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We need some Zoom etiquette

Do you switch video on or not?

2020 has seen the big switch to video conferencing. Why didn’t we do it before? We’ve had video conferencing available on our phones and PC’s for years. Why is it we only switched this year?

Because we are all distancing. Before March 2020, everyone would connect on a conference call. Disembodied voices but the modus operandi was that at least we would say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’.

This allowed us to make a cup of tea, go to the toilet, sleep and ignore what people said quite happily. Now, everyone wants to see us. Why?

A few months ago, you weren’t even bothered about having a video call with me. Now, you get upset if I don’t turn the camera on?

I personally find video calls pretty annoying. Quite often, there’s one or two people who have the camera at the wrong angle and you see something inappropriate.

Commonest mistake? Someone upside too close the camera …

I can see right up your nose!

Or the camera is at the wrong angle …

Or you cannot even work out which way around it should be and end up looking like Mr. Potato…

Or it’s just too darned confusing and open up your Zoom account to hackers. Here, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom shared a picture of a Zoom call on social media without realising he gave away their Meeting ID, which meant that any cyber bomber could crash the meeting.

Or you find some guys having an intimate moment in the middle of the call because they forgot people were watching (check middle row, right).

Generally, Zoom seems to have been designed on a previous version and is actually Zoom 4.0.

So, OK, OK, OK. We are re-adjusting to being digital in 2020. It takes time. But I still find video media far more annoying than social media.

You can troll me, annoy me, argue with me or whatever on social media … and I just go, whatever.

But you get me on video media and it’s totally different. I cannot hide my issues or annoyance or happiness.

I’ve noticed this in particular when giving virtual keynote presentations. In the past, I could not see the faces of every individual in the audience; now I can. I can see when my jokes work or don’t; I can see who is engaged and who is not; I can see when I say something in appropriate or inspiring; and more (as mentioned above).

More than this, I struggle with how to keep my office and room looking good. I’ve got all the lighting and microphones and more but, even so this is me on Zoom …

So, I think we need to create a video conferencing etiquette manual. My recommendations would be:

  • If you mute, remember you muted
  • Unmute when you speak
  • Don’t put video on unless absolutely necessary
  • If you do put video on, make sure you’re presentable
  • Whilst your video is on, don’t start multi-tasking
  • If I’m talking, show you’re listening
  • If you’re talking, nod and look engaged
  • If you don’t like what I say, don’t just frown – post something in chat or interrupt
  • Oh, and make sure that partner, children, dogs, cats, snakes, iguanas and any other pets and paraphernalia are firmly out of the way.

… I’m sure there’s 1,000 things more but this will do for a start.

Oh, and Christmas?

* I predicted banking would be delivered via video years ago


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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