10 tips on navigating the new world (of constant video meetings)

I’ve been suffering through video meetings for many years now. it is one of the joys of being a remote professional worker. A large part of my non-clinical work experience has been working from home and videoing in to meetings, presentations and seminars. I’ve chaired meetings, I’ve presented lectures, I’ve lost my connection mid-sentence, I’ve lost my mind over video. Here are my ten tips on navigating your new overwhelming slew of video conference engagements with the panache and skill of a pro.

1. If you are not speaking, mute your microphone. For the love of god: please mute. Now. No exceptions mouth breather.

2. When you are speaking. Un-mute your microphone. Otherwise you look like a tool, screaming in to space.

3. Make sure there is some light on your face. Otherwise you can look super sinister, or like you’re in witness protection.

4. Pants aren’t obligatory, but recommended. You never know when you’ll have to stand up and chase something out of the room. Dog. Child. Bat. 

5. Hats are fancy and you should wear them. If you don’t have a hat, wear a costume. If you don’t have a costume, download a webcam filter app.

6. If its a group situation, and you want to speak – raise your hand until someone notices. If no-one notices, start yelling. Or make this noise:

7. Don’t speak too fast.

8. There are hundreds of different platforms. WebEx. Lifesize, Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, Skype, Skype for Business, Skype for Leisure. They are all terrible. That’s why we use so many different ones. Someone always has a favourite one. Just defer to the biggest fan. We get it Karen, you have a Zoom subscription and you’re a super user. Whatever.

9. If you are in the big room with the microphone on the table – be aware that sounds can come through the microphone (tapping, sliding food around, or you sighing in exasperation) Try to stay still and quiet, like you are hunting a wildebeest in the wilds. 

10. Don’t worry about stuffing up. No-one is that good at this stuff. That’s why we don’t use it all the time. Some people are better at it than others. Its not a competition.

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