Testing, Testing—Is this Thing On?
I’m seeing astounding overreactions to virtual meetings and presentations. While I admire the entrepreneurs who produce lighting, sound, multiple screens, and a gamut of broadcasting aids, it does remind me of seeking perfection instead of simply success.
I like seeing people seated comfortably on a Zoom call, and while I try to look as though I haven’t just awoken (although sometimes I have for my global obligations), I don’t think I need to look as though I’m broadcasting from the BBC or CNN. (The best livestream session I ever had was when the police arrived at my house because of a false alarm signal, and were confronted by my German Shepherd, requiring a backup car. Some of the audience members said it was the most dramatic workshop they’d every been in.)
The more informal things seem, the better communication I achieve. If we formalize simple Zoom calls to become theatrical events or state-of-the-union speeches, we only create the same kind of stiffness, barriers, and “canned” goods. Would you rather listen to a politician or me? No contest.
I believe that remote meetings, speeches, workshops, and the like are here to stay, and good on that. But like those people who go on real stages demanding certain lighting, and music, and introductions, and seating arrangements—give it a break. Is the presentation really enhanced, or do the bells and whistles become the presentation? The worst part about Zoom is that it seems to be reinvigorating PowerPoint!
When organizers used to ask me before a speech what they could arrange or do for me, I’d simply say, “Just get out of my way.”