Are we communicating more in lockdown?

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“Hello… can you hear me?”, “Your mic is muted”, “Is my camera blurry?”. Over the past eight weeks we must have heard these phrases a thousand times as we all get to grips with working remotely.

We’re in the age of video calling and, whether it be for work or a “pub quiz” with your friends, the world has found ways to cope with lockdown.

However, this isn’t a first for me, or for many of my peers. In fact, as my colleagues have adapted to video calling and how best to hide their lockdown haircuts, I’ve been reminiscing.

A different world

Many years ago, I was sat at the family computer getting ready for another night of playing World of Warcraft (WoW) with my friends. Back then we used TeamSpeak, not Zoom, but the troubles were the same as they are now.

Poor connections meant half of us sounded like Daleks and we still hadn’t quite grasped the concept of muting our mics when we weren’t talking. The clacking of 30 pairs of mice and keyboards sounded as loud as a marching band and the noise of barking dogs was only drowned out by the sound of someone’s family member in the background.

Since then, voice chatting with people from across the globe has been second nature to me and many others. From running a guild in WoW to being part of online Call of Duty tournaments during my GCSEs not a week went by where I didn’t utilise voice or video chatting. We all adopted an unwritten rule book for voice chatting, something that has evolved over the years and made us experts in an area we helped to develop.

The reason I’ve been reminiscing about the days where a balanced diet for me was a fruit flavoured energy drink is due to the parallels I see to today’s communication.

Adapt or…

The team at Nielsen McAllister has adapted so quickly to the new normal of voice chats and video calls. Not only have we used these facilities to keep in touch with each other, we’ve implemented them across all our work.

The work from home world and the ease of chatting online has meant we have had more fluid conversations with clients. Face-to-face meetings were usually scattered throughout the year as regular catch up opportunities but, thanks to the rapid adoption of video calling, these chats have moved to almost weekly. They’re a chance to not only talk work but to just talk.

Teams talk

Those mundane what-did-you-have-for-tea chats have still been able to continue thanks to platforms like Teams. As the world is separated more and more, we’re all coming closer together thanks to online conversations.

We’ve all had teething issues in getting used to this new normal. For example, a colleague of mine had their webcam stuck sideways for at least a week before we finally fixed it.

But here we are, very quickly becoming experts in a whole new area of communications. Zoom-based webinars, video conference calling and, the most important skill of them all, webcam backgrounds.


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