Keeping Meetings Interesting

Every now and then I write about my staff social media group. People who work here at Coastal Carolina University and have proven to be leaders when it comes to social media on campus meet with me each month. We chat about trends and how we can improve the social experience at #CCU. We even organize and work together on events. Heck, sometimes the news even does a story on us.

One way I wanted to make this group stand out while also energizing the meetings was to institute a fun competitive rivalry. This morning we concluded our third #CCUSocialMedia Dream Team competition.

Throughout the semester, the dozen or so staff members in the group have opportunities to earn points. They can pick up these points in one of two ways. The first option is to score them at our monthly meetings. I open up each session with an icebreaker type game. Usually always having a social media theme worked in, the challenge can be classic such as “name that tune” or trivia. Sometimes I present games that depend on chance or that require the group members to use strategy. Whatever it is, points are always awarded to the top finishers.

This is the original group. Our crew has grown over the past couple semesters but here is what the original tally looked like.

This is the original group. Our crew has grown over the past couple semesters but here is what the original tally looked like.

The second way to earn points is via the e-mail update I send out. In between meetings I will touch base with the group by sending an e-mail that details happenings, ideas, and concerns within social media at Coastal. Sometimes it can get quite lengthy. In another effort to foster fun but to also get them to read the whole update, I embed a question randomly in the e-mail. Once a staffer comes across the question and identifies the answer, he/she e-mails me. The first person to respond receives 5 points, the second person to respond receives 4 points, the third person receives 3 points, and everyone else who responds receives one point.

These two opportunities work to develop better engagement within our group. Some people do get pretty competitive. Prior to this semester, a clear winner had emerged atop the leaderboard both times. However, when the dust settled with this most recent competition earlier this month, something I didn’t really expect to happen did.

There was a tie.

These are the final standings from this semester's competition.

These are the final standings from this semester’s competition.

It was a perfect storm with a few different things falling into place that enabled April Betsch from CHANT411 to tie Andrea Daniels from Dining Services, 24-24. I took the weekend to decide what I would institute for the tiebreaker and when we returned to work that Monday I told them my plans…an Instagram contest.

Although I am now retired from participating in such contests, I have no qualms about organizing them. I told April and Andrea to submit a CCU-related photo to me so I could post them back-to-back on our main @CCUchanticleers Instagram account. Whoever submitted the photo that generated the most likes and comments would win the semester competition.

This was the photo that April submitted for the Instagram contest.

This was the photo that April submitted for the Instagram contest.

I had the Instagram contest last six hours and both ladies worked their tails off during the whole duration to win. When the buzzer sounded, April had just narrowly edged out Andrea. After I went through and verified all the comments, April had garnered 510 total likes and comments to Andrea’s 506 likes and comments. For it to come down to that slim of a margin was pretty remarkable.

This was the photo that Andrea submitted for the Instagram contest.

This was the photo that Andrea submitted for the Instagram contest.

Today was our final social media meeting of the semester. As is custom, this particular one takes on more of a festive feel than the others with the main attraction being the announcement of awards. Winners this morning included Alex Souza (athletics) for Post of the Year, Travis Overton (Dean of Students) and April Betsch (CHANT411) for Promotion of the Year, Jennifer Sellers (sustainability) for Most Inspirational, and Andrea Daniels (Dining Services) for Rookie of the Year.

Here I am with today's winners. Moving clockwise starting in the top right that is me with April, then Alex, then Andrea, then Jennifer.

Here I am with today’s winners. Moving clockwise starting in the top right that is me with April, then Alex, then Andrea, then Jennifer.

Of course the announcement of the big victor came last. By winning the semester points competition, April was automatically crowned MVP. For all her efforts she didn’t get much; a photo commemorating her accomplishment, a $15 gift card to a local burrito place, and a certificate. However, as April and the other two MVPs before her will tell you, it isn’t about what you get in return, it is just about saying that you were the best for that semester.

Me with the MVP, April Betsch. She is holding her framed photo.

Me with the MVP, April Betsch. She is holding her framed photo.

I told my co-workers today that I appreciate them playing along. It takes a nerdy person to stage such a silly game in a professional environment. For them to put up with me is pretty nice. Don’t Blink.