With the rise of conference calls, people are rapidly transitioning into this new software like Zoom and Teams. As a result, we have been getting a ton of funny videos of people in embarrassing situations, like the BBC dad. Remember him? A political analyst was giving an interview from home while on live tv, and his child and baby just walked in and crashed it! He is now known as the BBC dad.
If you do not want to be a meme super like him, then there are a few things we can try out to avoid this kind of situation.
Lock the door
A simple solution to a whole bunch of problems. Well, if you live alone, sure, you do not need to worry about this. However, if you live with roommates, friends or family, the safest thing to do is locking your door.
Warning the family does not help at all. I vividly remember the number of times that I warned my family and they would say “sure, honey. We will not disturb you, don’t worry”, and then, five minutes later, they would yell for me asking for silly things. Or worse, like a month or two ago, I was in a call with some colleagues and one of my colleague’s wives walked in without a bra. Yeah… awkward. And it can happen to anyone. So, lock the door!
Only dressing up from the waist up
Sadly, I am guilty of this one. I mean, I was until I got so embarrassed that I decided to always suit up before a conference call. But there are two reasons that we should always dress accordingly. For one, research shows that our brain associates a professional attire to work, so we are more focused and prone to actually work. Second, you avoid silly situations like the one that happened to me.
A few months back, I was in a conference call in boxers but rocking a formal white shirt. A colleague asked me to grab a few documents that I had on the shelf behind me. Well… I could have stalled that, but the problem is I did not even recall that I was in boxers, so I naturally got up and grabbed the documents. Facepalm.
Become acquainted with the Mute and Cam buttons
So many awkward moments that could have been avoided with a simple click; it is insane. The first thing we got to do in these video call apps is learn where we can mute the sound and turn off the camera. It can be a bit overwhelming since everyone uses different apps and we end up switching around, but they are lifesavers.
If I had remembered about this one, I would have not flashed my boxers to my boss, probably. Are you familiar with the #PoorJennifer story? A classic. Poor Jennifer went to the toilet and forgot to turn off the camera. Ended up doing her business in the toilet with a camera pointing at her while on a meeting. The best tip I can give you so you do not become a hashtag!
Avoid the snacks and refreshing beverages
The number of sounds that get through a conference call is insane. Most people are not even sure where their mic is and are trying to be silent but end up blasting some irritating noises. Noisy potato chips anyone? We all know that one person has a bag of fries hiding in the corner or below the table, and is trying to eat them silently. But that crunch is impossible to silence!
This is even more problematic for people that use laptops and their mic is near the keyboard. They hide their snacks from the webcam, keeping them low, so the mic catches every sound around the pc. This is also true for drinks. The conference call does not need to listen to us swallowing some nice Coca-Cola sips. And we sure do not want to listen to Jim eating some fries while we are watering, imagining that salty snack.
Cringe and funny conference call stories will keep on growing. As it becomes a widely spread tool, people are still getting used to the etiquette that comes with taking video calls from home or other places outside of the office.
What we should aim to do is avoid being another Twitter story like Poor Jennifer! And with these tips, I am sure that you will not end on anyone’s social media feed. But videos like the BBC dad sure are fun to see. Let’s hope they keep happening to other people, of course! Happy calls!