Dear Eventprofs, friends and colleagues
Firstly, I want to wish you and your families good health during this really troubling time.
We are using the word unprecedented a lot right now, and we see that week by week our world is changing and not always for the better as it once did.
We don’t know what the future holds, we are all worried about family, friends, colleagues and careers.
We are seeing experts pop up on every social media platform telling us to use Zoom, Houseparty, Mural, HubSpot, Kapost, Survey Monkey, Prezi.. the list and the noise continues.
Our main priority is trying to balance maintaining engagement with our clients, participants plus friends and family whilst juggling the many technological products our peers rave about.
We are all being told how great online is, when we are humans who crave the physicality of connecting face to face. We KNOW that online is better for sustainability, we KNOW that online isn’t going to go away but can we all please remember it is ok to be sad that we aren’t getting those hugs, aren’t getting those conversations or business connections in between sessions with random people you’ve met by chance at the water cooler and we aren’t getting to visit the places we love to experience, feel the sunshine on our faces whilst watching the world go by in Sevilla, Rome, Las Vegas etc. (swap with cities or places you love)
I think it is ok to not be ok all the time. As a person who thrives in a people centric environment, I am exhausted after 3 hours of zoom meetings, followed by a “virtual” networking, followed by family calls. I am shattered when I get off the final call talking about Covid-19, a word I didn’t know existed 3 months ago. I find myself sobbing at the most ridiculous things (mostly listening to the radio and hearing the wonderful acts of kindness and the people who are isolated and alone) and feel my temper shortening when I see yet another round robin do this or that quiz or yet another “factual’ corona post on social media.
I think I am normal 😊 and want to reach out and actually write from the honest bottom of my heart and say what no-one else wants to say. THIS SUCKS!!!!
So, what are we going to do about all this?
Read. If you do nothing else after this blog, download or buy Haemin Sunim call Love for Imperfect Things This book is a complete and utter joy in a world that none of us currently understand (if we ever did before) It is calming, it is guidance, it is emotional and it is witty. All things we need right now. Let me know when you’ve read it!
Lose some of the noise. With more time on our hands, with no “normal” we are easily pushed online as this is where the world is connected right now. However, it is too easy to go from sad news on the BBC (or any channel of your choice) to confusion on social media, to drama on television. Enjoy some silence. Listen to nature (a joy that we all hopefully can experience due to the reduction in traffic and pollution) and breathe. It’s amazing how much calmer you’ll feel after ten big deep breaths whilst hearing birdsong.
Take some tips on our zoom calls. Here are 5 below. For free 😊
They come from experience of human observation, from being a moderator and from spending time in front of a camera for a job. They are tips to help, not persuade or indeed sell. But hopefully the next call you have, you’ll use these, and the meeting will be that little easier to facilitate or participate in. More tips to follow after I’ve completed the Going Online Certification with the Meeting Design Institute this month!
Tip 1) BEFORE you get online, take some time to look at you! Spend a few minutes looking at where your head/body is positioned in the camera. When you look down at your papers/notes do you disappear from camera? Are you central to the camera? Is the lighting right in the room (a soft light towards you – think of the lights when you had your school photo taken!) will make all the difference. Do not look at yourself once in your meeting, don’t fiddle with your hair and remember to look at the camera. Channel your inner Trevor McDonald (google him if you don’t know this legend)
Tip 2) If you are the meeting chair or facilitator, start the meeting by reminding all attendees to mute! You (in Zoom) also have the ability to mute those who forget. Make sure you find that button.
Tip 3) Run through the agenda, even show on screen so that people do not need to jump onto their outlook or wherever they have saved the agenda. From the outset remind people how they can interact whether it is via the chat box, polling or by putting a hand up. And lastly remind attendees to say who they are once they have unmuted, not everyone’s picture or name will be on screen.
Tip 4) Appreciate when you are in a meeting environment online that when you ask for a comment from a participant, they need time to unmute and respond. Pausing is difficult but you need to try and feel more comfortable allowing the pauses to ensure your meeting flows better.
Tip 5) If someone can’t hear you, trust me that they will let you know. Please stop asking if everyone can hear you. This takes up valuable time and creates disengagement. If the technology is good, and if you are off mute (!) then assume everyone can hear you unless you are told otherwise.
Treat the online meeting room as you would the real one. You would wear something other than your pj’s, you wouldn’t eat your breakfast (unless networking!) and you wouldn’t disappear to do the washing up during a face to face meeting. Feedback to the meeting organisers if you feel the meetings need more engagement and if you do need further support to put your meetings or events online effectively, why not give me a call? I’d love to zoom with you 😊
Stay home, stay safe, wash your hands and be happy 😊