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  • Writer's picturePeter Yawitz

How Do I Handle Zoom Lurkers?

Updated: May 7, 2020

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

During a Zoom meeting we were discussing business leaders who communicate memorably. One person praised Governor Cuomo for coming across as “one of us” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Someone else countered that President Trump was not being relatable at all. Suddenly we got a nasty, anonymous message in the group text saying that we were “all a bunch of obnoxious Trump-bashing lib-tards.” The Zoom leader got us back on track, but I was a bit shocked. Would love to know your thoughts.


Tired of Zoom

Dear ToZ,

It’s important to remember that people who were sneaky and snarky before the pandemic will still be sneaky and snarky during and after it. I see two separate issues here:

  1. Make sure everyone is fully present in Zoom meetings. I know that some people don’t want to show their faces when they’re doing a call from their bathrooms or walk-in linen closets (although I actually get some great décor ideas in both cases since we’re in the market for new hand towels), but we’re all very forgiving these days when we see coworkers’ homes, messy (please at least make your bed) or otherwise. I would just insist that participants agree to be fully present. I wonder whether Mr. Snark would have felt as empowered to speak up if he had to identify himself.

  2. Keep politics out of work. We are a country divided. People are entitled to their own political views, but it’s up to all of us to keep them out of the workplace. I think it was smart of the leader to pivot, but perhaps he could have averted the conflict altogether by telling the Cuomo supporter “let’s keep this chat to corporate examples.”

In a world where we’re all on edge, let’s find ways not to add any more stress.

Be safe, SED

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