FOMO……Fear Of Muting Out
By The Other Debra
Let me start by saying that MUTE is a four letter word but not a FOUR LETTER WORD! Don’t be afraid to use the WORD and to mute yourself when participating in a ZOOM meeting.
The past few weeks have changed the world as we know it. We have been forced to work from home. Social distancing is the new normal and ZOOM has become the word of the day.
The last time I used the word ZOOM was when my children were little and we would watch ZOOM on TV. Now ZOOM is the most popular word around the world. Usual conversations today will include lines like: “what time are you zooming?” or “I can’t talk right now, I am in the middle of a ZOOM meeting”. While Skype and FaceTime meetings are already a part of business culture and used for satellite grandparent rendezvouses, ZOOM is here to stay.
With this new reality comes new etiquette, ZOOM etiquette. What would Miss Manners have to say! Here are some Zoom rules I would like to share:
- ZOOM offers the opportunity to preview the video before entering a meeting. Take advantage of this preview and make sure you like what you see.
- Check your backdrop. Try to make the scenery behind you palatable. A pile of laundry, an unmade bed or a library in disarray may present a version of you that you may not wish to convey but will. Position your camera so that you and your surroundings appear flattering. (Check out the New York Times article).
- If someone else is in the room with you, that person should either be presented as part of the meeting or out of view.
- Some of my best ZOOM meetings have had some opening humor. The leader, who is dressed immaculately or in full make up tells us that he/she is wearing pajama bottoms. Nice.
Remember, you are in control of what is conveyed on the screen. I have participated in meetings where someone behind the presenter was knitting (I love to knit but that is not the impression I want to give in a ZOOM class or meeting), opening and closing a refrigerator door, working on their computer, etc. This can be very distracting to the other participants and presents as unprofessional.
MUTE, MUTE, MUTE! I cannot say this enough. Mute is not a dirty word. Being on mute is not an insult to the presenter. It is actually quite respectful and polite. Mute does not mean that you cannot hear the meeting. Mute keeps out any background noise so that only the speaker at that given moment is being heard. You may not realize that your dishwasher is running, someone else in the house is having a conversation or the slightest cough noise is amplified over the internet in the ZOOM meeting. I have sat through meetings while someone was speaking to grandchildren, placing a grocery order, and believe it or not talking to a grandchild on how to mute-while in the meeting!
The host of the meeting will often pause to give participants an opportunity to talk. Click onto the microphone icon to unmute when you want to talk. ZOOM meeting rooms also have icons to CHAT and even to raise your hand.
We look forward to our old reality where we can freely socially interact and have face to face meetings, watch ZOOM, the tv show with our children and grandchildren and when outside noises will be a blessing. But in the meantime, MUTE, MUTE, MUTE.