Zooming Around

What have you learned from four months of intense Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Google Meetup, Amazon Chime, and other online meetings? Here are my thoughts.

Positives

  • Unlike the telephone, we get to see other people. And a lot of other people.
  • Also unlike the phone, we can make or view presentations.
  • There have been a lot of learning opportunities (and God knows we all have had the time).
  • They’re safe, unless you spill your coffee on your keyboard.
  • We can actually see nuances like facial expressions.
  • We get to be casual.
  • These meetings will replace some phone calls. I’d much rather have a Zoom call versus a phone call if we have to go over things for an extended time.
  • Most important, we can easily mute what’s going on and still look interested.

Negatives

  • Fatigue as in Zoom fatigue but it applies to all online calls. There can be just too many.
  • They take longer. A 5-minute call is a 20-minute Zoom, which would be 45 minutes plus travel if in person.
  • Connectivity becomes a much bigger issue than cell coverage.
  • There are some home-offices I just don’t want to see.
  • There are personal hygiene habits best not seen.
  • People talk over each other (just like they do in meetings).
  • You catch people multi-tasking and asking others to repeat themselves (pay attention the first time please).

Any other positives or negatives to share? Let me know. Seriously, these meetings are here to stay. They won’t replace the phone, especially calls while we’re in the car, walking the dog, etc. They surely won’t completely replace in-person meetings and get togethers. They’re another method of communication. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the demise of meetings, in-office versus remote work, and similar is divided by type of work. Those in tech and similar are convinced there’s not much need for offices. But you still have to build a relationship to get a client. Creativity doesn’t happen over the phone or online. Just a guess, but when hiring someone you may want to look them in the eye, in person. Even in construction, a relationship means they trust your bid and you don’t build six or seven figure relationships online. 

I paged through my membership directory for Seattle Executives and of the over 100 businesses in the group I only noticed a handful or so of businesses that can survive long-term without in-person contact. A new norm indeed and still a work in progress.

“I would imagine that if you could understand Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.” (Comedian) Mitch Hedberg

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