Professional tips for video conferencing

By ERIC MOLLO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) – A lot of people are spending more time in front of a camera on Zoom, Google Meet, and other apps during the pandemic. Unfortunately, some people have experienced embarrassing moments that have gone viral.

There was one disturbing incident in Vallejo, California recently, where then-planning commissioner Chris Platzer wanted to introduce his pet to colleagues on the screen.

After showing his pet, he tossed it to the side, and viewers could hear a thud after the cat seemingly landed. Platzer also cursed and was seen drinking alcohol on that same video call. He resigned from his position this past week.

Separately, there have been several unfortunate accidents, including a reporter capturing her husband in the shower and another of a woman using the restroom while on a call with colleagues.

ABC News correspondent Will Reeve even listed some video conferencing tips from an expert following a video incident on “Good Morning America.”

Dana Wollman is the editor-in-chief at the tech website Engadget. She offered tips on how to avoid these types of incidents and best present yourself during a video conference on ABC News’ “Perspective” podcast.

Wollman recommends creating some space between you and the camera to avoid having too much of your face in the shot.

“I’ve been on calls where people have leaned in a little too much and then you just get a screen full of somebody’s face. And that can be a little intense.”

Wollman concedes that most people have “probably progressively loosened up” their work attire if they are working from home, but still advises trying to dress business casual and to continue to maintain good hygiene.

As for dirty clothes? She says to make sure they go in the hamper:

“I’ve also been on calls where you can really see in the background that someone’s house is a mess or maybe you’re staring at a pile of laundry on the floor. To me, that’s actually a little more intimate and a little more of a faux pas.”

Some people might feel embarrassed by their baby crying or dog barking, but Wollman believes as long as the person turns off their microphone or makes an attempt to limit the noise, colleagues will be understanding of the situation:

“I don’t think there’s much to be ashamed of… I actually think a lot of people find that endearing.”

Listen to the story and the rest of this past week’s highlights from Perspective here.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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