To Zoom or Not to Zoom?
I went to my first in person meeting last week.
Wow did that stress me out remembering that I had to get showered and dressed. Almost ran late!
Once I got there, a group of us sat indoors in an airy room with high ceilings, long tables, bench seats, spaced apart, masks up. Coats on (and one woman brought a blanket!) because it was a cool windy day and the big sliding doors were open. You know, for ventilation.
The great part? This took place on a hill overlooking a farm, and watching the cows graze and the flowers blow in the wind truly was stunning.
Online or in person?
Between the wind blowing, trying to keep warm, attempting to hear everyone speak through their masks, especially when they weren’t looking in my direction, my ability to pay attention waned as the time passed.
Leaving the meeting I thought:
This meeting could have been on Zoom.
- Could have saved travel time
- Would have been warm
- Hearing people, without masks, would have been so much easier.
Having worked with clients over the years, and run my own meetings, I developed the belief that if you intend to bring people together in person, make it worth their while. If the information you share can easily be shared in an email, then send an email and don’t waste everyone’s time.
In addition, friends and colleagues have told me, “I love not having to drive anywhere!”
This all begs the question To Zoom or Not to Zoom?
Based on my experiences over the last year Zoom works well for:
- Moderated Panels. Panels are typically inspirational and informational in nature, with Q & A the only interaction. A skilled facilitator will incorporate breakout rooms or some other interaction.
- Networking Events. I’ve had great success with 1 hour online networking. Especially when they are fast moving, use breakout rooms and forgo the individuals introductions/elevator speeches.
- Small Group Workshops. 6 to 8 people max (6 is better) works well for a 3 or 4 hour intensive that includes breakout rooms, full group interaction and more.
Personally, I have NOT enjoyed talking at people for 30 minutes or an hour without interaction and everyone having their video off. And I see no reason to gather people in person for what amounts to basic information sharing.
Lots of people think gathering in person = connection. But it doesn’t equal connection when all you do is talk at people.
This holds true online and in person. So #shedtheformality and STOP doing it. (Not sure how? Let’s talk. I have some ideas.)
Moving forward my decisions about meetings and events will be more discerning. Not because I don’t like people. I do enjoy the company and energy of others. But because not every meeting is deserving of the time and effort it takes to meet in person.
How about you?
- Have you started meeting in person?
- Thumbs up or thumbs down?
- Do you like driving a lot and miss it?
Leave a comment, I’d love to know!
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About the blog
Insights & inspiration to make human interactions like speaking, networking, facilitating less awkward & boring and more natural & engaging.
Topics include presence, getting your message across, relationship building, staying poised under pressure, running a meeting, dealing with burnout and more.
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