Since we are “Zooming” almost all the time, online meetings can now get downright boring. We have Zoom Coffee’d, Zoom Happy Houred, and Zoom Trivia Nighted to name a few. So what are some other ways to spice up online networking meetings, for both personal and professional purposes, when we are bored by what we have been doing? Here are some thoughts on making the most of Zoom networking. The good news, you can have fun and still accomplish a lot.
Zoom Athletes: Zoom while walking or jogging with someone or a small group. Not only does it get you out in the fresh air more, but you can be more committed when you have someone to talk to while walking or jogging. You can more than likely stay on pace, meet personal goals and make the time pass faster. Zoom walking or running can energize you to do it more often and that will definitely help with the pandemic blues.
Zoom Meditations: Zooming to meditate with someone actually keeps you more accountable to sitting still through the mediation. When I am by myself, I have a tendency to look down at the timer, look at my phone, etc. It’s too easy to get distracted. But when done with someone else or a group, you will find you’re more committed. Give it a go and see how much better you do.
Zoom As Is: When someone says to me (usually women) “Is the networking chat on zoom or by phone?” I know most of us chicks are thinking “Do I need to get dressed up for this?” So I often say, “Let’s zoom…but no need to dress up…ok?” Or, let’s Zoom but video is optional. This “as is” feel in and of itself creates a different vibe…a more human vibe. And who doesn’t want to cha chill a bit during these trying times.
Zoom Bread-Breaking: Pre-Covid rules for online meeting rules recommended that you didn’t eat during the meeting. But “breaking bread” with colleagues and personal friends is the one thing I miss most about pandemic life. So I say let’s break the rules and set up “Bread-Breaking” Zoom meetings. I encourage people to have breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a cookie break together, when needed. Sharing a meal with people is important. We once had the option to eat in person with new and existing contacts, so let’s carry this concept over to Zoom meetings to get to know people in a less business like setting. Since we shouldn’t eat in person much for safety reasons for a bit longer, let’s break bread over Zoom!
Zoom Monthly Tasting Events: And speaking of breaking bread, who doesn’t love tasting events, especially during the holidays and carrying this idea into the New Year? The good news is that you can still have your favorite beverage or food tastings even during the pandemic. Wine, coffee, tea, hot sauce, bread, cheese, olives, chocolate, desserts, and all kinds of themed food/drink tastings are still fun to do in online groups. While it takes a bit more prep-planning on behalf of everyone participating, you will discover the added benefit of learning about new and exciting foods and drinks by having to shop for products to bring to the Zoom tasting versus how we used to do it by showing up to someone’s house. So go ahead and plan a tasting event and spice it up with some fun options you might not have tried previously.
Zoom Biz Book Clubs: One positive effect the pandemic is having is more family time and also more time for reading. Without the option of going out to dinners, shopping, etc., more people than ever are enjoying sitting back and reading a great book! And even better, you can host a Zoom biz book club and discuss these books with all your friends and associates. Add a little wine and you’ll have the perfect book club meeting.
Zoom New Year’s Parties: Just because you can’t gather together, doesn’t mean you have to forego the New Year festivities. Many companies today are ringing in the New Year by implementing Zoom New Year celebration parties. Who isn’t happy to welcome 2021? Let’s forget all about 2020 and go into 2021 renewed and inspired. The challenge many face during these meetings though is everyone talking at once, but that can easily be resolved with a laid out plan on how the party will actually take place. Since this online party reduces drinking and driving, who knows it might turn into an annual event because everyone had a great time and stayed safe!
Things might be different today, but as you can see, even in the most challenging of times you can still have fun and make networking connections. These should help.
Lisa Rangel is the founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes LLC (https://chameleonresumes.com/) an executive resume writing and job landing consulting firm named a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. Rangel has authored 16 career resources found at joblandingacademy.com