So, I did it. We had a client who asked to do a face-to-face meeting in early August, socially distanced and with masks on in a conference room.
I was expected to handle about 40% talk time/time of possession across 90 minutes. Here's what I learned.
It freaking sucked.
I'm not super alarmed about doing an in-person meeting with all the right protections as described above. We sanitized before and after, had the masks up and were socially distanced in the conference room.
But it was awful. Here's what I learned and why I would dramatically prefer a Zoom meeting to the in person, masked version:
1--It's hard to talk for long periods of time through a mask. Running a meeting with a mask is not going into a store with a mask. Talking for any period of time is hard, forced and awkward.
2--I have a big a## head. Uni-size, one size fits all masks are not made for me. If you feel any pressure on your ears, that means the mask is tight on your face and that's going to make talking difficult for any period of time. As they said in Jaws, you're going to need a bigger boat mask.
3 - Life and conversations are hard without facial expressions. You think you can smile with your eyes? I think you look like a hostage when you do your eyes that way.
4 - Almost everything is better with a Zoom call when compared to a masked, in-person meeting. Audio is better. Visuals are better. You build better understanding. You don't feel like you're in a bad movie that ends with zombies running said meeting.
I looked forward to the face to face meeting - a chance to get back to normal. I was wrong.
I'm pro-mask (why not?), but I'm not pro-mask, live meeting.
If you can, save the in-person business meetings for when we beat this thing. For all the essential people doing it day to day, you're professionals - I salute you!