There is not much I remember from the 70’s, but for some reason, one memory that has remained is visiting the faux wood paneled office of my allergists once a month throughout my adolescent years. Yes, I was a nerd.
I would kill time waiting for my jabs by thumbing through a kid’s magazine that was provided in the waiting room called Highlights.
Somehow, the visual of that that drab colored rag stayed with me. One section of the magazine I recall in particular was Goofus and Gallant.
It was a comic strip that served as a preachy morality tale of two boys, one good, one naughty.
Gallant was the always proper young lad, who followed the rules of propriety. He was the epitome of politeness and virtue.
Goofus, on the other hand, was the doofus. He was a rude little boy who just would not display any manors at all. What a rebel.
The message was not subtle.
Putting aside the grey area of what is good and bad, and whether Goofus’s parents had anything to do with his corrupted youth, the overall message was be respectful to those around you.
A message that has become increasingly needed in the age of Zoom meetings.
It is believed that one out of 5 people attending a zoom call is a is a “Zoombecile” (Zoom-imbecile).
Truth be told, I just made that statistic up, but I am going with it.
In keeping with my fake news fact, I have a suggestion for you.
On your next business-related zoom call, as you are looking at the Brady Bunch style display of squares filled with smiling faces on your computer screen, look at the box to the left of you. Then look at the box to the right of you. Look up and down. If they all look professional, well then, you may be the culprit.
So, to save you from becoming the zommbecile of your next meeting, I have put together five tips to consider before you join in.
This list is not exhaustive.
The list of web-meeting faux pas is as long as….
Well, here is a list of very long lists which could be used as a long list analogy.
- The number if zoom calls you over-scheduled for next week
- The number of times TV has told you “We’re all in this together” while you sat alone on your couch
- The number of times hid from your family since stay at home order began
- The number of times you have checked bank account for a stimulus check deposit
- The number of times you smirked when you heard a newscaster use the term “The Great Mask Debate”.
To pare it down, I am going to list just the top 5 tips for not becoming a zoombecile.
Tip #1, Don’t Mute
You only muted so you could type emails or surf the web.
If the zoom meeting is so unimportant that it does not warrant full attention, come up with a reason to not attend. One suggestion is faking your own death. That one has worked for me many times.
We know you are busy. We are all busy, and we all suck at multi-tasking.
You will not remember that you muted yourself.
Inevitably you will be called upon and you will begin speaking while on mute.
This brings us to tip #2.
If you begin talking while on mute, and then realize your mistake, do not explain to everyone what just occurred once you un-mute.
They do not need an explanation; they know what happened.
They were the ones all chanting “You’re on mute!” while watching your silent lips move.
You wasted enough time, don’t waste more explaining yourself. They all know what you did, and they have already judged you.
Tip #3. Know when it is appropriate to mute.
Coughing or sneezing with such force that listeners believe your germs are coming through cyberspace should be avoided. All bodily expulsions and sounds are distracting. Sometimes funny, but always distracting.
We do not need a repeat of the Supreme Court Toilet Flush heard over zoom. Nothing else from those legal arguments will ever be remembered other than that swirling water.
There is a certain place in hell for the person who organizes 7 AM zoom meetings. One of the most common issues effecting early morning zoom calls is when someone speaks for the very first time that day, and the frogs in their throat have not yet vacated.
If you must speak on a morning call, clear your throat prior. Speak or sing to yourself before joining. Anything to prevent us from enduring your repeated hacks and phlegm. Also, avoid any type of picking, yawing, hair fiddling or scratching. Get a fidget spinner for god’s sake.
Tip #4. Do not eat soup, yogurt, porridge, or anything that requires you to drag the spoon up your bottom lip to catch your spillage. In fact, do not eat while on zoom. Period.
Finally, tip #5, log into a call either via computer or phone, but not both. When you log in via both phone and computer, you subject all attendees to a duel mic high-pitched repeating series of echoes that sound like the knife / shower scene from the movie Psycho and makes us want to stab you in the shower.
Follow these tips and avoid being a Goofus Zoombecile.
By the way, the above items are for business zoom calls only. When zooming when your friends, let your freak flag fly.
Neil A. Cohen is an the author of multiple books including fictional pandemic trilogy Exit Zero, Nuke Jersey and Zombie Democracy. He latest non-fiction release, Business is Dead, Resurrecting Entrepreneurship, highlights Fantrepreneurs and Apocalypse Entrepreneurs.
Instagram / Twitter: @ExitZeroZombie
Author, public speaker, Fantrepreneur, ApocalypseEntrepreneur. ExitZeroZombie trilogy (fiction). Business is Dead, Resurrecting Entrepreneurship (non-fiction).