ABOVE PHOTO: OZY CEO Carlos Watson
Have you been on a recent virtual date or job interview and just not felt the energy you might have in person? You’re not alone — as the pandemic has taken away the ease and safety of in-person meetups, “Zoom fatigue” has become a regular part of our vocabulary. Sometimes, trying to connect with someone through a webcam just doesn’t feel right, but the good news is that there are solutions.
Some people have mastered the Zoom life and have some tips to share about how to foster really meaningful personal interactions, even through a screen.
“You’ve got to let your curiosity fuel you,” says OZY CEO Carlos Watson. As host of the viral YouTube talk show sensation “The Carlos Watson Show,” Watson has created the warmest place on the internet, where his uniquely charming conversation style leads to some of the most intimate conversations with the world’s biggest names.
“Don’t think of it like you’re miles away; appreciate the intimacy Zoom brings — you’re in each other’s homes,” he said.
And while Watson has invited TV’s most diverse lineup to his virtual coffee table, boasting names from Ava DuVernay to Mark Cuban, John Legend to Megyn Kelly, here are his top tips for anyone trying to get past Zoom fatigue and create real relationships over calls:
Start in a place of mutual understanding
Having interviewed everyone from President Barack Obama to Karl Rove, Tomi Lahren to Rep. Ilhan Omar, Watson knows he might not agree with every guest, but emphasizes the importance of finding common ground. “It feels like one of the most divisive times in history, but we need to remember that there’s more that connects us than divides us,” he says. Try to find something you do agree on or a mutual friend or favorite activity. Starting things off on the right foot will allow the rest of the conversation to go more smoothly.
Have an open mind and no expectations
Don’t approach a new conversation with expectations, because you may be disappointed if they’re not met. But an open mind allows conversations to take whatever serendipitous turn they might. Watson knows this and covers a notable range of topics with the world’s top names. Let your conversations wander, because you never know where they might take you.
Surprise yourself with creative questions
Along with avoiding presuppositions of the conversation, avoid presupposing what your conversation-mate might be interested in talking about. In his show, Watson focuses on asking creative questions. He might talk about love with politicians, politics with musicians and music with athletes. Whether on a virtual date or job interview, the likelihood is the person you’re talking to is used to getting similar questions and doesn’t get to be creative with their answers. By thinking outside the box with the questions you ask, and pivoting from the norms, you can get the most genuine answers.
Hopefully you feel prepared to tackle that next Zoom interview or ask your Hinge date for a virtual coffee. And make sure to check out Carlos Watson’s expertly charming conversations on “The Carlos Watson Show.”