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Columns

WRITE TEAM: Zooming through COVID-19 and beyond

Six months ago I had never heard the term “Zooming.”

Now I am attending several Zoom meetings each week.

Some days I walk around my house wondering, “Am I supposed to be at a Zoom meeting?”

If so, where is the link? Is it buried it in my emails?

I recently attended several Stonecroft “outreach meetings” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Virtually, of course! Ninety women were present for one hour-long meeting that included a style show from Donna’s Fashions with “virtual” models, as well as an inspirational speaker and door prizes. It was amazing! All done virtually!

It seems the whole world is living virtually.

My definition of “virtual” is still, “sorta, but not really.”

Sports are virtual.

Meetings are virtual.

Political meetings are virtual.

Church is virtual for many people. Or they are socially distanced and masked, if meeting in person.

On Sundays we have a virtual visit with our son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, their husbands and dogs, although we live in three different states. Don and I sit on our sofa as I juggle my laptop, while watching members of our family walk about their individual homes.

At 10 p.m. each evening, Don and I observe news people appearing on TV, while comfy in their homes, sharing the news of the day. It makes them seem so, well, virtual! So real – there they are – real people in real apartments, with furniture, children, dogs and books, just like us! (Except we don’t have a dog.)

Schools are virtual too – at least in many places.

Our granddaughter, Sarah, is assistant principal at Rhodes School in River Grove, near Chicago. Sarah says school personnel are learning together. She recently suggested some YouTube sessions for me that include makeup and lighting suggestions. YouTube has many humorous and helpful tips for Zooming or making videos.

As a Stonecroft speaker consultant, I hope to pass the information along to regional speaker trainers who are assisting speakers in learning how to appear on Zoom meetings.

Zoom training includes avoiding certain behaviors, such as not eating while Zooming, “muting” when there is background noise, and other helpful hints. I have learned how to use the “chat box,” change the view so I can see everyone, and divide the screen to view documents. I still have lots to learn and I still make mistakes, but everyone is learning and it’s all still new.

Learning to Zoom is a challenge for those of us who didn’t grow up with today’s technology. Zooming is relatively new to everyone, but we are adapting in this trying time of COVID-19. We are finding ways to be together, even if it’s only “virtually!”

Zoom is only one of a number of programs that can be used to meet virtually.

According to authorities, virtual events are not going away. Most of us will be Zooming into 2021 and the years beyond!

• Carole Ledbetter is a native Ottawan, author of two books and a speaker consultant for Stonecroft Ministries. She can be reached at tsloup@shawmedia.com.

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