The new normal
2020 has without doubt accelerated the market for streaming and digital meetings like never before. We now not only have the occasional and essential meetings via digital, but rather all types of activities, many of them which we never thought were possible to do online, or would be even remotely enjoyable. People have worked out in their apartments with a remote yoga instructor and had their entire university Calculus classes - from intro to last day of exam - entirely remotely. Others have formed new important relationships via video calls, gone to concerts, and some have even attended their loved ones’ funerals online
. Digital has become the new normal.
The pleasant surprises of digital
Some, or let’s be honest, quite a lot of meetings and situations have been awkward and strange, but there have also been a variety of activities we thought would suck, that have actually turned out to be surprisingly fun and efficient remotely. Let’s look at some of the positive aspects of remote work:Those never-ending meetings are now clearly scheduled and it’s easier to keep to the agenda. Everyone can speak up. People that previously did not get a saying in meetings can now be more involved. The environment is much happier from people working at home and large events can now be attended from all over the world with the power of digital, and without the cost of traveling. Scheduling a call is easy. Therefore, decisions do not have to be rushed. Rather, one can sleep on difficult issues, and meet again the next day if necessary.
Not so fun digital headaches
So, this rapid growth and fast change has also caused a lot of headaches for all of the users out there - from dealing with Zoombombing to the buffer face. The technology does not always work as intended and sometimes it is not used in the right way. Rethinking how a meeting should be conducted is really important for digital; you cannot just apply the same processes as before and expect them to do wonders.This past year also produced the term Zoom fatigue
- relating to the idea that video calls drain our energy
and makes us feel much more tired than physical meetings would. This relates to the fact that our brains have to work harder to figure out non-verbal cues such as body language and tone of voice - things we rely on in-person. Then there is the fact that we have to watch our own face all the time, which makes us hyper-aware of ourselves, our background, appearance etc. and have the feeling of having to perform because we are in the stage light. Also, there are a variety of distractions available in the online setting - updating your status on Facebook or checking Twitter is just a tab away.
So Zoom fatigue is real, here is how to handle it
If you have not already, it is time to adapt your meeting formats to cope with these headaches that can occur in the digital setting. Here are 4 practical tips to bring into 2021 when organizing digital meetings and events:
1. Always have an agenda
Have a clear purpose in mind for the meeting. Communicate this on before-hand, so people can prepare, and know what to expect. Break it down into bullets that are easy to follow and keep the set out time-frame - don’t let things drag out in time.
2. Schedule ice-breakers
Getting to know new people in a digital meeting or event should not be awkward or impossible. Simply prepare some questions for the participants to discuss in breakouts for a few minutes before the meeting starts. Don’t take this process for granted, plan it. Maybe even let the participants play some games to get to know each other. Make it fun!
3. Reduce the length of meetings
Use shorter time periods, like 30min. This allows everyone to stay alert.
4. Take breaks
Schedule breaks in between the meetings or events. People will not be able to stay focused if you book too many back-to-back meetings, even if they’re short. Increase productivity by encouraging a coffee pause, bathroom break, or a leg-stretcher.
5. Have calls without video
Video is not always essential for a meeting. Try having some meetings where the camera is turned off and you focus on listening. Maybe even combine it with a walk outside, to get fresh air and new perspectives.