During this Covid-19 Quarantine/Social Distancing, we’ve all seen an increase in the use of virtual meetings, virtual networking via videoconferencing tools. Zoom, Hopin, GoogleMeet, FaceTime, Microsoft Teams, Free Conference Call are ones that I’ve been involved with to-date.
It is very interesting to hear how people are using these tools in a variety of clever ways. That’s the impressive nature of human-kind: creativity, innovation when circumstances impact us.
I know of families having weekly Zoom calls to stay in touch. One includes playing a trivia game on each call, after catching up with everyone. Whoever wins the trivia game controls the questions for the next game. The Hopin (thanks GCPCafe and Nadia Bracken) tool has limits on the number of people who can be on camera at one time, while many more can participate via chat room to interact with the others. This is good for interactive presentations by a few speakers. It also has a one-on-one video networking that I really enjoyed. You’re put into a “room” and are waiting for someone else to enter the “room” and then you see each other and start talking. It felt like meeting someone new at an industry conference reception without all the background noise and distractions.
I have held four FOCM virtual networking events using both Zoom and GoogleMeet. A friend said, ‘hey you’re the networking guy, you should be doing something during this time of isolation.’ I took it to heart and held events in the evenings on April 16, April 23, April 30 and May 13. Like I do when I would travel (remember that? – airplanes, hotels and rental cars?), I would email everyone I knew in the area to see who could meet up that night for drinks/dinner. So at first I held a FOCM event for the Philadelphia metro area, then for the Raleigh metro area, then the Boston metro area. It was about the April 30 Boston event, that I realized, I was no longer bound by geographic constraints. So the May 13 one was national (I did invite members from Europe, but it would have been 1 a.m. for them).
Attendance was taken, as per FOCM SOP:
April 16: Bryan Clayton, Dave Gibboni, Ryan Gibson, Chris McArthur, Chris McCracken, Pete Nieto, Mike Strand
April 23: Mike Burrows, Renee Brown, Brian Horan, Lauren Sherwood, Kate Mulllis (tried)- meeting minutes already published on www.focmnetworking.com/networking
April 30: Paul Bilden, Israel Bocanegra, Mike Burrows, Clint Craun, Scott Freedman, Brian Langin, Dan Weddle, Amy Zastawney
Observations: Two people had to exit early to attend other web calls, one for a birthday celebration – perhaps a glimpse of our future; night-time schedules of “virtual” meetings to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. I attended a friend’s birthday party on May 2 via Zoom.
May 13: 159 people were sent google calendar invitations, 111 never opened it (do that many people not receive google calendar invitations into their email inboxes? 24 said yes, 10 no and 14 maybe. There were some issues with people being able to talk and/or to see their faces. We were on for an hour. To manage it, we opened with a cheers! Then I called on people to share whatever they wanted on how they were coping or what they were learning. Using the chat feature I let the person who was up next know I’d be calling on them. I know we didn’t get to everyone and I wish we had. It was great to see and hear from so many FOCM members.
Kevin Boos, Mike Burrows, Nadia Bracken, Renee Brown, Greg Cohee, Kevin Collier, Scott Freedman, Dave Gibboni, Heather Hollick, Askold Kozbur, Brian Langin, Jon Matheus, Chris McCracken, Lynne McKerlie, Karen McPoyle, Sarah Meister, Lorraine Mercer, Adrian Pencak, Roxann Pinguelo, Lauren Sherwood, Dan Weddle, Wayne Whittingham, Michael Williams.
Screen Grabs of the event were sent to me and they are shown below. The first one was sent to me with the subject line “ScreenGrab Tonight”. Proof that enjoyment of sarcasm and wit are fundamental to the FOCM code of behavior.
I would like to hear of other interesting, unique, clever ways people are using these tools in this current time of reduced in-person gatherings. Use the comments box to share things you’re seeing or doing.