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A publication from Medium on personal development.

Zoom

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Photo: Karl Tapales / Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like being at your absolute scrubbiest, with your hair up in the sort of messy bun that reads “I might be a witch and not the fun kind,” and getting a calendar reminder for a forgotten Zoom meeting. You’re sitting on the couch, you’re wearing some gross old T-shirt with a slogan about how much you like coffee, and you don’t feel like Making an Appearance. And yet, it’s generally considered polite to have your camera on when you join ye olde Zoom grid.

Here is a modest proposal: Let’s normalize turning off the camera in Zoom…


📆 Today’s tip: Start meetings at 5 after, to give everyone a minute to breathe.

In a recent Zoom meeting here at Medium, Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, deputy editor at ZORA, casually mentioned a potentially life-changing schedule hack: start meetings at an odd time, like five minutes after the hour. In the remote-work era, it’s easy to wind up with a stacked calendar in which one meeting ends at 2:00 and the next begins at 2:00 and even though you’re just on your computer at your kitchen table, being in two meetings at the same time remains impossible. …


As soon as Uncle Gene unmutes himself, this is going to be smooth sailing

Family having a Zoom call over the holidays.
Family having a Zoom call over the holidays.
Photo: Marko Geber/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Is Nana still mad that you’re not flying across the country to superspread with the whole extended family this holiday season? Well listen, Nana (and the part of each of us that is secretly still so sad about everything still being virtual): A holiday Zoom can be even more fun than an IRL get-together. And definitely more efficient. You just have to think of it like you would any meeting. For the next hour (max!), your job is to create fun‚ which takes just a little bit of work.

1. Have a host

Actually, have two. You and the funniest family member you can…


This week, the Daily Tip is offering advice on how to approach this strange holiday time.

💻 Today’s tip: Don’t feel the need to fill every pause on your Zoom call.

No matter how much you miss the people on the other side of the screen, an hours-long Zoom call can be tiring. It’s hard to maintain lively conversation via video, and at this point, we’re all sick of staring at our own faces, anyway.

One fix: Think of your Zoom less like a conversation and more like a hangout. What would you be doing if you were all together…


Photo: RyanJLane/Getty Images

Not to be one of those “I did it before it was cool” people, but, well, I considered myself a video-call expert long before Zoom moved to the forefront of all our lives. I spent roughly four years in a long-distance relationship, which means I had a lot of time to perfect the art of hanging out with a loved one through a screen. And here, on the other side of those years, is the single most valuable piece of advice I have to offer: The best video call is one where you’re doing something else.

If you’re not seeing…


How that little image of your face on video chat harms your self-image through ‘self-objectification’

Businesswoman having a video call meeting with her team.
Businesswoman having a video call meeting with her team.
Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

I’ve never looked at myself as frequently as I do these days. Before the pandemic turned me into a remote worker, I’d see my own image a few times a day — while getting ready in the morning, in the bathroom mirror, or maybe in the occasional selfie. I’m a college professor, so my job has always involved an element of performance. But teaching on Zoom, I’m not just on stage: I’m also in the audience. Inside a rectangle alongside everyone else, I’ve found myself wondering daily: Is that what I really look like?

In my own case, and those…


We’re all learning new speech patterns now. Try not to zoomterrupt.

A guy on a video call as he is working from home in his living room.
A guy on a video call as he is working from home in his living room.
Photo: nortonrsx/Getty Images

The weirdest thing about doing all your meetings on Zoom is that videoconferencing makes you a co-worker of yourself.

There’s the me that is typing this — the me that sits in front of a computer and meets with co-workers every day. Now, in real life, this guy knows not to do the “man-” stuff. He knows not to mansplain (although he’s realizing it’s way more nuanced than he thought). He knows not to manterrupt because that’s easy, right? You just let people finish what they have to say!

But it turns out there’s another me. A tiny me that…


An ‘open mic’ approach can encourage greater engagement

A photo of a South Asian woman talking on the mic on a video conference call.
A photo of a South Asian woman talking on the mic on a video conference call.
Photo: fizkes/Getty Images

On a recent Zoom call, Bridget Fahrland and two colleagues kept their microphones on, allowing the sounds of home life to filter in. One colleague’s son popped into the frame. Another repeatedly shushed her boomer parents who were chatting nearby. Fahrland’s seven-year-old melted down when the movie Coco ended in the next room.

At the end, they all declared the meeting a success.

A muted microphone is typically one of the first things hosts enforce to minimize distractions on video meetings. …


The video-chat renaissance is introducing people to a new type of awkwardness

An illustration of many video conference call windows showing a variety of close up facial features.
An illustration of many video conference call windows showing a variety of close up facial features.
Illustration: Heeje Min Heo

I’ve learned a lot about myself since going into quarantine. Like how my daily 3 p.m. anxiety spiral can be treated with a snack or four. That I prefer to wear the same sweatshirt multiple days in a row, alternating between wearing it inside out and right side in until it needs washing. How I find an entirely gray outfit — a groutfit, if you will — to be oddly satisfying. And just how much I absolutely cannot stand seeing my face on Zoom.

As a journalist, I’m no stranger to hating the excruciating sound of your voice: Listening to…

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