right. I told you at the beginning, right. We’re humans. We need to communicate . Then the next one is then they suddenly realize that if multiple people log on, you can

John: start writing multiple lines and at the same time, and then at the end of eight minutes, even in a short amount of time, sometimes Rich groups will get it and they’ll figure out they can actually write lines at the same time. So it looks like a horse race because there are eight cursors, all in different lines, all writing lines at the same time, they don’t know what the other person is, but if you learn this

John: skill. You’re just like, right. I’ll just kind of guess what this person is gonna write. And then re-edit it when they put their last word and then I’ll rhyme some line with it and therefore you can actually get up to eight times as much work done. So the key to this story is that one of my very good friends, Adrian Segar showed me this example.

John: And he got 45 people at a conference to write an entire case study. They’re all linked to one Google doc and wrote an entire case study in 90 minutes without talking to each other. Right. They actually did it silent. They only communicated in a doc. Wow. Now the key

John: to this story, 2010, what. That’s this stuff has been around this long 50 to a hundred people can edit a document simultaneously and almost nobody’s been using it even to this date. Most people don’t know that you can use this. Hmm. I actually use this to design all of my virtual programs so that you have one script, right?

John: So here’s the script. It tells everybody what they’re gonna do, what there are and what time. Right. And that we can edit it literally to the last second, because everybody’s shared with it. As long as everyone plays nice, like doesn’t delete the whole document, then you’re fine. And. People can get the most up to date changes without talking to each other.

John: They, they can actually watch change. We haven’t done this, watch changes while they’re happening. And then the MC will come and pick it up and say those lines while somebody else was writing them, cuz they’re researching something, you know, that somebody said,

Rich: so would that be, would you consider that a good method for training those people who, who need to get over that?

Rich: And when I say fear of technology, of course, I just mean anxiety over, over trying something new.

John: So, so yeah, so here’s the strategy strategy is introduce the new technology. Yeah. Do it in such a safe way that you can screw up. Totally. Yeah. And there’s not that much at stake, cuz this assignment is, is amorphous then later on reintroduce it and now do something easier and then something a little harder and then later on.

John: And so it’s kind of the way that we learn, right. Is that if we learn from experience and we get more comfortable with it. And we saw like, oh, I edited this document. Or, and I didn’t die. I guess, I guess I, I guess I can do this again. Right. Okay. So that’s one of the ways that we get people over that fear of technology is, is to run through training exercises, introduce something and reuse it because

John: you know, uh, like anything, like if we keep reusing it, we get better and better and better at it. And that’s why I tell people don’t like introduce 20 tools to your group, like introduce one and get really good at it. Right. And then introduce another one when your group gets tired of it so that you can see something else, but don’t keep introducing so many things.

John: Where, and, you know, you got it wrong when your group like starts going I have no idea what’s going on. I’m completely lost. Right? That means that you, you know, you did not introduce this technology in such a way. And a lot of times they’ll prepare end people you’re talking about breakout rooms, break breakout rooms, to me, third, most powerful

John: uh, engagement tool on virtual. And somebody screwed up a breakout room in April of 2020. And then from there they just essentially said, I’m not gonna do breakout rooms again, which, which I think leads to like, um, you know, you were all asking to see like, like pictures of this ridiculous studio that I have.

John: So Hey. On video. So I’ll do an audio description of this thing, but right now, what you’re seeing, what you could be seeing is that I have six major screens and I have probably about 18, uh, mother screens. If you talk about it in the setup that all, all connected to one computer with a mixing board and, and, uh, two phones are here to the left, three iPads, a stream deck.

John: And so what does this mean is that part of how I learned this technology that this studio did not come together overnight? it’s the result of thousands of failures over the last two years. right. And my job, right as in technology, it is what I tell people is fail faster than anybody else. Okay. And then just, and then just watch what works, watch what works, and then do more of that.

Rich: Uh, first off, I just wanna start off by saying I am so jealous of your sound. Mine is great for me, but woo. That was so many, so many shiny buttons. How do you know so much about all this, John? We that’s one thing we didn’t get into. How, how, where where’s your background in all this?

John: Well, when I was a small child in the south.

John: Okay. No, it was really California. I played a lot of video games.

John: and my parents said, my, my parents said the, probably the same thing that mostly, you know, this age range probably said would you’re gonna melt your brain out. Yeah. Right. And what it did actually is that video games gave me the one skill, which is the ability to learn technology and then start moving very fast through it.

John: Right? Yeah. Video games where it reward you for learning a skill and recognizing patterns and going really rarely fast with it. So as I grew up and then I also went to UC Santa Barbara. So that means I’m a Goucho for those who are in the west. I got a computer science degree. I was voted most outstanding computer science student.

John: And then I went, worked for a decade for that Microsoft company. That little software company up here near Seattle. And, uh, I got, I shipped 10 products, got two us patents and I’ve had a lot of te love of technology. It’s definitely something, uh, I mean, as early as when I was a kid, I did play video games and, and early, I don’t know if you know what a CPM computer is.

Rich: Remember that yeah. Had big floppy is like five and a quarter.

Rich: And I I’m of that age. Yeah.

John: So my dad was a doctor, but he was really, his passionate was around audio and technology and computers. And so he gave me early, early access to computers. Like I learned how to use word perfect. And, uh, what is it? An IBM electric that was connected to the computer.

John: If those who don’t know that that’s a typewriter. Yeah. And it has a ball on it. Right. And it has all the letters on the ball and the computer told it what to type so that I could write a paper. Right. Correct. All the mistakes without, before typing it and then push a button and get a perfectly typed paper.

John: And I did that as early as probably 11 or 12 years old.

Rich: Which actually that brings up a really good point. Cuz we’re talking about, we’ve been talking throughout the entirety of this podcast about the multi-generational workforce. Yeah. And you have the new kids who are coming in when, and of course I don’t mean anything derogatory when they say kids.

Rich: I’m, you’re all young. when you’re, you’re graduated from college, you’re going in, you have the background and the latest and the greatest technologies. It’s there for you. You’ve been playing with it since you were a child. And now you’re gonna be able to use it for your industry, but then they look at somebody of an age of a, you know, my hair has not been, you know, anything other than white for a great many years now, about half as long as I’ve had it, I would like to say.

Rich: So, what are we seeing between the, the greatest generation to X down to Y millennials? So on, so forth. How are the differences in technological backgrounds resonating throughout the industry?

John: Yeah. Through the industry? Well, one to stay current is to, I mean, uh, I, I have three kids that are all now out of the house, but one of the things that I did as a parent is watch what your kids do.

John: And if you watch what your kids do, you’ll, you’ll see that evolutions of different technology. That’s how you could see smartphones came around. That’s how you could see, you know, online gaming was a big thing. Yeah. Right. And all those things, the things that I’m doing right now, like all these visual tricks that I’m doing here are all predicated on something called open broadcast software.

John: And if you watch any kid who is, is streaming while playing a game, Right. That’s what they’re doing. They they’re actually accidentally getting into video production. Yeah. And, um, that’s, you know, I think video has definitely become more prevalent right than the, the written word. So, uh, I think that there was a stat 80% of the traffic this year online is video. It’s either video from a streaming video or from a video conference. So that’s how much data is being, you know, consumed around and in virtual. And so I think in all the different generations, what do I see then then then two is the trends. I mean, number one, we saw this explosion of, of virtual meetings, which the kids were already doing anyways.

John: I, I actually, did you know what DECA is? You know, DECA. Yes. Yes. Deck has a great organization for high school students to improve and get new skills. Mm-hmm and, um, what they would do is they would call a curfew at 10 o’clock in the hotels for this large conference. Right. And so the elders would tell me though, the people who are watching over this conference would tell me that at 10 o’clock it doesn’t stop.

John: And I’m like, what do you mean? You know, connection is really even more important to them than it is to us. Yeah. Because what they would do is get on their computers. Right. Get on some Skype line or something else like that, and start video conferencing each other, even though they couldn’t, you know, be physically with each other at 10 o’clock.

John: And they would, you know, continue hanging out with that. So I think those are, is again, watch the trends with that. I think that’s important. Uh, if I, I ask a lot of people too, what’s the future of virtual meetings and I do believe that there are definitely things you’re gonna see further improvements in engagement in technology.

John: You’re gonna find some things that’ll become easier. And I am experimenting, right. Trying to keep up with the kids is that, um, I’m experimenting with virtual reality. Okay. And virtual reality is definitely a place where virtual meetings at some point we’ll be able to do that effectively. I don’t, I don’t think it’s there yet.

John: It’s definitely less than 1%. Right. But who knows? All we need is one more event or one more thing. It’s kind of like electricity, right. Electricity by itself is kind of, ah, what are we gonna do with it? But like, as soon as you could like, get a light bulb, then it became really, really effective. Yeah. Right.

John: It’s like networking, networking by itself is like, we’re just sending data, but you get email and like humans gravitated to that going email. This is like revolutionary. I don’t have to lick a stamp and wait, you know, four weeks, you know, that’s what I, I think you’ll see. And so watch for that as you go through the future.

John: And if you want any indicators, right. Either watch your kids or borrow somebody else’s kids, cuz they’re gonna show you the way.

Rich: Not six, seven years ago. My daughter tried to introduce me to this new thing that she loved called TikTok. And I was like, that looks great, honey, go enjoy that. You go, go off and do whatever you like with it.

Rich: Now, of course, everyone’s like, you’re not on TikTok. Oh, you’re missing three quarters of your audience. If you’re not on TikTok.

John: and TikTok again too. Actually, uh, my marketing friend said that Tik Tok video editor is kind of one of the best video editors around. Yep. And so kids are learning, right content creation and video, and how to tell a story.

John: And what’s funny and what’s not funny. Uh, and they get instant feedback on it.

Rich: That opportunity, to be honest, my daughter she’s 16. Now last year, she wanted to create a podcast as part of a school project. So she comes in, she goes, can I use your equipment? I went, okay, come on, sit down. I’ll teach you all how to use it.

Rich: She sits down in my chair and she starts flipping switches. And she’s like, I got this. And I’m like, oh, you do, you actually do it. Took me forever to get oh, okay. Nevermind.

John: Why she watches you? This is where kids die alone by osmosis. It’s like how I learned to drive. Right. All I did was watch my mom how to drive for a year.

John: And then when he came in, she’s like, oh, and then you’re gonna, I got this I got

John: this. We’re good.

Rich: So where are we going in the future, John? I mean, we’re, I, I wanna leave everybody on a positive. As good as things are now as user friendly, as things are now, what’s tomorrow going to look like for us?

John: Well, my big thing is, is around engagement.

John: Mm. Cause then, and, and what I love is actually yesterday, we just redid a session and we got to rewatch a keynote and you know, Elizabeth Gilbert, you know, the book eat love, pray.

Rich: Yes.

John: She captivated an audience for 45 minutes at a virtual keynote, and she didn’t use any electronic trickery beyond having a valid camera and a mic.

Rich: Nice.

John: All right. And it goes back to authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling. So some of the future means go backwards, go back and search back through all the things that are still really useful and effective here on virtual. And then I think, you know, what do we see in the future? I mean, a lot of this has gotta get easier.

John: I still people like, uh, uh, I’ve been caught on mute, right? I got, I got over 30 years of experience inside of this and I still get caught on mute and I tell people all the time and I go, you know, here’s the number one thing about that , it’s not your fault, right? It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault because the technology is still designed in such a way.

John: You’re not getting the feedback, whether you are or are not on mute. And, and so that’s where technology has to go. Like when it becomes more integrated and it becomes more natural, you don’t, you don’t have to learn or be different, right. That you can be more of who you are. With that. I think that’s some of the places we can go, you know, even now too, it’s like, uh, it’s revolutionized my business.

John: It’s like the, the less travel my business has become much more effective. Right. Much more profitable in such a way. Cuz I can, you know, I can, I can speak in three countries in a day. Right. I have actually met 12 or 14 people in a day. Yeah. If I was driving to those meetings, like I maybe get like two, if I’m lucky and

Rich: as excited as I am to be live, I miss doing four events in a day.

John: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Uh, yes. Yes. And, and so I think there’s gonna be some kind of unique mix with that, uh, in the future. I think that that in person live will be a premium, even bigger, a premium than it was before. Okay. How much work and, and money and stuff that it costs and that the explosion of virtual, I think has not, is not done.

John: I think that companies too, cuz I tried for decades to tell people you’re gonna save a lot of money with this and they’re like, nah, here’s a bunch of money go to Orlando. Right. And now they see like, like I think there are definitely. Places where virtual is gonna stick around. And now it’s about producing better virtual, right?

John: Yeah. Making sure that that your virtual is not somebody monotone 60 minutes, that somebody right is controlling the mute so that they have the things that you’re running all these best practices and that there’s some technology right around the corner that’s gonna make this even better than it is now.

John: And, and even then I started 20, 30 years ago, you know, in 20, in the year, 2000, I was using WebEx. To run a virtual meeting with 24 people that were my clients around and it was definitely like spotty. And now I have run. I actually have run Rich. You’re gonna love this a 25 and a half hour zoom meeting that was streaming live to 25 locations at the same time.

John: And none of it ever blip. Ooh. And that’s, you know, everybody’s gonna have the capability. Your daughter now has the capability of a television station. Mm. So the question is, what is everyone gonna do with that? Right. And so hopefully by you listening to this podcast that will, you know, will save the world.

Rich: Yeah. Talking about though, uh, going back to talking about the chat function and so forth. Anna has been blowing up my chat this entire time you’ve been talking because she was one Anna, my producer, ladies and gentlemen has been asking me, so are we going back into the office or is the future the meta verse.

John: Oh, uh, that’s a great question. I have anecdotal evidence, you know, uh, a local company here tried to return to, um, they actually sold one of their buildings. Hmm. So they don’t have enough offices now. Right. So they’re kind of stuck. So then they did this, you know, roving office, you know, like you check in for a day, that’s your office and then get out, right?

John: Yeah. and you know what, that, that invalidates a lot of stuff for us, for an office. Like the amount of junk, we move into an office to make it our own. Right, right. And then try and remove it every day. That’s not gonna happen. So, so I don’t know. And, and we’ve seen both companies, companies that bet on the metaverse, which is saying like, we’re gonna go totally remote, you know, some have declared and then some of them are like, we gotta come back like right now yeah.

John: I’m not sure where it’s gonna land up. I do believe, you know, I’ve been really trying to closely watch the research. There was definitely some research that said the, the, uh, creativity was specifically down during this time, although that does not match my personal experience to me, that just goes, I think you’re just doing it wrong.

John: um, cuz we were the most creative we ever had to been like how much, how much creative have you had to been about every unknown, unprecedented, freaking challenge and pivot you had to go through in the last, you know, two years.

Rich: If only just to figure out how to recreate what we already had been doing.

John: Oh, geez.

John: Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, yeah. Uh, I, I don’t know. I’m gonna just say the jury’s out, but I’ll definitely say this more people will be hybrid or virtual than ever before. And that I think I can stand by

Rich: John. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you so much for coming on board. Can you tell my team out there? Where can they find you?

Rich: If they have more questions and where can they find your book, books?

John: Thank you so much. You can find me@engagingvirtualmeetings.com. Uh, you can purchase the book on that website in the shop, or of course go to your good friends at Amazon or Goodreads to support local bookstores. And, and now Rich, I got, I got one thing.

John: Can I just do one thing for you? Sure. Here we go. 3, 2, 1.

John: “Thank you for attending the performance and a special thanks to all those who helped with the show. “

Rich: nice. Very nice. Do you use that in yours? A lot.

John: Uh, yeah, actually, uh, I gave this script, I have small buttons here, so I can do things like this.

John: Applause, maze laughter and my good friend. Um, the rimshot Hey let’s uh, let’s how rich is rich. There we go.

Rich: Yeah, I’ve got a few of those myself, which I’m gonna use right now because I explained this to you in the beginning, John, but now it’s time for a speed round speed. Round speed. Round speed. Round speed.

Rich: Speed. All right. My friend. So for the next 60 seconds, John, here’s what we’re gonna do by the way. Just so you’re aware this game actually started because I was thinking about those people out there who whenever I would do live events, uh, would just roll their eyes. When they first walk in the door, it’s like, oh no, another one of these.

Rich: So for them, I came up with little torture device, just for people like you, who come on the show. The, the objective of this is I’m gonna ask you a series of quick questions in 60 seconds. Your objective is to gimme a simple answer, as you can, to try to get as many questions as you can in your belt. We’re looking at 14 as the number to beat.

Rich: So if you’re feeling it all competitive, that’s where we’re gonna go. You’re gonna hear a bunch of music that, that actually tells me how long the 60 seconds. And then once the music starts, I start asking questions and away we go, you feel.

John: Wait, wait. Okay. I’m fine.

Rich: Okay. Good. All right. All right, John, here we go.

Rich: 60 seconds on the clock. What’s your name?

John: John.

Rich: How many kids do you have?

John: Three.

Rich: Which one’s your favorite?

John: All.

Rich: Do you have any pets?

John: No.

Rich: What’s your favorite childhood book?

John: Oh, uh, geez. No, uh, Ender’s game go.

Rich: Who would you Like to play you in the life of your movie or the movie of your life.

John: Oh, uh, Daniel Day, Kim,

Rich: if you could live in any other state, which one would it be?

John: Hawaii.

Rich: What’s your favorite family vacation?

John: Uh, Fiji,

Rich: if you could choose any nickname for yourself, what would it be?

John: The kid.

Rich: Who’s the funniest person, you know?

John: You.

Rich: What’s your favorite thing about your grandparents?

John: They immigrated to America.

Rich: Do you ever talk to yourself?

John: What do you mean me? Fine.

Rich: what’s your favorite thing to say to yourself?

Rich: And when you’re having a bad day, what do you do? Oh, so it didn’t work, but guess what? You got 14. You tied for 14 buddy. There’s mine. There’s yours. We’re soundboarding all over the place. . It’s mutual soundboard going on, my friend, John, again, thanks so much. This was hilarious. I had such a great time. Thank you.

John: You’re welcome. Rich anytime.

Rich: And thank you my team out there. That’s it. We’re wrapping up yet another episode, a team building saves the world. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, whether you’re new to the podcast or an old fan of the show, please be sure to share with everyone. You know, whether they’re your coworker, friend or family, it just helps us to share all the vital information.

Rich: And this episode is worth sharing. You can find out all about us, including all past episodes@teambonding.com slash podcast. You can also find this wherever you find your favorite podcast, Google podcast, apple podcast, Bon. Wherever you listen, we are there. And if we’re not there, I want you to message me on all the social media as a team bond podcast.

Rich: And let me know, because I want to be where you are listening. Also feel free to reach out to team bond podcast at all the social medias. And let me know if you have any idea for future topic on the podcast, or just tell me what it is you liked about the show. Anything you want to share. I want to hear from you.

Rich: So before we say our final farewells for this episode, a team building saves the world. Please never forget my team, that if you are within the sound of my voice and thanks to technology of my voice is reaching farther than ever. Always. Remember, you are on my team now and I am forever gonna be on yours so long team.

Rich: And I’ll see you next time.

John: Believe.

Rich: It’s been said that you learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. So why not put your coworkers to play with the help of the team at team bonding. Team bonding was founded over 20 years ago with one simple question. How can employees have a great time while fostering strong, authentic bonds between people who work together?

Rich: Their catalog of innovative events include scavenger, hunts, jeopardy, and much more each activity, whether. Virtual or hybrid maximizes the impact of team building with an accent on fun. Visit team bonding.com to schedule your event now, team bonding. When you want seriously fun results.

How do you boost engagement with technology?
John Chen knows all about it.

Listen as Host Rich Rininsland speaks with the connoisseur of technology John Chen, CEO Geoteaming and Engaging Virtual Meetings about how technology can be used to boost engagement and improve productivity. The value of having engaged employees is unmatched. Yet companies are struggling to find ways to engage their biggest asset. Luckily there is a tool that is often overlooked: technology.

As a connoisseur of technology and strident adventurer, John has developed an innovative and adaptable approach to building team and leadership skills that strongly resonate with participants. John is an accomplished author (Engaging Virtual Meetings 2020, 50 Digital Team Building Games 2011 – published by John Wiley and Sons), 10 Year Microsoft Veteran, and winner of numerous professional awards and recognition including two patents for software design. He climbs mountains, walks on fire, swims with dolphins, rides Harleys, and snowboards out of helicopters. John is a recognized thought leader in developing highly functioning corporate teams and an expert on digital team building. When you meet John, you will encounter a dynamic, energetic, and effective leader who builds strong bonds of friendship with those he meets.

" It goes back to authenticity, vulnerability, and storytelling. So some of the future means go backward, go back and search back through all the things that are still really useful and effective here on virtual. And then I think, you know, what do we see in the future? I mean, a lot of this has gotta get easier."
- John Chen
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Do you have questions or a story idea? Send us an email at podcast@teambonding.com.

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