It took me three weeks before I felt it… the death by Zoom. At first, I loved skipping the commute and having fun online dress-up parties with friends. But, by the third week my body would recoil at the idea of spending another moment on a screen. A future of virtual reality was rapidly losing all appeal. I tried all the things...
Using an online communication platform is like speaking in a different language. I resented being forced into the one-way communication. It started giving me anxiety when people would talk over each other. Every conversation was THIS.
Here you go. My personal tips for surviving death by zoom in case you’re feeling the burnout too.
Remember, this is not normal. Before doing anything else, take a moment to acknowledge that this is not normal. If there is a tiny (or loud) voice inside of you that wants to smash your screen, and feels anxious or avoidant, pause and give that voice gratitude. Your body knows it’s not healthy human behavior to stare into a screen all day.
Cancel. Ask yourself – do you really need to have this meeting? Really? If not, cancel it or shorten it. If you are not sure why you were invited to the call, ask the host or check with your manager to confirm if you really need to be there.
Set a clear agenda. Is this call for connection or function? Do you need to discuss something or make decisions? A well-structured call will help participation know why they are there. State the purpose of the call at the beginning of the meeting.
Request feedback. At Seven Star, my women’s Kung Fu group, after every class they pause for a couple minutes of feedback from the participants. This helps everyone stay engaged and provides good ideas for how to make calls/classes better. Ask, “how did this call go for you?” or “what can we do next time to improve this call?”
Try humor. There is great wisdom in humor and absurdity. Have you heard the conference call song?
Use good virtual meeting etiquette. While it may seem like the most boring thing to learn, a well-facilitated virtual meeting can be heaven-sent. A strong facilitator will go a long way.
Fancy up your “office space.” Create an environment that is welcoming and soothing to your senses. There is plenty of research about how your physical environment impacts you. Get a pillow for your chair. Have a fresh glass of water. Put some new spring flowers on your desk. Design for comfort.
Remember, this is not normal. It’s so important I’ll say it again. These are unprecedented times. We're experiencing the type of change that will be written into history books. The type of change that doesn’t allow us to go back to “normal.”
Now is the time to sink deep into your soul. Listen. And take stock of what is really working and what really isn’t. This will change the face of work, of how we socialize, of how we vote and of how we decide to build a world moving forward. There’s no better time to toss out what’s not working, and invite in new possibilities.