It’s happened to the best of us. Trying to log onto a conference call and forgetting the meeting ID and password. Talking with the mute button on or even experiencing ‘frozen faces’ during a video call. Be it due to technological fails or human error, the world of virtual conferencing is full of embarrassing (and sometimes hilarious) mishaps.
Seriously, who isn't familiar with this painful moment?
Every WFH meeting so far:— Kaleb Coleman [AR/VR] (@kalebcoleman) March 11, 2020
"I'm sorry, you go..." "no, sorry I-" "Well what I was sayi-" "I'm sorry, were you saying something?" "Go ahead, no sorry, you go..."
*5 voices speak at once*
*suddenly no one speaks*
**SLOW PORTAL ZOOM INTENSIFIES DURING AWKWARD SILENCE**#COVID19
And with the COVID-19 crisis resulting in a spike in remote working via conference apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, these mishaps are fast becoming a more frequent (and daily) occurrence for many of us.
To help you avoid further awkwardness among your colleagues, we’ve rounded up a few things that you shouldn’t be doing during a conference call based on some real (and unfortunate) trending incidents that are, to be honest, pure gold:
1) Don’t play around with your app settings right before a video call
Granted, it’s cool to have a funky virtual background during a video call, especially during casual discussions. But it's not so fun when such features become distracting and start verging on the unprofessional, as these poor souls recently discovered:
my boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting and can’t figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was just stuck like this the entire meeting pic.twitter.com/uHLgJUOsXk— Rachele with an e but pronounced Rachel (@PettyClegg) March 30, 2020
omg HELP i was messing around with some zoom add-on and now i have to do a serious business interview and am stuck like... this pic.twitter.com/sakL6m4o9k— erin griffith (@eringriffith) March 24, 2020
Speaking of app settings, make sure you're familiar with the in-built ones too:
A lot of blood is running cold due to this tweet. https://t.co/dbcN6GZtee— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) March 30, 2020
2) Don't forget to ''office-proof'' your surroundings
Your home is a personal space, but when you're using it for professional discussions, you might need to make a few adjustments, as these people found out:
If you do WFH and have a Skype meeting, always consider if the 'art' on the wall is:— Gareth Barlow (@GarethBarlow) March 18, 2020
A) In shot
B) Appropriate pic.twitter.com/CqRAvCV4AF
I'm in a WFH meeting and my Google Home just answered a question someone on the video call asked, unprompted.— Ashley is Staying In (@missalwayswrite) October 16, 2019
I nearly jumped out of my skin. pic.twitter.com/Z5Bv4coG3u
Pro-tip: Speaking of your surroundings, you might want to keep a look-out for any cheeky, WFH-bombing pets and/or kids too:
WFH diary, day 1:— Howard Pinsky (@Pinsky) March 13, 2020
🔋 Power went out during recording
🚧 Contruction workers are extra loud today
🍌 Daughter walked in on a meeting singing “I like banaaaaanas” at the top of her lungs
How I imagine pretty much every video conference meeting is going for anyone working from home who has a cat. pic.twitter.com/NYS3bpLkyw— Amanda (@Pandamoanimum) March 19, 2020
The story of my WFH 😂 pic.twitter.com/WlGNpb2ToF— டோனி ஸ்டார்க் - Tony Stark (@psam1997) March 18, 2020
The people on this conference call don’t know, but I BARELY muted my micrphone before my dog did something I can only describe as a yell barf.— Hand Stanitizer Horaczek (@stanhoraczek) March 18, 2020
3) Don't be too quick to log off
Ah, the feeling of relief when you're done with a work call. But before you go and 'celebrate' in your own way, make sure you've actually logged off the call. Otherwise, things could get a little awkward...
And while we're talking about ending video calls properly, try not to let this happen to you:
This is what everyone looks like at the end of a video when they’re stopping the video: pic.twitter.com/olsgC6hQLI— Niccole Thurman (@niccolethurman) August 2, 2019
4) Don't let the ''mute'' feature trick you
It's a great feature, but with great power, comes great responsibility. And that responsibility means checking, and re-checking to ensure it's off when it's supposed to be.. and actually on when you need to avoid being overheard:
just started talking to my cat in the middle of a 68-person zoom meeting—and i wasn't muted!!! send the meteor!!!!— daniel taroy (@danieltaroy) March 16, 2020
WFH Day 3: Was in a 15 person online meeting, thought I was muted, farted really loudly.......... shit 💩— Yvette Chua (@yvettemc18) March 18, 2020
5) Don't make distasteful jokes
Sure, remote working allows things to be a little more casual (as opposed to in the office boardroom) and it's common to share a laugh or two when you're conversing with your boss from the comfort of your own home, but don't take things too far - especially when it comes to serious topics:
Don’t say “I heard email got coronavirus” in a wfh comms meeting. It does not land.— Aaron Pobre (@aaronnotpoor) March 12, 2020
It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital pro or a wide-eyed newbie ― technology (or human error) can lead to disaster, as the above examples show. Remote work via virtual conferencing is here to stay, so let's learn from these examples and try our best to maximise the potential of these technologies - instead of letting them hinder our productivity levels.
Have you experienced any notable mishaps while on conference calls? Share your stories with us below!