Why face-to-face conversations are essential
In the Disney Channel original movie “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century,” the protagonist is enamored by a song called “Supernova Girl.” The hook to that song?
Take a listen: ⬇️
“Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.” They all knew what our life would be like in this, the 21st century.
All jokes aside, the last two months have been hard. No doubt about it. Now, I don’t know about any of you, but even though I don’t really go anywhere, I am not married, nor do I have any children, I’m exhausted. It doesn’t add up, but somehow, it’s still wholly true.
On a normal, non-pandemic day, it’s hard to picture myself attempting to wrangle and entertain a handful of mini-mes before and after a workday, yet there are rockstar individuals out there doing that all day, every day, within four walls that constantly feel like they’re slowly closing in.
I don’t know how they do it, and frankly, I don’t really care. However you decide to healthfully navigate this unsettling time is fine by me. Don’t ever feel bad. Try not to feel inadequate. We’re all just trying to do the best for the people that we love. Keep doing you. 💛
OK. Mini positive rant over. Moving on to what I’m supposed to be writing about: Zoomin’.
I live alone, which obviously has its fair share of positives and negatives during a pandemic. On one hand, I am safer, I never have to fight over what to watch on Netflix (Outer Banks, duh) and if things get a little messy sometimes, that’s OK. On the other hand, there’s no one to split utilities with, no one to play foosball against, and to be honest, it gets quite lonely sometimes, and that’s really tough to overcome.
Before I started at Flint Group, I worked from home in a marketing role for six months in my first real job after graduating. It was for a great company that was small and family-owned with an even smaller marketing team: myself. There were days when I honestly wouldn’t say a single word. I constantly found myself in a creative rut, thirsting for inspiration that was hard to come by. I didn’t get it when I worked from a coffee shop, and I didn’t get it when I worked from my cabin. It was no fault of my superiors or the job. For me, it truly was the isolation and loneliness.
Now, after a year of traveling all over the country and Canada for video shoots once a month and working in a fun and exciting office with a team that I truly adore, I’m back to isolation, but this time, it’s different.
This time, we video chat. LIKE, A LOT. I had the ability before, but nobody to really talk to. Now, I have the ability and countless colleagues and teammates, and BOY do we talk.
I have seven weekly meetings with different groups, along with a handful that get peppered in throughout the week. In one group, we talk about construction projects. In another, we talk about how we’re doing amidst everything happening. In another, we close with talking about recent personal and professional wins. No two meetings are the same.
Some days get pretty stacked with meetings. One of my coworkers recently said, “I love Wednesdays. I just see so many faces.”
Even though there are times when I have a hot project or a lot of work to get done, I still try to make every meeting. I believe that the closer we can live our lives to how it was before, while also still following all the governmental rules, the easier it is to cope with the changes and the easier it will be to eventually return to the office full time.
Though video chatting is a wonderful piece of technology, it’s hard to measure its financial effects. Video chatting is not quantitative. There’s no real way to tell how much more business is generated or how much more productivity takes place when you meet face-to-face over Zoom or Microsoft Teams as opposed to a phone call.
That’s because you don’t measure it. You feel it. You feel your team’s morale boosting in a weekly Friday happy hour. You feel a true connection being built with your clients when you can solve their problems in front of their eyes. You feel like you can be yourself again, something that doesn’t happen as often as it should. I like feeling like myself.
A phone call can’t do that.
Face-to-face communication can.
It applies outside the office as well. I’m video chatting with family members that I used to call. I’m playing and writing trivia games with friends that live across the Atlantic Ocean. I’m able to enjoy days like Mother’s Day with my parents and aunts and uncles. This week, I sat in as a mystery guest in a second grade virtual classroom in my hometown taught by my varsity basketball coach.
I even got to chat with my grandpa, however brief.
I ran into a family friend the other day who left me with this parting thought: “We should be glad this didn’t take place 20 years ago.”
As painful as it can be sometimes, I don’t think any of us can truly grasp how important our technology infrastructure is positively affecting our lives. Like I said, you can’t measure this. You feel it.
When I am able to see the faces of my loved ones, friends and colleagues without having to leave my 425 sq. ft. studio apartment, I know I feel it.
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom does indeed make my heart go boom, boom, boom.