ADOTAS – While it’s always ideal to meet face-to-face, sometimes it’s just not possible. This, along with cost-savings initiatives, is leading more organizations to turn to video conferencing when they need to spread information quickly and efficiently to an audience that’s located around the globe.
Video conferencing eliminates costly travel expenses, as well as the risk of a product launch or sales meeting getting delayed due to someone missing a flight. Too frequently, deadlines are extended simply because a key player can’t be in town to attend the meeting, not because the project isn’t ready. Video conferencing, on the other hand, allows employees and clients to hop on a call no matter where they’re located – expediting business operations and bringing a higher ROI to the organization.
Regretfully, because they can be conducted outside the office, people sometimes use poor judgment when utilizing video conferences. This often results in unprofessional and embarrassing mishaps that could have been easily avoided.
To prevent a major gaffe from happening during your next webinar or virtual meeting, learn from these five true video conferencing horror stories:
1. Always Hit Mute! Some may have heard the story of the CEO who took a break during a video conference to use the restroom and forgot to turn off his microphone. Needless to say, everyone was aware of what was going on – there’s no disguising the sound of a flush.
This embarrassing mishap can be easily avoided; it just requires extra caution. Either go to the restroom before the meeting or train yourself to always press mute when you step away from the call – no matter what you’re stepping away to do. Remembering to always hit mute will save you from a career full of embarrassment.
2. Your Pets Weren’t Invited to the Meeting. There’s no doubt you love your pets and that they’re adorable, but try to avoid bringing them to your video conference. A few years ago, I moderated a webinar for an author whose dog just did not want to cooperate; he kept howling in the background. I told her I would take a question from the audience to give her a minute to handle the situation. Of course, she forgot to mute her microphone and said a few choice words to her dog before I had the chance to mute her line.
While video conferences can be conducted almost anywhere there’s an Internet connection, choose wisely. Make sure there are no yappy dogs, ringing phones or noisy children nearby. Listening to a barking dog or phone continuously ringing is not only disruptive, but it’s also extremely unprofessional.
3. Keep Your Ego in Check. There’s a story circling the business community about a woman who was driving while hosting a video conference – unsurprisingly, this didn’t end well. A police officer saw her illegally using a handheld device, and rightfully so, pulled her over. When he walked up to her car window, she put the camera on him, hoping to embarrass him, when in fact she just embarrassed herself.
Hosting a video conference is a great responsibility to have, but don’t let it go to your head. In fact, don’t let it go on from behind the wheel either.
4. Be Careful of What You Say On and Off Camera. Like the executive who left his microphone on during a bathroom break, there’s the story of a host would forgot to mute his microphone and started trash talking the attendees. Both extremely unprofessional and embarrassing, this mistake can cost you clients, your reputation and even your job.
If it’s not something you’d say or do in an in-person meeting, then refrain from doing it in a virtual one.
5. Keep Your Attire Professional. One of the main draws of video conferences is that they can be conducted from the luxury of your own home or from a beach in the Caribbean. While these are places of comfort, you still need to dress appropriately when doing a video conference. Don’t take advantage of the convenience of meeting from your couch and wear something you’d never wear to the office. You might think it is ok to forgo pants, but don’t. If something happens and you have to get up to take care of the situation, it’ll be embarrassing for everyone involved to know your preference in boxers.