Stop saying this, right now

#newnormal #lockdown #wfh – COVID-19 has given us a host of new hashtags and vocabulary to deal with what is going on. But there is one phrase that drives me up the wall….

“In Real Life”

If I hear another person on an online meeting say “in real life” when talking about meeting people face to face, I am going to scream.

Let me tell you, when I see you in “real life”, I will grab you by the shoulders and give you a good shake and remind you,

This…. is…. all…. real…. life.

Whether you are chatting over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Google Meet, Facebook Rooms or, heaven forbid, our old friend Skype, it is all REAL LIFE.

Don’t be fooled by the “virtual” team jargon. These aren’t avatars. It isn’t a game. Those little boxes represent real humans, with the same fears, hopes and dreams that they always had.

Your words still have impact. The decisions you make still matter.

This is real life.

I’d argue it is more “real” than it has ever been. Limitations on movement and freedom make us look in on ourselves. What do I really value? How do I want to show up? Who do I want to spend time with? What matters to me?

What do I suggest instead? How about “When we are… face to face/in the flesh/at the office/ meeting offline (for a bit of buzzword bingo!).. let’s do X”

(Side note for buzzword bingo fans: We can no longer say “Let’s take this offline” There is no “offline” to take it. And actually, what “Let’s take this offline” really means is “Let’s stop talking about this in front of everyone. Either the topic is making me uncomfortable or you are being an ass. I will placate you by saying we will talk about it later but, yeah, we probably won’t.”

So, stop saying “In Real Life”. Everything that is happening in all your online communications is very real and very powerful.

(Unless you believe we are all in The Matrix… that’s a whole other post!)

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