The Beauty of Virtual Imperfections.
You’ve made a mistake or two. Not to worry. We have, too. Somewhere along the line in 2020, we all had a stumble or fumble as we embraced this new method of meeting, chatting and brainstorming in the virtual world. We’re learning, improving, and slowly working our way toward being Zoomtastic, but as fortune would have it, there are still opportunities to look foolish and have fun as we talk amongst ourselves.
Here’s a chance to look back and check a few boxes on some of those techno faux pas you’ve had in the course of Zooming, Slacking, Google Meeting, Zohoing, What’s Apping, Skyping, and Hanging Out. If you’re uncommonly perfect and haven’t managed to hop online and start gabbing with a flick of spinach wedged between your teeth, take heart: there’s still time remaining to amuse your clients and comrades.
The panic face. This is probably the most flagrant foul in the game of online conferencing. Your camera’s on, your mic is hot, and you’re completely unaware that there’s a tribe of spectators snickering as you glare at your keyboard and screen, glancing up, down, left and right, grappling with which buttons to press as grumbles and profanities fly from your tongue. Congratulations, you’ve mastered the panic face, the WTF moment that many of us have already experienced. It’s okay. Live and learn, as they say. Just don’t get too perfect in this regard, as we can all use a little levity and a dash of spinach in our everyday lives.
The nostril angle. Those who don’t frequent the websites of Hollywood’s elite are unaware of the significance of placement, specifically pertaining to your camera. Place it too high and you project all the swagger and power of Dobby the house elf. Not good. More telling and terrifying, however, is the opposite angle, or what we call NostrilCam. This perspective can traumatize those on the other end of the camera, an effect that may be well intended rather than accidental. If this is the look you feel best suits you, then we suggest a pre-conference nasal check, especially for those with schnozzes that are well-forested.
Enviro-issues. We’re not talking about saving the planet, we’re simply addressing your surroundings. That means the dog barking or, far worse, scraping its arse across the carpet as an unwitting you aims to impress. Got photos or artwork on the wall? Straighten ‘em out and consider replacing your latest wild party photo with something a bit more dignified. Bonus tip: don’t chew with your Zoom open.
Silence is golden. Somewhere on your screen is a mute button, a little microphone that turns red or has a slash through it that when being quiet is critical. Leaving that mic open can be intrusive to whomever is holding court, but it can also be detrimental in the event you need to pay a visit to the nearest loo. Hear that lawnmower in the background? Or that cat fight or the colicky baby or that fistful of coins doing backflips in the dryer? All sounds that become more pronounced in the company of others. On the flip side is knowing when to unmute yourself when you’ve got something to say or when you’ve been called upon. Failure to unmute may result in the humiliation of flapping your lips without saying a word, which isn’t always a bad thing. Again, we know.
The lingerer. Congratulations, you’ve seamlessly worked your way through a Zoom session, hitting all your cues on time and retaining eye contact with the efficiency of a seasoned tv anchor. Now that everyone has said their farewells and are popping off one at a time, you find yourself fashionably late to the “aloha” button, glancing into the camera as the host waits for you to join the exodus. Problem is, getting out of this ZoomRoom is a mystery to you. Simply confess your naivete and soon you’ll be guided to the “Leave Meeting” button, happy that your session is concluded but forever scarred by the notion that you were alone at the bar when closing time came.
Fittingly, such faux pas complemented the year that was and may have even provided some essential levity. At DAE & Company, we were proud to have served up our fair share of techno-slips (none more than the author of this blog) and applaud those who unwittingly showed up in pajamas or failed to floss before their session. So, here’s a high five from all of us. You’re getting better at this Zoom thing. But please, for our sake, don’t get too good at it. After all, there’s no such thing as too much laughter in life.