On Zoom or Teams, you’re running an online session, more a workshop than a webinar. It’s vital that people warm to you quickly and builds a rapport with each other to allow lots of interaction.
In the old days, we would have run an ice breaker. Not now, thankfully, these have been removed when time is at a premium, thank goodness.
Here’s an idea.
Announce that you’re coming online 15 minutes beforehand to greet everyone first and get to know you. At the same time, you’re going to give the early attendees a virtual gift of some description.
As people come online, engage with them, compliment something about their setup, the Zoom Zone, background, or excellent lighting. Chat with them like a party. There you would engage in small talk as they enter your party; you would then introduce them to another guest, and the socialising begins.
On Zoom, when the next person joins, quickly connect with them and mention something about person A who you just met and allow them to talk. As the next person enters, say, “we’re just talking about the big game tonight. Are you a fan?”
Act as a party host, be the “Host with the Most”. You won’t go far wrong in building a warm rapport with people and encouraging lots of online interaction when the actual session starts.
Remember to start and finish on time when online, and please, no more ice breakers.