I know many of us were using Zoom for work. I wasn’t as excited about it as most folks, but I recommended it as an easy to use, stable video meeting platform. Until last week, that is.
If you’re not aware of the deep pile of virtual doo-doo Zoom found itself pretty much buried in a quick google search will fill you in. Suffice it to say I no longer recommend or use Zoom for connecting with clients.
So what do I use? I always recommend that clients join Second Life and take advantage of the robust environment and communication tools of virtual worlds. If that doesn’t work I use Skype.
Why virtual worlds and not just email or teleconferencing? Humans are social creatures. We love to be in the company of others. Also, visual cues are a large part of our communication with one another. That’s why video calls are popular; because we get to see one another. Virtual worlds offer a lot of the social connectivity we need in a fun and immersive environment.
Briefly, mirror neurons fire both when we perform an action and when we see someone perform an action familiar to us. That means, we experience seeing someone do something as though we were performing the action ourselves. That’s why we tear up when we see someone cry or wince when we see someone prick their finger with a pin. Many years ago I broke my nose and, to this day, when I see someone with a broken nose my eyes tear up and a familiar ache spreads across my face.
How does this apply to virtual worlds? A good example is when you watch your avatar engaging in conversation with another avatar mirror neurons tell your brain that you are in a face-to-face conversation with that person and you experience that virtual encounter as you would in real life. This is one of the many reasons I recommend using virtual worlds for meetings. There’s also the creative aspect of virtual worlds that enhances teamwork. I use Second Life to work with clients. One of my most successful Board of Directors exercises is about building vision. This hands-on team project allows everyone to contribute their ideas and work together to build and then articulate a cohesive vision for their organization. Another meeting tool I recommend is Skype. I’ve been using Skype since the 1990s and haven’t ever had a security problem with it. It’s also worked on every operating system and device I’ve ever owned. Though it’s now owned by Microsoft and brings with it the familiar MS baggage it’s still a robust and stable platform for one-to-one and group communications.
Using Skype for personal and/or business offers basic call and video options along with easy to schedule and join meeting features. It also allows for content and screen sharing. You can host meetings for up to 250 attendees and broadcast your meeting to several thousand attendees. From powerpoint to video presentations, whiteboard collaboration to polling, Skype has a broad range of features for your online teams and business presentations. There are numerous other tools available for connecting with others. Some are free for individual users and others can be quite expensive. Think about what you want to accomplish. Write a list of what tools you need to communicate effectively. Then search for a platform that provides the features to support your objectives. Be sure to read reviews and learn about the security and privacy features of anything you consider using before you use it. Always keep in mind we want to zoom to the finish line without crashing.