Would you do that if we were meeting face to face?

Warning: This may border on the edge of a rant:

I was talking to someone about a meeting they had attended, where he was the presenter. He was very unhappy because, while he was doing his presentation, some people put their contact details in the chat facility. (Yes it was Zoom and yes, other options are available.)

We talked for a while about strange behaviour we had seen in virtual meetings, e.g. people messing around with their backdrops, or taking phone calls. These were certainly unacceptable, but my friend was really annoyed with the people who had been obviously typing rather than listening to his presentation. As he said “ I would never introduce these people to my contacts because they obviously don’t understand what professional looks like”.

So, I started to think about how this behaviour differs from when we attend a face­­-to-face networking event (remember those?) People judge us by our behaviour and, for businesspeople in particular, we need to show ourselves in the best light. This ensures that people feel confident at putting their own reputation on the line by introducing us to their contacts.  Finally, I came up with a simple rule: you shouldn’t do anything at a virtual meeting that you wouldn’t do at a face to face meeting. Simple.

Or is this just me? What do you think?

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6 comments on “Would you do that if we were meeting face to face?

  1. Sara on

    I totally agree. People typing comments is the equivalent of talking while the presenter is speaking. And as an attendee (and a visual person), I find it really distracting to see comments popping up in the chat throughout an online meeting. I know some people who, for large Zoom meetings have turned off the chat option so that people can’t chat to each other, but they can still send a question/comment to the presenter. I think this is the best option for a large meeting.

  2. Ian Chambers on

    Its a very good point.

    I can understand the frustrations, but attention spans are short these days, we’re all busy, we’re all used to multi-tasking.

    Most of our day is about doing at least two things at once, driving and thinking of other things, watching TV with your phone on, etc

    Our minds wander… Some presentations are extremely boring and go on too long on Zooms. Unfortunately its more visible when a cameras on than when its not (mine doesn’t go on!)

    Improve the quality of meetings and your presentations, you might keep people more engaged.

    Throwing the other side of the argument in the ring…..

    • Glenys Chatterley on

      Thanks for that, yes I agree it’s difficult but if you are networking and you are not concentrating on the people you are meeting , then it a waste of your time, so don’t go.


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