Thanks to Zoom, I Actually Enjoyed a Meeting

Today was the first time I’ve used the software program Zoom to be part of a meeting.

Given the current state of affairs, my guess is that many people are also using Zoom, or a similar program, for the first time. Zoom can be used for business meetings, teacher/student interactions, or to simply stay in touch with friends and relatives.

Here’s a brief video providing an overview of Zoom:

I found Zoom to be incredibly easy to use, and quite effective. And in many ways, more effective than a physical get together:

  • When a person is speaking in a Zoom meeting, that person’s face is front and center, allowing the focus to be completely on that person, minimizing distractions. (at least that’s the way it was with the meeting I attended; there may be other controls in Zoom that show everyone’s face equally, whether they are speaking or not. If so, I like the option that we were using). I’m usually pretty quiet at meetings, but for some reason, I found it easier to speak up during the Zoom meeting. This may be due to the fact that everyone seemed more conscious of making sure that everyone had a chance to say something if they wanted to. Such a dynamic does not seem to be present at most meetings I attend.
  • Zoom meetings have the obvious advantage of allowing a person to attend a meeting from anywhere, saving time and travel costs, leading to increased productivity.
  • Zoom meetings have the ability to be easily recorded for later viewing, which would be useful for people who could not attend or to simply review and verify what was said during the meeting.
  • The people at our meeting also seemed more relaxed, perhaps because they were in comfortable surroundings, in this case, their home. This also made the meeting more personable; at one point, a participant’s dog joined the meeting for a brief moment or two. Such slices of life can help people get to know each other a little bit better than a regular meeting.
  • Another feature that I found enjoyable is that you could choose a virtual background to be displayed behind you. Zoom comes with a couple of defaults, such as a beach background that looked very enticing, or you can add your own image. One person selected a picture of her dog as her background. Not only does this once again allow participants to add that personal touch, but it may be handy if you don’t want the other attendees to see how messy the room is that you’re sitting in at the moment.
  • One final advantage of using Zoom, and perhaps the most relevant one these days, is that it allows social distancing (yes! I finally got to use that phrase in one of my blog posts!). I would guess that the use of Zoom has exploded in the past week precisely because of this reason. But I think once people recognize how easy and effective such meetings are, it will continue to be a popular tool once this crisis has passed.

So congrats to the developers of Zoom for creating such a useful product, and I wish you continued success. I actually look forward to the next time I can use it…

*image from Newsweek

27 thoughts on “Thanks to Zoom, I Actually Enjoyed a Meeting

  1. 🙂 Some of my fellow bloggers use Zoom (I have heard great things about it).

    I have been using Skype for years (I have been using it way before Microsoft bought it back in 2011).

    Skype handles all of my needs.

    By the way, if you are impressed with Zoom, you might as well continue using it.

    Do have yourself a wonderful week, Jim.

    1. I have used Skype a couple of times as well. I’m not really sure what the pros and cons are of each system, but I am sure they all have the same basic functionality. I hope you have a great week as well, Renard!

  2. I have used a number of different meeting platforms. Zoom is definitely one of the better ones. Plenty of great features and highly reliable. I agree with you that it lends a very different feel to the meeting. Much more casual and relaxed. Plus super efficient. This may be the way of the world for awhile!

  3. sounds wonderful and i may actually love a meeting for the first time, too. we may be using this to plan the rest of our school year with fellow teachers. love that the background is changeable.

    1. it does seem quite easy to use. In fact, my wife and I tried it using our phones yesterday for a simple video chat, 20 feet from each other (it’s that whole social distancing thing…) It worked fine, except our phones were not new enough to do the virtual background (you need at least an iPhone 8).

    1. thanks, Norah. It’s good to hear that you have had such a positive experience with it. And I’m still waiting for my phone to ring with that job offer… 🙂

    1. I can’t imagine what the increase in the usage of such programs must have been like this past week. It is a great solution to the problem many businesses are facing in terms of no more face to face meetings.

  4. We have Skype and Microsoft Teams and I believe Zoom is going to become one of our work tools soon too, Jim. I don’t mind working from home, I actually find it very productive. I am supervising my boys home schooling too for the next 7 weeks. The teachers are posting work, videos and the like which is marvelous. I assume you can continue to teach virtually too?

    1. I’ve never tried Teams, but I have heard good things about it. How do your boys like the change to online learning? What tools are their teachers using? As for me, it was a perfect time to teach abroad because my class finished two weeks ago, and I have no teaching now until summer school (which I hope is still a go…).

    1. I’ve used Go To Meeting as well, but that was a few years ago, so I really can’t compare the two. But Zoom was quite easy, and seems to be quite popular right now.

  5. I’m curious: are there any downsides to the virtual meeting for you? What, if anything, do you find is missing from the face-to-face interaction?

    1. the only possible downside was missing the informal gathering after such a meeting just to catch up with each other. I guess you could still do this, but it would seem awkward.

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