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6 video conferencing fails to avoid during lockdown

6 video conferencing fails to avoid during lockdown

Posted 09th April, 2020 by Sarah

6-minute read

At the end of 2019, stats from the Office of National Statistics showed that 1.7 million people in the UK worked from home ‘most of the time’.

With the advent of the Corona Virus crisis, that stat has gone through the roof. In fact, Google’s recent Covid-19 Mobility Report suggests that journeys to workplaces have fallen by 55 per cent in recent weeks.

Working from home brings with it new technologies – stocks in video conferencing app Zoom went up by a massive $70 a share in March alone.

While video conferencing has offered a lifeline to many companies trying to maintain BAU during the lockdown, it also comes with its pitfalls.

Here’s a round up of six common fails that come with using video conference apps, and a few tips on how to video conference like a pro.

Fail 1: Not testing the tech before you launch your meeting

Video conferencing apps come with all sorts of extras. You can set your background on many of them, for example. But this didn’t work too well for Lizet Ocampo, the political director at People for the American Way, who turned herself into a potato in one of her team meetings. The tweet about the incident went viral.

Potato Boss
Fail 2: Thinking your microphone is turned off

When you video conference, you should assume your microphone is turned on. Even if it says it’s off, imagine it’s on. It will encourage you to hold your tounge when you feel like making a sarcastic comment to something like a deadline request. Plus, it will make you more conscious of the noises around you.

This mic-always-on mindset might have helped social media user Lindsay Crudele, who accidentally told her husband’s entire meeting that she loved them.

I Love You
Fail 3: Letting the pets in

Furry friends across the land are video bombing the conference calls of their unexpectant owners.

It’s not the end of the world if you’re having an informal meeting like a daily huddle, but you might want to consider confining Fido to another room temporarily if you’re meeting with the board or the likes.

Fail 4: Thinking parts of you are off camera

Lots of home workers have tried the trick of putting a shirt and tie on to attend a video meeting while keeping their pyjama trousers on at the bottom.

However, sometimes the camera can see more than you think. Check out this appearance from one mother literally juggling the work-life balance live on television.

Nursing Mum
Fail 5: Not reviewing your background

Your home is your castle. What resides within the walls are a reflection of who you are. And, sure, you should be proud of that.

However, when it comes to video calls with the outside world you might want to consider what’s on display before you hit the join button.

Background Pic
Fail 6: Not warning your housemates you’re about to take a call

Always let your housemates know you're about to take a live video call, especially if it’s with a major broadcaster.

Just ask Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in Busan, whose children gate-crashed his BBC interview. The professor kept stoically calm as the childrens’ mum entered the frame to save the day.

Video conferencing tips

To avoid video conferencing mishaps, check out these easy-to-implement pro tips:

Dress appropriately: Unless you’re in the nightwear business, no one wants to see you in a dressing gown. So treat each day as a normal work day. Get up, go through your usual routine, get showered, changed and ready for the day. This way you’re ready for any pre-scheduled or last-minute requests for video calls.

Set the stage: Remember, the camera reveals all. It doesn’t show just you, it reveals the room you are in. So prepare your space carefully – is there any laundry bin behind you? Have you cleared away your pots from last night’s dinner?

Find a quiet place: People are forgiving, but if you have an important meeting where you need to be laser-focussed, plan ahead to minimise any of those home distractions. Find a quiet place to call before you dial in. One which is away from other people, or the transient sound of the television. You might want to have a pen and pad at hand should the need arise to silently signal someone else in the room.

Test your platform: To avoid being in any of these unfortunate situations yourself, test your platform. Get a buddy to call you so you can check out what others will see. Find the mute button and how to share your screen. Always be prepared.


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