• Peter Yawitz

Zoom Meeting Pet Peeves

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

No one's given me tips on how to communicate on Zoom meetings. Where do I look? How do I keep people interested? In our company people are constantly interrupting each other on Zoom so we spend half the time saying, “What? Wait. One a time. No, not you. Wait, stop. What?” So annoying. Any tips?

Thanks, Zoomed Out

Dear ZO,

Yeah that last one is pretty annoying. Here are my pet peeves on Zoom:

1. When people don’t turn off their alerts during a call, so when we all hear PING, we all look down to see if it was our phones, then realize it wasn’t, then spend a few minutes wondering whose it was.

2. Same as above but when the sound puts the culprit’s face suddenly in the middle of everyone’s screen and we watch him or her squinting down to see what the alert was.

3. Poor bandwidth when people just freeze and everyone says “I think you’re frozen, Jake” at the same time.

4. People forget to mute when kids are screaming in the background, when an emergency siren gets closer and closer, when they spill coffee and say, “Oh shit, I just spilled coffee.”


Lots of people have posted elsewhere about the right lighting, clothing, etc. I’ll focus on communication effectiveness:

1. Before the Zoom call, put your main conclusive bullet points in an email and attach any relevant documents if people want more information. Each bullet should be a full sentence like: “We had a 10% decrease this month in online engagement” rather than an unspecific “Online engagement update.” Use the bullets as a guide when you present on the call.

2. Try to look in the camera when you’re presenting. This may be hard when you’re presenting from notes on your screen, but try to address the participants as much as possible and keep your voice as strong as you would if you were presenting in a conference room.

3. Keep attention high by using stories, and by calling on people. Stories that embellish your points will make your content more interesting and memorable. Also, don’t be afraid to refer to other people’s points and use their names. Hearing their names will jolt them back from la-la land and listen to you. “Emily, I know this is consistent

with your group’s mission. Emily?”

4. Demonstrate active listening. I know it looks a bit bogus when you nod your head all the time when others are speaking, but I’d use Zoom meetings as a chance to enhance your listening skills. Jot down notes if you have to, and then find a chance to say, “So just to summarize, we all agree that we will double check that our mute buttons are on when we leave a meeting to go to the bathroom. Correct?”


It's a new world out there. We'll all get through it. Be safe.

Best, SED





dad@someoneelsesdad.com | New York 

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