Welcome to Zoom 101.

Today’s lesson will be held virtually, please note, our session is limited to 40 minutes because of budget constraints. We are looking at purchasing the basic Zoom plan but will need to send it up the flagpole for approval. We anticipate having an answer in 6 months to a year, by which time we expect to be back in the office.

This course has been developed with the help from the people who thought they were on mute, forgot to turn off their camera, and/or decided not to wear pants to a video call. We thank you for your contributions and hope you’ve been able to get a positive referral for new employment.

Today’s lesson will focus on the Do’s and Don’ts of Zoom calls or any other form of video conferencing in the modern world. Our hope is that these lessons become embedded in the fabric of society to help prevent the spread of sudden loss of common sense, jobs, and modesty.

Here we go…

ZOOM DO: Get on Point 

Check yourself, before you wreck yourself. Tee up your camera and take a look at your look. If you are offended, shocked, or in any way naked or unclothed, take a moment to cover your ass…literally…and figuratively. 

ZOOM DON’T: Chance the Pants

Please DO NOT attempt to put a blouse or button-down shirt on without pants. Our research has found that 99.9% of cases where an individual involuntarily exposed their intimate garments were the result of toddlers with explosive diarrhea, wet dogs barging in, spilled coffee, or uninvited visitors. It will happen to you. PUT YOUR PANTS ON (tight).

ZOOM DO: Practice 

Practice mute and video. Click and see the little slash across the microphone and the camera. Now, do it again and then one more time. Now, again. And then click them both again for good measure and just a quick click on mute and camera again for final rehearsal before the curtain opens on the meeting about the meeting. 

ZOOM DON’T: Panic

When you start your meeting, the dog will begin to bark, the doorbell will ring, a motorcycle gang will do hot laps around your neighborhood, the air force will conduct drills over your house, and a sonic boom might potentially cause an air embolism in your lungs. DO NOT panic. Just click video and then mute and look for the little slash. You know how to do this. You just practiced. What are you doing? Hit vid-good. Now, mute! Hit it. Mute. It’s right there-thank you. 

ZOOM DO: Back up Your Background

Take pride and ownership in your background and what might be lurking in the back of the background. Consider putting a bookshelf, map, or stack of industry-related magazines around the area for maximum intellectual effect. If you are on vacation, invest in a roll screen of your normal space and pop that thing up before you go “LIVE”. If someone is running around naked, your dog is in heat, or there is a frat party happening in your kitchen, make a plan to ensure you won’t be liable for indecent exposure. If necessary, create a Doomsday bunker. This is great preparation for 2021 if it is in any way like 2020. 

ZOOM DON’T: Take a Bathroom Break

DO NOT RELIEVE YOURSELF DURING A VIDEO CALL! The only excrement that should occur during a video conference are the untruths about what is really going to happen with the downsizing of the company and the “transparency” surrounding those particulars. 

ZOOM DO: Listen for Your Name

If the meeting is going to be long like a training, special guest speaker, or a call to hear the Culture Club Team talk about scores and new merch, you might be tempted to mute yourself, turn off the camera and start drinking that box of wine with mediocre ratings.  This is all fine-but your name will be mentioned when you least expect it. You need to stay somewhat coherent. If you do hear your name and have no idea what the context of the shout out is, here is a phrase that can work in your favor and add to any meeting: “Yes, thank you for calling me out. I wanted to just say that I’m really impressed with our team’s ability to work with such flexibility through these challenging times.” Now, pause. If they are still waiting for you to answer a question, someone will ask it again. Respond appropriately. Hit mute. Turn off the camera. Pour another glass of wine. (Keep your pants on. See above “Chance the Pants”.) 

ZOOM DON’T: Call in Sick (if you’re not)

There is no such thing as calling in sick during a pandemic to get out of a meeting. Yes, it is a roleplay meeting. Yes, you would rather watch repeat episodes of Caillou while having your toenails pulled out than have to improvise with coworkers over video chat, but calling in sick will unleash a domino effect. Suck it up. If you absolutely would rather be subjected to a lifetime of Baby Shark on repeat than be a participant in the meeting, don’t show up. Then say you were having major internet issue at home. Case closed. 

Here are the key takeaways from our lesson today…

  1. Don’t let Zoom bring your ultimate doom. 
  2. Check it before you wreck it.
  3. Always have a box of mediocre wine on hand.

Tune in next week when we discuss the importance of showering. Until then, keep practicing video and mute. Mute and video. Video on. Video off. Mute off. Mute on…