Ah, the age of Corona and Zoom meetings. I think we need to look at our online, face-to-face behaviors. I freely admit I’ve been guilty of many of the behaviors in this list (that’s what got me thinking about making the list!). I’m learning. I try to not be annoying. Here’s a few tips.
Being late. When a meeting is called for 5:00 p.m., log in a couple/few minutes early. Check EST, CST, MST, PST. Nothing bugs me more than “waiting for the late people.”
Trouble logging in. This is new technology for a lot of people, a learning curve for us all. But if you can’t get in successfully within a few minutes, give it up. Don’t make 30 people wait and waste 15 minutes trying to get YOU in. If you are not sure of the technology, ask a few friends to help you with a few dry runs. Practice…muting, unmuting, screen on, screen off, wax on, wax off.
Background noise. If you’re not talking, mute! I don’t need to hear your TV, your radio, the conversation in the kitchen, or your ‘hmm-ing’ or ‘yeah-ing’ every few seconds. Copernicus called – you’re not the center of the universe. So mute yourself.
Background. My background is a Welsh flag, but it’s not flapping in the wind from the highlands. Don’t have lava lamps, blinky-blinky things, or other distracting flappy things.
Your animals and kids. Yeah, they’re cute. We all love cats, we all love dogs, we all love kids. But not when we’re trying to have a meeting. It makes for cute out-takes on the news, but these distractions are not helpful when we are trying to talk and concentrate on serious subjects.
Alignment. Can you align your face in the frame? It’s pretty simple. I would like to see all of your face, not just the top part or the bottom part or half-face. And I prefer not to be looking up your nose. If you need to, prop the monitor/screen/laptop on a few books to look straight into the camera.
Adjustments. If you insist on being seen, stop the constant adjustments. People moving their screens, aligning their phones, repeatedly, moving up down, in out, forward back. Pick an agreeable alignment and leave it. Or pass around the Dramamine.
And here’s a novel idea! If you’re not the main event, why even bother with video? You can turn it off. Try it.
Speak up. On a call about two weeks ago, I had to ask the other person to speak up numerous times (as in about a dozen times, to the point I just gave up. I would have tried to lip read, but I couldn’t see her mouth). Speak clearly, speak slowly, speak up.
The type/chat window. I guess it’s there for chatting, but must it be used constantly? If you have something to say, try this… “I have a question” or “I would like to comment.” And then wait for the facilitator to acknowledge you. The chat window doesn’t mean you have to type/chat throughout the entire meeting.
Getting up, sitting down. Stop it. Sit, pay attention. Stop fidgeting! It’s distracting and annoying. We know you don’t have ants in your pants, because none of us are wearing pants.
Speaking of pants…please, no panty or brief shots. Ga!
Bodily functions. Just no. I don’t need to hear any of these sounds. This ain’t your daddy’s frat party.