Whether you are going back to the office or continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, one thing is for certain… video-conferencing is here to stay. And, no matter how many times you login to a virtual program like Zoom, something will go awry. Am I right?
Does your experience sound like this…” Where is the link to join? Should I set it up in my bedroom or outside? Where are my headphones? Maybe I should put on different pants?” Then, there are other things completely outside of your control. Maybe, for you, it’s: the kids are being a little too loud; the dog is barking; you’re having internet issues; your microphone, all of a sudden, decides not to work. Shew!…we’ve all been there!
For me, my worst Zoom fear manifested in that video where the guy cannot figure out how to get the cat filter off! Cat Lawyer tries to remain calm; but, that big, furry face…and those eyes… aaaaaaaand…in front of his colleague and the judge!!! But, by golly…he was ready to move forward!
What would you do in a situation like that? I imagine I would do exactly as that man did and make sure I let everyone know that, “I was not…in fact…a cat!”
All this led me to explore ideas on how we all can do a little self-care and preparation so we can respond better and be less stressed and more focused when…not if…but, when things do go a little off the rails.
Engage Your Five Senses
- What You See. We’ve all seen the image of someone perfectly put together on the screen, but if you peek just outside the camera’s view, it’s a complete disaster area. Advice? Take a moment to clear the clutter from your desk, inside & outside. It’s a simple task that has a great impact. Tidying up can also be a form of mindfulness practice to help you feel centered, focused and calm.
- What You Smell. Using your sense of smell, your body can help quell anxiety, boost productivity and it certainly has an impact on mood. Scents like lemon have been known to boost productivity, while scents like lavender and eucalyptus have a calming effect. Even just a scented candle can help brighten our mood. Personally, one of my favorite scents is cedar.
- What You Taste. There is a reason why top companies keep snacks in the conference room. It helps with energy and mood. Take a few extra minutes to make a cup of tea or coffee. Have a snack beforehand. Nuts are always good because they are satisfying. Berries, bananas, and grapes are also good because of the natural sugar. And dark chocolate has mood-boosting qualities, and it’s the best.
- What You Hear. Set your mood with a song. Perhaps it’s “Happy” by Pharrell Williams or maybe you need some calming music like “Sailing” by George Benson. Music helps set the tone. Top athletes get amped up with their favorite music before a big game because it works!
Not knowing what noise you’re going to be up against during a meeting adds another layer of anxiety. Perhaps it’s time to invest in noise-canceling headphones. When the kids are too loud, or the dog barks or your neighborhood is in a construction zone, your attention can remain on the meeting with minimal distraction and less stress.
- What You Feel. From the temperature of the room to the clothes we wear, both have a great effect on our mindset. One good thing about Zoom is we don’t, necessarily, have to wear a jacket & tie or a dress with pearls. In the virtual world, the business wardrobe is more casual. Although we’re all under pressure to make the Zoom experience professional, take advantage of clothing that is comfortable. Wear something that is comfortable and you feel good in.
Don’t forget to check the room temperature.
By engaging your five senses before a meeting, you will be in a better headspace for both navigating through the stresses of the Zoom meeting and contributing to a focused productive conversation.
Feel free to share with your team!