On the surface, poor video conferencing etiquette during these working-from-home times in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is understandable and forgivable.
Sometimes, it can be downright hilarious!
There’s a lot that can go wrong when working from home, as some of the following people know to their detriment. But when engaging in international video conferencing calls with important clients or partners, these are some of the video fails you best avoid, unless you want to end up red-faced, and looking rather unprofessional.
Remove filters and backgrounds
For a team chat or social event on a Friday afternoon playing around with the built-in backgrounds and filters on video software can be a bit of harmless fun. However, it can go badly wrong it you aren’t well acquainted with the software come Monday morning as a boss found out to her dismay recently.
During a Microsoft Teams chat in the US, Rachele Clegg’s boss made a hash of a video chat by turning herself into a potato by mistake. Now on a team video chat this is undauntedly funny, but it probably wouldn’t be so well received in a board room conference.
Paolo Longo a priest of the Church of San Piedro and San Benedetto di Polla in Italy, recently had a video conference fail, when various filters misfired during his sermon. During his Facebook Live video Longo accidentally triggered face filters causing confetti to rain down on his head and a hat and sunglasses combo to appear on his head.
He later said “Even a laugh is good”, taking it lightly.
Other background and filter fails included a schoolboy adding a background of Danny DeVito’s smiling face to his video.
Beware of bored children
With many children now returning to school, there’s not quite the jeopardy here than there might have been just a few weeks ago when many parents were having to juggle work responsibilities with homeschooling. When mum or dad are in the middle of a video call and the kids are bored or hungry, it’s the perfect recipe for trouble.
Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes was live on TV when her son barged in asking his mum if he could have ‘two biscuits’. His mortified mother immediately agreed, while the news anchor hastily returned to the studio saying ‘that’s what happens during lockdown’.
She later confirmed that his ‘high stakes negotiating tactics had secured him two chocolate digestives’.
Rule one of video conferencing is to mute yourself when you aren’t talking. This allows for the call to be uninterrupted by any disturbance on your end, and keeps background noise to a minimum.
Whether you have loud roadworks in your street, or a partner busy at work on another call, it’s crucial to follow muting rules.
A woman recently had the jump scare of her life when her voice-activated her Google home device to answer a question from her video call. With a muted microphone the likelihood of this happening would decrease markedly and your video call could continue unimpeded.