Imagine: you wake up, light is streaming through your window. The birds are chirping, the air is crisp, and you’re excited for a brand new day. But then you remember that you’re basically stuck in your house, room, or roofless greenhouse (cause some SFU student moved back in and took your room). That light streaming through your window is actually just your phone with 200 messages from Piazza, those birds were actually just squeaky bike tires, and the air is crisp because it’s recycled, and so stale it minus well be solid. But alas, today is still a good day, because you have some zoom social activities! Like a young child on their birthday, you eagerly log onto zoom, ready to make friends and have human interaction! You enter a breakout room with only a few people, and after 60 seconds of awkward silence and pretending to fix your audio, you unleash these zingers:
“What’s your name?”
“Where are you from?”
“What discipline/program are you?”
And then the conversation effectively stops. And you don’t remember anyone who participated.
I’ve gotten Netflix renewal emails with more personality than that exchange.
So how do you not talk like an antisocial, basic computer program? How do you actually make enough of an impression that you remember that person, and can continue conversations in the future? Well, you’re in luck, because I have procrastinated important assignments, in order to bring you this helpful list of 10 great zoom conversation starters:
- “Did you know that the name ‘Zoom’ comes from a 2006 Tim Allen movie of the same name?”
What?! You haven’t heard of the movie “Zoom” where Tim Allen teaches a bunch of teenage superheroes to use their powers? I could talk to someone for hours about this film. It has everything: a superhero team that is superior to the Avengers, X-men, and Justice League; a budget so low I could’ve made this movie 4 times instead of paying tuition this year; and the bold choice to name the film after the villain of the film, Zoom, who is Tim Allen’s estranged brother, and who only shows up for a 2 minute fight at the end of the film.
- Immediately flex anything that isn’t something you should flex.
People love hearing about other people’s sad accomplishments. This is an immediate friendship maker. Nothing cuts down awkwardness like: “I’ve beaten every single angry birds game” Or “I won an award for my Teletubbies cosplay.”
- “The axolotl can regrow its own head. Let us discuss.”
- “So, why did you choose UWaterloo?”
- Say “Sorry my mic is not working” but using your mic.
Just see what happens after that.
- “Who’s your favourite Kung Fu Panda villain?”
Kung Fu Panda is without a doubt the greatest trilogy of all time. It has generated a debate of equal importance to building a cold fusion reactor. Seriously, which villain is the best? There’s Tai Lung, the snow leopard who wishes he was the dragon warrior. There’s Lord Shen, who yielded an arsenal of firework cannons and who was foretold to be defeated by a panda. And finally, there’s Kai, master Oogway’s former comrade. If you can’t strike up a conversation based on this, then everyone in that zoom call is incompatible as people.
- “Hey, I’m ______. What’s your name? Oh my gosh that is my mother’s maiden name. What’s your mother’s maiden name? When is your birthday? Oh wow your birthday written numerically is my social insurance number. That’s crazy. I wonder if yours is my birthday. What’s your Social Insurance Number?”
- “Which of the members of ‘Donna and the Dynamos’ from Mamma Mia would you rather be?”
The only acceptable answer is Tanya.
- “What’s your max Croquet score?”
- “I’ve never seen Bambi, please don’t spoil it.”
Do not spoil it.