Has Zooming Changed Us?

Are we more vulnerable and open on Zoom?

If you are like me, you have been spending a good deal of time zooming these days. I guess that word has now become a part of our language much the same way as “googling” has. It seems there are days when I go from one Zoom meeting to the next. I love that you get to see someone; it makes a huge difference from just a voice on the phone. Of course, make-up and hair are not important on a phone call, but they do matter a bit more with cameras on.

Dressing has changed for me. Tops yes, the rest of it, shorts, sweats, whatever my mood or the weather. I play around with virtual backgrounds and I see others are doing the same. Changing from the beach to an autumn leaf-filled path to a sunset picture I took in my backyard.

One other thing I have noticed is the frankness and openness with which people are expressing themselves. There is a real vulnerability and honesty when talking about how this bizarre situation has affected them, their business, and/or other people they know or areas of their lives. People are letting their guard down on Zoom. I have been wondering about this. I am feeling that the computer, for some reason, makes us more likely to be more vulnerable than if we were actually sitting in a room with 10, 20, 30, 40+ other people. Some of the Trustegrity meetings I have been chairing have had 40+ business people from all over and they are open, transparent, and vulnerable with each other. It reminds me of one of my favorite movie lines, “Whoever you are…I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Know it?

I believe that the safety of our home or wherever we are zooming from is part of it. Wearing more casual, comfortable clothes is another. Not being stressed over a long commute might add to it as well. I am not suggesting that people aren’t stressed, although I have to admit that even those I talk with whose businesses have been profoundly affected by the pandemic do not seem to be “freaking out.” Of course, I am not referring to people who have lost loved ones or have been ill themselves. I’m talking about the lack of panic on the part of business owners that I am zooming with every day. Maybe it’s that there is help coming in dollars from government programs, maybe it’s that we sense positive energy somewhere in all this, or maybe it’s just that zooming with others brings a sense of camaraderie and collaboration.

Whatever it is, I suspect that many people are rethinking hours of long commutes each day, living far from family, working at jobs they don’t particularly find fulfilling, and maybe realizing that there is more to life than the sometimes insane hectic pace we were living at before. I know for me, I am working more hours but getting more done, and thoroughly enjoying all the business people I am getting to know via Zoom.

I would love your thoughts on your experiences during these crazy times.

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