Do you make these blunders in virtual meetings?

Here’s a fact that today’s smartest companies are embracing: Teleworking is indisputably here to stay.

Twitter told its employees they can work from home forever. Shopify said the same. Quora declared that “all existing employees can immediately relocate to anywhere we can legally employ them.”

In other words: Get used to Zoom calls.

Indeed, love ‘em or hate ‘em, video conferences are the new way of doing business among white-collar professionals. Yet because this trend took root so deeply and so quickly, many executives are still feeling their way toward best practices.

To that end, here are three of the biggest mistakes I’ve observed over the past few months — along with easy fixes:

1. They Don’t Invest in a Mic

Many people don’t think twice about their computer’s microphone or overall audio quality. They just use the equipment that came with their machine and assume that everything is fine.

Here’s the thing, though: That built-in microphone doesn’t do your voice justice. As the Wirecutter observes, it’s “likely to pick up too much room tone, add too much fuzz, and miss out on the warm tones of being in the same room as someone.” 

To wit: Get yourself a real mic. It’ll not only help you sound your best; after a few weeks of use, you’ll also wonder how you ever lived without one.

2. They Don’t Identify Themself

morning-brew-qwvv7TRCsy4-unsplashWhen you meet someone, it’s common practice and common courtesy to introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Jeff.”

Yet it boggles my mind how many people forget, or think it’s ok to neglect, this necessity during a Zoom call. They identify themselves, for example, as 8139257210.


Let me translate: That’s your phone number, not your name. And the only numbers I’ve committed to memory are my own and those of my parents. (Sorry; blame smartphones.)

Managers, take note: Require your team to display their names. This simple gesture will make it a lot easier — for everyone — to ascertain who’s speaking.

And while we’re on the subject, you may also want to ask folks to upload a headshot. Seeing someone’s face instead of an empty square helps to personalize a conversation.

3. They Over-Apologize

At this point, everyone knows about the BBC Dad. If you’re on Twitter, you may also have seen the recent Sky News Mom. What do these real-life memes have in common?


That’s right: People have families. And when we’re all suddenly forced to work alongside one another, every day, in the same cramped quarters, without child care or pet sitters or gyms or restaurants, domesticity will inevitably intrude.

So, the next time your child unexpectedly enters your office, or your dog jumps on your lap, or your significant other can be seen in the background, don’t panic. In fact, don’t apologize; embrace the moment.

This small sliver of humanity — demonstrating the truth that we’re all more than our jobs — may well brighten someone’s day. I know it does mine.


Jeff Juszczak is the vice president of software engineering at Spectrio, a company that helps businesses create engaging experiences for their customers. Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.