How Generative AI Can Add Human Delight to Your Virtual Event

Lexie Garcia, Former Senior Recruiter

Article Categories: #News & Culture, #Employee Engagement, #Tooling

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We used DALL-E to create custom virtual backgrounds for the team — and surprised them with an interactive guessing game! Here’s how we did it.

We just celebrated 24 years of Viget. That’s two dozen years! This year, our Spring TTT in celebration of “Viget24” was a virtual extravaganza. We’ve put on a lot of virtual events over the years. Some with really strong themes and swag bags; some that focus on simple, meaningful time together; and others that let us enjoy learning something new as a team. Regardless of the rest of the experience, a key component of all of our virtual events is joyachieved often through intentional levity. We think it’s important to laugh together! We see laughter as a way to expedite connection, and connection leads to rapport which makes us better at collaborating — and in turn leads to more quality products for our clients. 

Experimenting and iterating is a critical way we try to continually get delight right. We’re pretty pleased with one of our experiments from Viget24 that we called “Lovely Spring Day”.

A Lovely Spring Day

As we were brainstorming for this TTT, we thought about how to throw some joyful levity pizzazz into the pieces of our virtual events puzzle that have become pretty standard. How do we add lots of delight without adding lots of time to the action-packed schedule? We zeroed in on the virtual backgrounds we’ve been creating for every event — they add a layer of specialness. Of place. This isn’t any old virtual meeting. This is a TTT! 

A small collection of past event-specific virtual backgrounds

Another key consideration for our team is figuring out creative ways to tie in inspiration from our industry and our work. AI has been an obvious contender —  we’ve discussed it and tied it in to some extent for the past several TTTs. But this time, we wanted to see how we could use AI for delight — marrying it with virtual backgrounds felt obvious. And so, a ”Lovely Spring Day” was born. 

The TL;DR is that we generated custom virtual backgrounds for every Viget employee that encapsulates their “ideal spring day.” We then played a 15-minute guessing game where people tried to guess who the background “belonged to.” Then, people had access to the full folder of AI-generated virtual backgrounds to look through. Vigets could then choose the background that spoke to them most and set it as their background. 

Read on for more on how we put this together!

Pre-Event Survey

To support all of our TTTs, we send out thoughtful pre-event logistics surveys 2-3 weeks before the big day. The survey lets us know where folks are joining from (where can we send their activity + snack packages?) and gives folks a chance to provide input on how the People Team can help folks enjoy and be present for TTT. This time, we also snuck in three questions, just “for giggles.”

  • In one sentence, describe your ideal spring day.
  • List three things that spark joy.
  • What color do you think suits you best?

We did not share why we asked these questions. Sneaky, sneaky! When it’s low-key like this, the element of surprise is often a quick way to level up the delight.

Asking for a Friend

With rich data in hand about what makes people happy in spring, we were ready to generate the backgrounds. I was stoked! I’ve been experimenting with ChatGPT for some time, so it was fun to be able to use the DALL-E 3 side of OpenAI’s GPT-4 model

Who knew Prompt Engineering would be part of my role as a recruiter-who-helps-support-TTT-planning? I played around with a couple different prompts to generate these background images. Ultimately, my goal was to create backgrounds that were meaningfully different from one another but still felt good (i.e., something you might feasibly want to set as your virtual background and nothing freakily AI, like uncanny valley hands).

Here are the prompts I landed on that got me to our set of virtual backgrounds:

  • Please generate an image (dimensions of a virtual meeting background) that encapsulates the vibe of a day with [ BLANK ].
  • Please generate an image (dimensions of a virtual meeting background) that features [ BLANK ].

In the blanks, I wrote the things people included in their surveys. Those blanks were filled with everything ranging from dogs, cats, and friends to beverages, specific temperatures, yard games, carbohydrates, hammocks and more! Sometimes, I’d include a detail I knew about that person myself, even if it wasn’t in their survey. Yes, I occasionally editorialized for both clarity and whimsy! This was for delight purposes, but also helped serve my goal of having the backgrounds be “meaningfully different from one another.” It’s amazing how many people’s ideal spring day is as simple as having 1) moderate temperatures and 2) no pollen!

I generated 55 images. Throughout the process, DALL-E nailed it. I only needed to regenerate 2 or 3 images with clarifiers (and only because they included AI-specific outliers like disembodied hands). Huzzah!

Here are some of my favorites, along with their prompts in the captions. Can you guess who they belong to?

Please generate an image (dimensions of a virtual meeting background) that features an outdoor brewery/taproom in the appalachian mountains. There's a playground with kids in the very distance. In the foreground, frisbee, soccer, volleyball, etc. with friends and family.
Please generate an image that encapsulates the vibe of a day ending with an outdoor dinner with lights near an outdoor shower. There should be some hiking boots scattered about.
Please generate an image that features a nice hot bath after a cold but sunny day, with a beautiful mug of green tea and a box of takeout that looks really good. The calendar shows April 25th.
Please generate an image that encapsulates the vibe of sitting outside in a nice purple adirondack chair with buc-ees paraphernalia around.
Please generate an image that encapsulates the vibe of a sunny, 65 degree day with a slight breeze at the ballpark watching a game. The image should feature cats, baseball, and art.
Please generate an image that encapsulates the vibe of being outside in a canoe along with carbs, bad jokes, and games (video OR board games).
Please generate an image that features endless mountain bike trails, a blue bike with a cup of coffee in the cupholder, and roaming cats.


Ok, so for the actual activity we had the images ready to go in a private Google Folder. I took twelve of the images and put them in a very simple deck. I shared my screen, introduced the activity, and invited people to guess who they think each image belonged to in Slack. It was so fun seeing people throw out guesses and then narrow in with any verbal hints I gave!

Each image took about a minute. Then, we shared access to the Google Folder, gave folks a couple minutes to choose a background that called to them (their own image or someone else’s), and set it as their background. It felt like a magical moment to witness people finding and resonating with their own image or delighting in the ridiculousness of their coworkers’. We saved about 5 minutes for this piece, which felt right.

The whole Lovely Spring Day activity took just over 15 minutes! It was a perfect way to transition from a long meal break into our next grouping of content. And, we got to see the different backgrounds throughout the rest of the meeting.

Oh, the humanity!

I think this activity was successful for a couple of reasons.

1. People laughed! 

Color commentary in the #ttt Slack channel

2. People felt seen. Some of these backgrounds were incredibly on point. Some of that was due to key folks having well-documented interests and a Slack-Famous Dog. 

Laura Sweltz has a famous love of books and an incredibly iconic beagle named Phoebe.

But some of it was due to the People Team knowing about our people — our coworkers — beyond the sentence they wrote in. This uniquely human involvement helped me call an audible as needed and tweak prompts slightly to make the backgrounds feel even more relatable.

Steven, Carolyn, and Laura Sweltz felt seen.

3. We could commiserate about our eventual AI overlords. (Did you notice that I say “please” in my prompts?!) Listen, Viget has plenty of practical, healthily skeptical people who are dubious about AI. GenAI is not always a fun, lighthearted thing. But using it in a fun, lighthearted way to do something it’s really good at was a nice use case and thought-provoking exposure even for people who are not into it.

4. We could see where we all align, and where we differ! It was amazing to see just how many people love picnics, covet their caffeine, and appreciate a bike ride. It was also cool to see some unique folks who simply crave a rainy spring day, or some beloved Buc-ee’s. What a rich tapestry of individuals — literally!

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