Everyone I have been talking to lately seems to be over Zoom. They are tired of having every single meeting be on zoom. Anytime you need to discuss something with a co-worker, it seems to be “let’s jump on Zoom” and talk through it.
The problem isn’t that we want to communicate. Because we do. I think the problem is that there’s a whole different situation where you have to jump on a video call.
As a product manager, I spend a considerable amount of time in meetings. But are meetings the only way to communicate? Are there other ways that you could communicate and get some time back in your day? It got me thinking about how we can have other avenues to communicate across team dynamics.
I’m setting out to get back some time in my day. Here are a few ways we can make that work.
As part of any business, partnership, or team, you are going to have meetings. They are inevitable. But we can control how and when meetings should exist on our calendar. If we protect our calendar and do a little prep work ahead of the meetings that do get scheduled, it will make our lives a little less stressful.
Meetings Should Have Agendas
Every meeting on your calendar should have an agenda. If the meeting doesn’t have an agenda, cancel or reschedule the meeting. The agenda can be something as simple as a Google Doc, where others can add topics/points to discuss in the meeting. You could also use an app called Fellow.app.
Fellow is one of my favorite applications to use. Not only does it keep me insanely focused and organized for each upcoming meeting I have, but it also serves as a historical notetaking app as well. You can easily collect all of your recurring meetings and you can go back to them whenever you want.
Another trick is to take a look at your calendar. If you notice that you have a couple of meetings with the same person, like say a 1:1, you could combine your meetings and just move the topics into a similar conversation starter.
This allows you to meet longer, but less frequently so that you can get all the topics covered in one sitting rather than spreading them around. Of course, this isn’t going to work if someone’s calendar isn’t like yours, or you need to include other people in those meetings.
Sometimes things don’t need to be a real-time meeting. In some cases, someone pings you on slack while they are thinking about a specific topic or idea. You don’t have to jump on zoom instantly to talk about it.
Instead, you could look at using a service like Loom. Loom allows you to record your face and screen, along with a microphone, so that you can create a quick little screencast or video and instantly share it with whomever you need.
The great part of this is that you can do this all you want and send a video back to the person that requested something. They can leave comments on the link or even share it out with a broader audience.
I will add a little bonus here if you are looking to take the video and publish it. Loom is great at allowing you to download your videos. So you could easily add them to your YouTube channel, giving you a way of essentially creating free to low priority content.
A new player to the market is a little handy tool called ZipMessage. I can see so many uses for ZipMessage that it has me pretty excited. ZipMessage allows asynchronous communication between 2 people rmany people.
What this means is that when you send a video to someone, they can watch it and they can reply to the video or audio message with their own video or audio message.
Zoom fatigue is real. Not everything you want to communicate needs to be taken care of with Zoom. These ways can help you get back to having a more manageable zoom experience while offering other negotiable ways of being productive and keeping your calendar from looking straight up.
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