Over the last month, I’ve attended approximately 13,556 video conference calls, making me both an expert in the medium and only 1,400 meetings shy of receiving a diamond-encrusted webcam cover from Eric Yuan, founder of Zoom.
So, I’m uniquely positioned (in a totally un-ergonomic kitchen/home office chair) to help you log in and lock down a successful meeting.
Mute your mic
The mute button is your last line of defense against an uncomfortable “Kids say the darndest thing!” moment. (Even though some things are just beyond our control—right, BBC Dad?) When you’re not talking on a call, make sure to have your mic muted—although, yes, the “Paw Patrol” theme song does add a certain ambiance.
Conversely, avoid the hubris of sharing your brilliant insights with colleagues who are trying to warn you that you’re utterly inaudible. Double-check that your mic is live when it’s your turn to talk.
Set your scene
A quality background can make or break your next vid call. If you sit by a sunlit window, you’ll blind fellow attendees. Sit in a dark room, and you’ll risk looking like an anonymous source in a true crime docuseries. Avoid all the above, plus cameos from unassuming family members, with a Zoom background that speaks to your personal WFH vibe.
Also, don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Everything’s weird right now, so if the circumstances are right, keep things lighthearted and fun…or straight-up embarrassing.
Embrace the awkward
Remember when we used to signal the end of meetings by shaking hands and leaving the room? That closure isn’t available in talking head land. Instead, there’s an awkward two-minute lull filled with exaggerated waving and strained small talk (“How’s the pinto bean supply holding up?”). Let’s just accept that this national WFH experiment is going to be a little unnatural and have a lot of uncomfortable moments on the road to seamless tech integration. But we’ll make the most of it together!
With that said, we’re going to hop off…ok…yes, talk to you later…mm hmm…what…yes…send pinto beans…bye!
Have a tech-hiccup-free weekend, everybody!
—Your always available Zoom/Teams/Skype/Email/Phone/Viber/Text friends at Brokaw