How to Make The Most of Your Zoom Calls

Part One of Tips for How to Stay Focused while Having Fun

It’s been about 9 months now since most of us started becoming proficient, and beholden, to Zoom and other conferencing platforms.

In that time, we’ve gone from trying to figure out how to connect via a link, to how to optimize the user experience for both ourselves, and our audience. 

Video conferencing quickly became a business mainstay in 2020, replacing our conference room and cubicles. It also became our connection to the outside world and opened vast opportunities to connect with business associates, new contacts from around the globe, and gave way to a whole host of virtual events and interactive experiences. 

With nowhere to go (literally), video conferencing became a playground for anyone who wanted to play. Soon, event planners, meeting facilitators, brands and businesses became entertainers, producers and team-builders – from virtual tastings, fundraisers, psychic readings, games nights, weddings and anniversaries, interactive webinars, and well, synchronized classrooms – finding creative ways to make the online experience more interesting, engaging and tolerable. 

Over time, the panacea of the pandemic has become a bit of a groan – the tool itself, a ready solution in the face of distanced living, working, and business, has at times become a comedic footnote amid our innate need for face-to-face connection. 

How many times have we heard, “you’re on mute” or “can you mute yourself”? 

How many nose hairs and chinny-chin-chins have you counted?

How many streakers, shriekers or creepers have made an appearance in the background? (We call ours Olivia – if you’ve ever been on a call with us, you’ve likely met her)

How many times have you stifled a laugh, wanted to turn off your video or struggled to feign interest in another round of “who wants to share their screen?”

Our answer: too many times!

Enter Zoom Bingo. 

Back in 2001, I worked at a TV station with one of the best producers in the biz. She was smart, creative, edgy and quite vocal. She had a cornucopia of quotes and sayings that she’d regularly punctuate her points with, funny things like, “dumber than a bag of hammers”, “the great unwashed”,up to my eye balls in snapping alligators”, “…fit 10 pounds of manure in a 5 pould bag”, and “ya can’t fix stupid” to name but a few. 

As a team, we appreciated the levity she provided to those exceedingly-long and redundant weekly meetings and with her blessing we created a series of bingo cards with 24 of her most popular phrases, gestures or facial expressions. Our manager thought that our endless note-taking was admirable, and while we were indeed taking notes, we were slyly checking off our bingo cards, conveniently tucked into the sleeve of our notebooks. We looked forward to those meetings, anticipating the gaffes that would elicit a response from her. The friendly, secret competition made the meetings more tolerable, fun, and well, connected

Fast forward to 2021 and after hundreds of Zoom meetings, and over a dozen interactive virtual events, we’ve created the updated version which you can print off and share, FDPR’s Zoom Bingo version 2.1:

Zoom Bingo Printable

While we don’t want to be a cause for distraction, for those of you who need a reason to remain focused on your meetings, this could be a fun tool to add next to your keyboard, to encourage you to pay attention, listen, and find the humour in any situation.