The hard truth: Multitasking runs rampant during online meetings, and keeping your virtual attendees engaged can be tricky. One way to grab your audience’s attention and even transform the tone of a meeting or event is through gift giving. But you need to be strategic: Organizers can surprise and delight with an amazing treat or sour the mood with something dull or predictable.
Here are four ideas to keep your gifting relevant:
1. Feed your team. As with in-person meetings, food and beverage should be a strategic decision rather than an afterthought. Put the same amount of time and attention into food and beverage for virtual meetings as you do for face-to-face events. You can never go wrong with snacks. Foods that help your attendees stay focused, like dark chocolate, nuts, or protein bars, are important. But a decadent reward can be great at certain moments too. If you are celebrating a key accomplishment, consider adding mocktails to applaud your team in style.
2. Support the tone of the meeting. Do you want your attendees to feel celebrated, educated, or appreciated? Different gifts have different affects. A basic example: A company mug is an appropriate and welcome gift at an onboarding meeting but wouldn’t feel like a like a round of applause to long-time employees. Selecting the right mix of gifts can support the goals and reinforce the messaging of your meeting—and reduce participants’ temptation to focus their attention elsewhere.
3. Consider diversity. Supporting small businesses has taken on greater importance because of the pandemic. You can amplify the voices of women-owned, LGBTQ+-owned and BIPOC-owned small business in your community by including their products in your gift boxes. Don’t worry about your order being too big for a local business to handle. You’d be surprised by how many will welcome the challenge.
4. Virtual CSR. Corporate social responsibility activities are popular at in-person meetings and events. You can harness this desire to give back by selecting gifts for virtual meeting attendees that connect with company values. Look for vendors who offer environmentally friendly products, give back to their communities, or support specific causes. It takes time to research these vendors, but it’s worth it to your attendees.
Rameka Jennings is director of operations at Eventure, a gifting solutions company.