Video conferencing in the new normal

Communicating in English in the New Normal 

Just watched a couple of videos from language schools "claming" to be in the business of helping adults learn English. Why claiming? Well, I’ve got a problem with language schools. Quite often they are ruled according to gerontocracy. Now while this may/or may not be en vogue in America, the new normal for our learners doesn’t mean regurgitating turn of the century English on Zoom. If my clients attended a virtual call and said:

I agree with you wholeheartedly,

I beg to differ or

I am afraid the connection appears to be faulty 

– they’d be laughed out of town! (And this really is what two videos from July this year encourage!!!!) This is the new normal, this is not Dickensian England. The new normal, by nature, requires us to communicate clearly and simply so that everyone can understand and the communication goals be achieved. The new normal is inclusive. You say “I beg to differ” and you’re going to leave 80% of the non-native speakers behind. 

Here’s how to really survive a Zoom call in PLAIN English. I am telling you this not as an English trainer but as a fellow citizen of the world that champions successful communication that’s fun and not arduous. 

-       Sorry. I can’t hear you. Can you speak up?

-       You broke up. Can you say it again?

-       Maybe turn your video off, the connection might be better. Can you turn your video off?

-       Can you share your screen? 

-       Can you give me the access rights to share my screen?

-       You froze for a second. Say it again. 

-       I didn’t catch that. Can you repeat it?

-       Your audio's really bad. Is your Internet connection weak at the moment?

-       You’re on mute, Sarah. We can’t hear you. Can you unmute yourself?

-       Sorry, I was on mute. 

-       I’ve posted it in the chat. 

-       I’ve put a file in chat for you to download. 

-       I’ll see if I can bring in Paul. He wasn’t invited to this meeting. But I think he’s at his desk. I’ll try to bring him in. 

-       It would be really nice, if we could all turn on our video cameras and introduce ourselves quickly. 

-       Shall we make this a recurring meeting?

-       Are you recording this?

-       Is anyone taking minutes for this meeting? It would be great to have a short record.

I think the above should get everyone by. 

Oh–quick observation–why do some of these sentences appear repetitive? E.g. You froze for a second. Say it again. Because if you’re using a video conferencing software that does not allow simultaneous audio. In otherwords, that other speakers are muted when the main speaker is speaking… then when you interrupt it might take the software a second to detect your voice and silence the other person. When you provide repeated information then your communication partner may at least catch the second part of your statement. Otherwise, you’re constantly saying pardon, what, say it again…. 

Time for you to beexceptional! 

Have fun skyping! Or zooming or teaming or webexing 

A few useful words and phrases


A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. In a simplified definition, a gerontocracy is a society where leadership is reserved for elders.

To laugh someone out of town: be laughed out of court (also be laughed out of town/business etc American English) if a person or idea is laughed out of court etc, the idea is not accepted because people think it is completely stupid.

Arduous adjective involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring e.g. "an arduous journey" 

To get byphrasal verb of get meaning to manage with difficulty to live or accomplish something e.g. "He had just enough money to get by."

To skype verb, transitive and intransitive

to use the Skype service to make phone calls with enabled video support On Wednesday … Swift Skyped her pal from "halfway around the world" and sent out a message of love via Instagram … . And you may be simultaneously clicking a hyperlink to the last "Colbert Report," I.M.-ing with friends and Skyping with your sweetheart.

meaning to repeat information without analyzing it or comprehending. E.g.
"facts which can then be regurgitated at examinations."

Turn of the century, in its broadest sense, refers to the transition from one century to another. The term is most often used to indicate a distinctive time period either before or after the beginning of a century or both before and after.