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October 31, 2018 By Casmin Wisner

The Haunting Tales of Video Conferences Gone Bad

October 31, 2018

By Casmin Wisner

Read More from Casmin Wisner

October 31, 2018

The Haunting Tales of Video Conferences Gone Bad

By Casmin Wisner
Public Relations Specialist

We’ve all been there: stuck in a terrifyingly unidealistic video conference that we want to run far away from. While video conferences are meant to suplement in-person meetings and are an excellent way to drive engagement and communicate effectively to teams large and small scattered around the world, these bad experiences — whether they be of our own cause or otherwise — can haunt us.

High-tech conferencing features today make people hundreds and even thousands of miles from one another feel close. They captivate audiences and allow work to progress anytime and anywhere, and yet, the real horror often lies in informality.

It’s easy to forget they these are still professional meetings and events, and this can often lead to embarrassing gaffes and moments of ill-preparation. Here are some of the most common and nightmarish conferencing faux pas, along with some etiquette to prevent these situations from happening to you.

1. Forgetting You’re on Camera

Have you ever felt like a zombie during an important conference call? Were you in desperate need of a quick swig of coffee, a few seconds to yawn, or did you realize when your video loaded that you were having a scary-beyond-reason hair day? These are normal things, but can turn embarrassing when you’re on display during a video conference. So, whether you realize you’re about to have a cough attack or you are starving and need a quick snack, don’t forget to turn off or pause your camera. Even if you’re the main presenter, it’s okay to turn off your camera briefly so you can gain composure or re-energize.

2. Not Muting any Background Hocus Pocus

Along with forgetting to pause or turn off your video, not muting your audio can distract conference attendees, reveal embarrassing conversations, and result in an overall nightmare of a video conference! Afterall, making your conference colleagues listen to your chewing, slurping, coughing or sniffling is arguably more spine chilling than watching it. And you’ve probably been in a conference made up of attendees who forgot to mute themselves, resulting in a loud chorus of traffic, dogs barking, kids crying, or even office gossip! So next time be extra cognizant about that mute button to mitigate any hocus pocus!

3. Being Caught Out of Costume

In order to avoid a mummy unraveling, you should be prepared to treat every video conference as a professional event. Even when working from home or on vacation, remember to dress appropriately — or as you would in the office. This may seem silly to some, but there have been many horrifying tales of attendees who dressed only from the waist up, and when they had to jump up to retrieve important files or to handle something that happened off camera, they found themselves quite exposed.

4. Not Checking for Scary Angles and Scenery

Whether you’re talking to your team, a big partner, the executive staff, or trying to land a client, you want to make sure the camera angle, scenery and lighting doesn’t make you look ghoulish, troll-like, or just scary beyond reason. If you want to come across as pleasant and easy to work with, find out which angles are best for you (“Mirror, mirror on the wall…”), brighten your surroundings so it doesn’t look like you’re working from a creepy dungeon, and make sure any background space is neat and organized and that photos, portraits and other decor won’t embarrass you.

5. Not Understanding Your Tools

If you don’t know anything about the software you’re using, even if it’s fairly intuitive, it can cause problems and lead to wasted time. For example, you may accidentally push the wrong button and stop screen sharing, not know how to record a meeting, or as discussed earlier, believe you’ve paused your video or muted yourself when in reality, all conference attendees can see and hear everything you’re doing. Luckily, you don’t have to find yourself in a panic if you simply spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with simple tools like join.me. So stop fretting over “witch” video conferencing tool to try, join.me is easy, free, and will help you stay in control during meetings and lead to higher productivity and efficiency.


Video conferencing is a powerful communications platform that allows us to more effectively communicate within our businesses. However, in order for your video conferences to forego the tricks and maintain the treats, make sure to start treating these meetings more professionally. Prepare in advance, dress the part and take time to understand the tools being used, and you’ll be sure to avoid frustrating delays and hauntingly embarrassing problems.

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