This Zoom Call Could’ve Been an Email
We are now deep in the throes of autumn, which means that all of you pumpkin spiced latte lovers out there no longer need to feel shame for quaffing your potpourri-flavored calorie bombs in a summer month, but I digress.
As the holidays of November and December approach, I usually look forward to days off from work filled with family, friends, a few cocktails, and likely some smoked or barbecued meat. This year, I am adding to that list: I am genuinely pumped to have a few weekdays free of Zoom meetings. Days where I won’t fire up the video camera, check my background or make sure my lighting has the correct hue to accent my balding dome. And I plan on enjoying every second of it.
My sense is you’re nodding your head in agreement as I’m writing something that most everyone is thinking. After 3,201,337 video conferencing meetings of one sort or another during the past six months, I have full-on Zoom fatigue. Like many of you, I suspect it wasn’t always this way, so let’s take a trip back in time—all the way back to April 2020.
I’m sure you remember it, although not likely fondly, as the realities of COVID-19 laid waste to life as everyone knew it, and the world forever changed. There were mass corporate layoffs and furloughs, sporting events at every level canceled, schools closing sending millions of students home to be homeschooled alongside their working (if they were lucky) parents, and everyone discovered—and harnessed—the power of video conferencing.
At first, it was a fantastic way to create a human connection in a crazy time when all of us had to shelter in place. Then came the first virtual happy hour, the weekly staff Zoom meetings, the second virtual happy hour, the video team lunches, the third virtual happy hour, and the meetings about how often to hold the weekly staff Zoom meetings. Then add the folks who love continually playing with their virtual backgrounds (admission: I was that guy for a while), people who don’t realize they are on mute, the ones who need to be on mute because they are ordering Chipotle from Door Dash during the meeting, and the humans who just can’t seem to understand the correct angle for video. Hint: top, good—chin, bad.
Joking aside, we are overusing Zoom and video conferencing much in the same way we can be “meetinged to death.” This isn’t to say that Zoom meetings are bad—they aren’t. Heck, we use them regularly at brandivate to connect both internally and externally with our clients, and the occasional virtual happy hours are fantastic! However, we try to be judicious with them and show discretion about when to have and not to have Zoom calls.
Just because we have the technology to pop into everyone’s home workspace doesn’t mean that privilege needs to be abused. So, as your friendly guide, here are a few tips and thoughts as you think about asking your coworkers or clients to have a video meeting instead of using the phone (or an email):
- Video meetings before 11:00 a.m. on Mondays and after 3:00 p.m. on Fridays absolutely stink
- Ask yourself if a phone call would suffice. Remember, pre-COVID, we were all very content to have phone conversations with clients when we couldn’t see them
- Most people eat lunch at their desks, so skip the Zoom while they are noshing
- Save the Zoom meeting for essential things like presentations, when screens need to be shared, or when the topic is of a sensitive nature
- Don’t attend more than one virtual happy hour a day (again, guilty)
More than anything, before requesting a video meeting, ask yourself if it's really necessary to see that person. In some cases, it might be critical to do precisely that. However, much like meetings that could’ve been handled in an email, not every conference call requires virtual face-to-face interaction.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go figure out what I’m going to do with my time over the holidays.
Bill has over 20 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products companies, always working collaboratively to achieve the “wow” desired by the target audience.
A Managing Partner at brandivate, a full-service marketing services and advertising agency, Bill is featured speaker at numerous national and international events, a serial creator of content marketing, and co-host of the industry-leading podcast, Promo UPFront. Bill has extensive experience defining brand strategy, creating successful marketing campaigns, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.
A fierce advocate for the Promotional Products Industry, he is the Immediate Past President of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, has worked closely with senior leadership at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) on many committees and work groups. In appreciation of his years of service to the promotional products industry, Bill was named as an inaugural PPAI Fellow—a program designed to recognize influential individuals who have actively supported the industry through personal involvement.
Bill lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of 26 years, Sandy, and their 17-year-old twin boys, Drew and Mitch.