I attended a wonderful ZOOM Panel today which has led to me writing this article. I feel that as an artist and as a human being living on the planet called “Earth” it is important to approach the new norm with respect. After attending quite a few of these , there are certain tips that might be most helpful so that we can ALL enjoy our zoom get together‘s.

1. Take time to prepare and dress for it. I know it’s tempting to roll out of bed and sort of get yourself over to the computer. Emotionally and physically you can’t possibly enjoy listening to a panel if you’re half there. I loved the host today! He was well groomed, wearing a clean white shirt and ready to go. Wash your face, take a shower, brush your teeth, exercise, and do anything you can to make yourself feel good about you. Even if you’re not a speaker on the panel, prepare your sitting area and adjust the lighting so you can enjoy what others have to share with you.

2. DO NOT STAY IN THE SHADOWS . Either come to the panel or don’t. Don’t be a name in the box. There is nothing ruder than people who go to the panel but do not show themselves. This is supposed to be a way to connect- not to have a hierarchy of who gets to be seen and who doesn’t. The people on Zoom will wonder why you couldn’t be there and be present with all of us. It’s like being invited to dinner but not having a place at the table. You can do your multitasking later. We want to see you and we want to feel included by you! Don’t be a stalker or an invisible ghost!!

3. Have a sip of water if needed, but put it in a nice glass and please do not eat during the ZOOM. There’s nothing more annoying than someone crunching away!!

4. Please make sure you are on mute when the panel begins, until asked to unmute. No one wants to hear your washer and dryer running! And hey! You shouldn’t be running your washer and dryer right now anyway.

5. For panelists: Do not be rude or non-inclusive to others. Make your audience feel like they are part of the experience. Other creatives took the time to sit down and be a part of your event! I’ve often attended a panel where I have felt like I was intruding. It’s not fun! Likewise, Ive rambled on and have forgotten about others and that’s something I am always working on!! We are learning together how to be better in this new norm. It is like an art reception where you walk in and people are in their own little cliques. This isn’t High School! We’re going through a pandemic, a crooked government and an ongoing fight to get rid of systemic racism-so be nice!!

6. Be present and listen. Make sure to wave when you first go on Zoom and say hi to everybody!! Don’t look at yourself on the monitor. Stay focused on whoever is speaking and take in all the wonderful stories they’re sharing with you!! Let’s have fun together!!

7. Sometimes I have held my dog Pickles in my lap but I’ve decided this is not the time to be doing that. So now I put him in the back room- he’s not crazy about it but then he won’t bark when the mailman comes in and that’s important.

I’ve shared my thoughts. I hope this helps. Until the next ZOOM, I wish all of you a creative day!

In the studio as always.

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