Welp, it’s coming up on a year … a whole year of Zoom Zooming! And let’s face it, it’s been both a blessing and a curse. First, let’s count our blessings …

We love that we can keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues across the miles. By now, we’ve attended Zoom birthday parties, weddings, graduations, funerals, festivals, conferences and all the other familiar functions that would have normally had us hugging each other – IRL.

We also curse looking at a screen day in and day out as a replacement for what feeds our soul – social interactions. Even introverts are missing the nuances of “normal” living – the barista that knows what we drink or the crossing guard that waves a friendly “hello” as we drive by.

YES, this Zoom screenshot of a virtual birthday party/networking event is just as quirky and imperfect as our Zoom experiences are!

Of course we know now that with the bells and whistles of Zoom, combined with top notch facilitation skills, we can have fun, playful events on Zoom whether it’s to connect with co-workers, or, whether it’s to connect with the cousins. One tiny piece we may be overlooking in all of this is the simple human piece – especially when it comes to Zoom work events. With that I bring you a sprinkle of human reminders for those times when we Zoomers forget:

Say My Name – When I’m facilitating a team building session on zoom, I literally feel a wave of joy when someone refers to me by name … even if they don’t actually know me! We’re having the same shared experience, and, we have our names in those little boxes so why not use them? Our connections feel so much more connection-y. (Yes, that’s totally a real word.)

Take in the Scenery – I love, love, love it when someone’s dog, cat or tiny person Zoom bombs a session! It makes it so much more real. When I’m facilitating a laughter yoga session and my dogs start barking, I let everyone know that bark yoga is going on in the next room. If I see a tiny person in the wings, I invite them to laugh with us. When someone’s cat gets in the mix, I try to invite mine but they’re just not that into it. You get the point – there are a TON of things to connect over that are already right there in the tiny boxes.

Acknowledge the Extraordinary – YES, it’s weird to do an improv show online. YES, it’s weird to be hugging ourselves instead of hugging each other. YES, it’s weird to be doing ALL THE THINGS! And when we do them together, and embrace the weirdness, it becomes a fun shared experience that we can all reflect back on positively – together.

Check IN so No One Checks OUT – Recently, I attended a Zoom meeting that I assumed was going to be a BIG one. It was not and I was make-up-less in a square unable to hide. No check ins needed there! On the flip side, when the group is larger and some of the squares have their cameras off, it’s soooooo great to just see how everyone’s doing. What you’re really saying is, “I see you” even if you don’t literally see anything but a black box. It can sometimes be easy to hide when zooming and that’s when check outs are more likely to happen.

HAVE ALL THE FUN! – Seems sort of like a “Duh!” moment here but it’s a good reminder as so much of life is not-so-much-fun at the moment. If we have the intention to have fun, we will and others zooming with us are more likely to have fun too. Keep the positive energy alive through the interwebs and your al-gore-ithim is a happy one. (Thanks folks, I’ll be here all night!)

So whether you’re a facilitator, a teacher, a meeting host, a performer, an attendee or merely an accidental Zoomer, commit to the human side of zooming and we can all have a richer experience — together.

If you have any human Zoom tips, I’d love to hear them.