Remember when the only time we talked about ZOOM was when we were discussing Superman, Tinkerbell or Sonic the Hedgehog? Well, you’ve come a long way, baby!
Now, the word ZOOM can be:
An adjective: “We can connect on a Zoom call.”
A noun: “Let’s use Zoom to conduct the meeting."
And even a verb: “Let’s Zoom at 1:30 Eastern time.”
Remember, too, when we thought that the only people who hung around computers and got their mail electronically were … ‘geeks?’ (Sorry). As of 2019, the percentage of adults in the U.S. who use the internet looks like this:
Psychologist Matthew D. Lieberman, professor at UCLA says in his book, Social, that “the human need to connect is as important as the need for food and shelter.” But how are we supposed to connect at this time when we are told to stay home, limit in-person exposure, and wear a mask?
Enter ZOOM (noun). Don’t sigh and tell me you are tired and bored with the ‘on-line, sitting-at-your-computer-and-watching’ activity. In fact, what was often thought of as impersonal and just too ‘electronic’ has become a rescuer of the lonely, a partner in exercise, an entertainment source, and truly an educational tool for all ages at all stages.
“the human need to connect is as important as the need for food and shelter.”
I know some people have a love/hate relationship with technology. I know, too, that when you are zooming (verb) you can sometimes feel ‘lost in the crowd.’ But if planned properly, there is a way to host an on-line meeting that can be a lot of fun.
Let me introduce you to Zoom (adjective) BREAKOUT ROOMS:
When I started talking about this, my friend Suzanne, said, “Hooray! A place to take a break from the tiresome world of Zoom!” Bob, on the other hand, said, “That sounds like a great way to sneak away from the meeting altogether!” But I think you will find Breakout Rooms to be a welcome change from the full meeting.
I recently attended a conference via Zoom (noun). There were more than 75 people in attendance, and I said my ‘hellos’ to the little rectangles that kept popping up on the screen. Of course, since all of us were muted by the host, I sat at my computer sounding something like this:
“Hello!” “Oh, it’s Joanne – Hi, Joanne!” “Wait – there’s Gary! Hi, Gary.” I was waving my hand around like an airport runway attendant hoping someone would respond. Of course, they couldn’t hear me. At some point my husband shouted from the other room, “What? Are you talking to me?” Finally, I had to settle for my greeting being a yellow emoji hand-wave in the corner of my rectangle.
The meeting officially opened. After we heard the introductions and the agenda, we listened to the invited speaker. Then, just as I was searching for when the first pause in the program would be, the host said, “Ok, now we are going to go to BREAKOUT ROOMS.”
Let’s think about this for a moment here. When you (used to) go to a big gathering of folks, how many people do you actually get to speak with? How often do you introduce yourself to someone you don’t know? When does everyone in the meeting actually get to speak up and share?
The real secret to keeping safe from Zoomitis (yes, even a new word!) is Breakout Rooms. Here’s how it works: The ‘host’ of your Zoom meeting has the control button titled “Breakout Rooms” along the bottom of the screen. Once pressed, this offers the chance to create new, smaller rooms in which to connect, based on the number of people per room requested and the duration of time spent there. In my case, we were often broken into no more than four per room, usually for 8-10 minutes, depending on the assignment.
The real secret to keeping safe from
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC