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How Zoom Wins Over In-Person Meetings

Zoom bridges the gap between you and a seat at the table.

The CIO advisor of Zoom, Magnus Falk, wants to make Zoom better than in-person meetings.

We are a long way from Zoom meetings becoming the default, but it’s hard to ignore the advantages of video conferencing over in-person meetings.

When it comes to having an impact, it’s not only about sitting at the table, but also whether your voice will be heard. We often think that just being physically present at a meeting means you are part of the conversation, but in-person meetings can often create environments in which important things are left unsaid. Consider the following scenarios:

  • The meeting just ended, and you weren’t able to ask a question or give feedback because .
  • You noticed that your shy, but brilliant colleague hasn’t spoken up about her idea yet —if only there was a way you could .
  • The potential client you’re hoping to make a deal with just asked you a difficult question — if only you could .
  • You had an opinion in an ongoing discussion, but decided not to attend the meeting .

In today’s virtual world, Zoom has created an unlimited number of seats at the table. Used creatively, Zooms emoji reactions and chat interface could be used to elevate impact in everyday meetings.

Here are a few ways I’ve seen Zoom amplify everyone’s voice:

Timely feedback in no time

In-person presentations used to be something we merely observed, but now we can all be a part of the conversation with ample ways to provide feedback on Zoom: emoji reactions and the chat interface.

  • Show your support with: 😂
  • Share your alignment in the Zoom chat: “+1”
  • Sad reacts only: 😢

The best thing about Zoom’s emoji reactions and chat is that this feedback is immediate. We can finally avoid the situation that everyone dreads at the end of a meeting:

“Hey, can you go back to the 3rd slide [of 34 slides]? I totally agree with your 2nd point there!”

In-person, most of us would forgo these small comments, but Zoom has created an environment in which we can now share our feedback without interrupting.

Team huddle

A large meeting is like a live sporting event — it has high stakes and mistakes can be very expensive.

Before meeting, a team might huddle to align on a strategy to secure a potential client, make a new deal, or agree on a potential path forward for the business. But things don’t always go as planned — what can you do when you’re thrown a curveball?

In-person, it takes some serious body language cues to ask for help, and even then, the beads of sweat on your forehead might go unnoticed. With Zoom, you can handle some of these interactions privately.

  • Align in real-time with your colleague on a response through private Zoom chat.
  • Privately message them to bring attention to their own behavior, giving them the opportunity to make amends right in the meeting.
  • Send them kudos.

I was thankful when my manager reached out to ask if I was comfortable answering the technical questions being thrown at me during a client meeting. It was a nice reminder that someone had my back and could redirect the conversation had it been necessary.

Zoom’s chat functionality makes real-time team huddles possible.

Photo by Mael BALLAND on Unsplash

Video off, auditing on

Zoom has given us the freedom to jump in and out of open discussions at the click of a button, and that’s made it easier to take part in conversations you might otherwise miss out on.

  • . In an in-person meeting, your physical presence can’t be ignored, so someone might end up asking if you’ve had any thoughts just because you’ve heard the spiel. Ugh! On Zoom, you can truly be invisible to those in the room, but present to audit a meeting with your camera off. Introverts rejoice!
  • . A discussion that you thought might pertain to you, just doesn’t, and now you have to sit through the entire meeting or feel the eyes on your back as you leave a presentation prematurely. This is easily avoided in Zoom, as it’s easy to drop a line excusing yourself without disruption.
  • One of your meetings just got overbooked, and you want to attend both. In-person, it might be difficult to slip out of the first meeting, but Zoom has greatly reduced the friction of switching meetings, so you can be there for the first conversation before shifting over to the next.

It’s never been more socially acceptable than now to take a break, and that includes being “on” all the time, in every single meeting. Zoom fatigue is a real thing, but don’t let it stop you from being a part of the conversations that matter.

Zoom meetings are here to stay, so take a seat at the “table”, amplify your voice, and listen with intention.



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